Film Comment’s annual end-of-year survey was revealed at a special live talk last night, with Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car, and Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir Part II taking the top spots among films released in 2021. Of the films that screened at festivals worldwide but have not announced stateside distribution, Claire Simon’s I Want To Talk About Duras, Ted Fendt’s Outside Noise, and Kyoshi Sugita’s Haruhara-san’s Recorder received the top rankings.

The nearly 100 poll participants include Film Comment contributors and esteemed industry colleagues, such as Ina Diane Archer (media conservator, National Museum of African American History and Culture), Erika Balsom (scholar and critic), Ela Bittencourt (Brazil-based critic & programmer), Richard Brody (The New Yorker), Dessane Lopez Cassell (Seen), Andrew Chan (The Criterion Collection), K. Austin Collins (Rolling Stone), Nick Davis (FC contributing editor, Northwestern University), Molly Haskell, J. Hoberman (The New York Times), Eric Hynes (curator, Museum of the Moving Image), Dennis Lim (Film at Lincoln Center), Violet Lucca (Harper’s Magazine), Adam Nayman (The Ringer), Sheila O’Malley (, Andréa Picard (programmer, Toronto International Film Festival), Jonathan Romney (FC contributing editor), Gavin Smith, Imogen Sara Smith, Isabel Stevens (Sight & Sound), Abby Sun (curator, the DocYard), Amy Taubin (FC and Artforum contributing editor), and Manu Yáñez Murillo (Otros Cines Europa).

The top 10 films of 2021 were unveiled last night at a special live talk with critics Bilge Ebiri, Edo Choi, and Beatrice Loayza, moderated by Film Comment’s Co-Deputy Editors, Devika Girish and Clinton Krute; listen to the lively discussion on this week’s Film Comment podcast. The complete lists of released and unreleased films are included below.

“In a year in which movie lovers relied heavily on home viewing, it’s appropriate that the film that came out on top is Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria, whose masterful use of sound and image demands the cinema experience,” said Krute. 

“We’re thrilled to celebrate the year’s greatest films with the help of the brilliant writers of Film Comment,” said Girish. “We’re particularly proud to continue our list of the best undistributed films—we hope that enterprising distributors out there will take note and give these gems the releases they deserve.”

Film Comment’s Top 20 Films Released in 2021

  1. Memoria Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Colombia/Thailand/UK/France/Germany/Mexico/Qatar
  2. Drive My Car Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Japan
  3. The Souvenir Part II Joanna Hogg, UK
  4. Annette Leos Carax, France
  5. Days Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan/France
  6. The Power of the Dog Jane Campion, Australia/New Zealand
  7. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Japan
  8. What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? Alexandre Koberidze, Georgia/Germany 
  9. Benedetta Paul Verhoeven, France/Netherlands
  10. Undine Christian Petzold, Germany/France
  11. Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn Radu Jude, Romania/Luxembourg/Czech Republic/Croatia
  12. The Velvet Underground Todd Haynes, USA
  13. Bergman Island Mia Hansen-Løve, France/Germany/Belgium/Sweden
  14. El Planeta Amalia Ulman, Spain
  15. Licorice Pizza Paul Thomas Anderson, USA
  16. The Woman Who Ran Hong Sang-soo, South Korea
  17. The Card Counter Paul Schrader, USA/UK/China
  18. The Inheritance Ephraim Asili, USA
  19. Parallel Mothers Pedro Almodóvar, Spain
  20. Titane Julia Ducournau, France

Film Comment’s Top 20 Unreleased Films of 2021

  1. I Want to Talk About Duras Claire Simon, France
  2. Outside Noise Ted Fendt, Germany/South Korea/Austria
  3. Haruhara-san’s Recorder Kyoshi Sugita, Japan
  4. We Alice Diop, France
  5. Babi Yar. Context Sergei Loznitsa, Netherlands/Ukraine
  6. A River Runs, Turns, Erases, Replaces Shengze Zhu, USA
  7. Taming the Garden Salomé Jashi, Georgia/Switzerland
  8. Neptune Frost Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman, USA/Rwanda 
  9. Wood and Water Jonas Bak, Germany/France/Hong Kong
  10. The Cathedral Ricky D’Ambrose, USA
  11. The Sacred Spirit Chema García Ibarra, Spain/France/Turkey
  12. Shared Resources Jordan Lord, USA
  13. Returning to Reims Jean Gabriel-Pėriot, France
  14. 107 Mothers Peter Kerekes, Slovakia/Czech Republic/Ukraine
  15. Liborio Nino Martínez Sosa, Dominican Republic 
  16. Come Here Anocha Suwichakornpong, Thailand
  17. The First 54 Years: An Abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation Avi Mograbi, France/Finland/Israel/Germany
  18. Out of this World Chen Guan, China
  19. The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet Ana Katz, Argentina
  20. Mr. Bachmann and His Class Maria Speth, Germany

The complete list of films and participants can be found on