The 2016 Seattle Film Poll


Once again this year, we here at Seattle Screen Scene asked a selection of local critics, programmers, and filmmakers to send us their Top Ten lists for the year and in an extremely close race, Paul Verhoeven’s Elle just edged out Barry Jenkins’s MoonlightMountains May Depart, from Chinese director Jia Zhangke tied with Whit Stillman’s Jane Austen adaptation Love & Friendship for third place, while Kirsten Johnson’s documentary Cameraperson took fifth.

Here is our Top Ten:


1. Elle (Paul Verhoeven)


2. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)


3. Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman)


3. Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke)


5. Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson)


6. Cemetery of Splendor (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)


6. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt)


8. SPL 2: A Time for Consequences (aka Kill Zone 2) (Soi Cheang)


9. The Love Witch (Anna Biller)


10. Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie)


10. Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong Sangsoo)

Full results are listed after the break, along with each voter’s individual ballot.


Brian Alter, Programmer at the Grand Illusion Cinema

1. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)
2. The Love Witch (Anna Biller)
3. The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos)
4. The Alchemist Cookbook (Joel Potrykus)
5. Keanu (Peter Atencio)


Neil Bahadur, Seattle Screen Scene and Mubi and Tumblr, etc

1. Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke)
2. Elle (Paul Verhoeven)
3. In the Shadow of Women (Philippe Garrel)
4. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Extended) (Zack Snyder)
5. Sully (Clint Eastwood)
6. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)
7. Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie)
8. Dirty Grandpa (Dan Mazer)
9. The Love Witch (Anna Biller)
10. The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos)

Unfortunately Ineligible: Homeland: Iraq Year, Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids

Honorable Mentions: Sunset SongOasis: Supersonic


Kathy Fennessy, The Stranger

1. A Bigger Splash (Luca Guadagnino)
2. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)
3. Our Little Sister (Kore-eda Hirokazu)
4. Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie)
5. Elle (Paul Verhoeven)
6. The Fits (Anna Rose Holmer)
7. Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho)
8. Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
8. Little Men (Ira Sachs)
10. The Love Witch (Anna Biller)


Sara Michelle Fetters, Seattle Gay News and MovieFreak

1. The Innocents (Anne Fontaine)
2. Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie)
3. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)
4. Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman)
5. Under the Shadow (Babak Anvari)
6. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt)
7. 10 Cloverfield Lane (Dan Trachtenberg)
8. Jackie (Pablo Larraín)
9. La La Land (Damien Chazelle)
10. Rogue One (Gareth Edwards)

Unfortunately ineligible: The 13th  (Ava DuVernay), Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi)


Lawrence Garcia, Mubi

1. Elle (Paul Verhoeven)
2. Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong Sangsoo)
3. Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho)
4. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt)
5. Creepy (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
6. My Golden Days (Arnaud Desplechin)
7. Things to Come (Mia Hansen-Løve)
8. Tower (Keith Maitland)
9. SPL 2: A Time for Consequences (Soi Cheang)
10. Cemetery of Splendor (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)

Honorable Mentions: Neruda, Manchester by the Sea.

Best Films Without Distribution: Nocturama (Bertrand Bonello), Sieranevada (Cristi Puiu).


Sean Gilman, Seattle Screen Scene

1. Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman)
2. Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke)
3. Arabian Nights (Miguel Gomes)
4. Elle (Paul Verhoeven)
5. Cemetery of Splendor (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
6. SPL 2: A Time for Consequences (Soi Cheang)
7. Sunset Song (Terence Davies)
8. The Love Witch (Anna Biller)
9. Sixty Six (Lewis Klahr)
10. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (Karan Johar)

Honorable Mentions: Only Yesterday is the best film to premiere in Seattle in 2016, but it’s 25 years old and only played in an uncanny English dub. Other worthies: Sully, Things to Come, Moonlight, Kaili Blues, Crosscurrent, Three, Everybody Wants Some!!, The Mermaid, Cameraperson, The Age of Shadows, Murmur of the Hearts.

Best Local Repertory I saw in 2016: A Touch of Zen and Dragon Gate Inn (Uptown…wait, these are probably local premieres as well, right? Release dates are dumb); Singin’ in the Rain (Cinemark), The Big Road, The Bitter Stems, Heaven Can Wait, Chimes at Midnight and A Scandal in Paris (SIFF).

Best Movies that Played on Non-Theatrical Screens in 2016: Lemonade (Kahlil Joseph & Beyoncé Knowles), Hypernormalization (Adam Curtis), OJ: Made in America (Ezra Edelman), A Train Arrives at the Station (Thom Andersen), Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids (Jonathan Demme).

Best 2016 Films That Haven’t Arrived in Seattle, Yet: Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade), Paterson (Jim Jarmusch), A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies), The Hedonists (Jia Zhangke), The Last Poems Trilogy (Sofia Bohdanowicz), Hermia & Helena (Matías Piñeiro), Yellowing (Chan Tze-woon), Pop Song (Matthew Taylor Blais), Nine Behind (Sophy Romvari), Rat Film (Theo Anthony).


Jaime Grijalba, Chilean Correspondent

1. Only Yesterday (Isao Takahata)
2. Arabian Nights (Miguel Gomes)
3. Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick)
4. Elle (Paul Verhoeven)
5. Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho)
6. The Handmaiden (Park Chanwook)
7. The Alchemist Cookbook (Joel Potrykus)
8. The Nice Guys (Shane Black)
9. Train to Busan (Yeon Sang-ho)
10. Operation Avalanche (Matthew Johnson)


Jhon Hernandez, Seattle Screen Scene

1. SPL 2: A Time for Consequences (Soi Cheang)
2. Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater)
3. Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman)
4. Elle (Paul Verhoeven)
5. Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong Sangsoo)
6. Fan (Maneesh Sharma)
7. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt)
8. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (Karan Johar)
9. Sully (Clint Eastwood)
10. The Boy and the Beast (Mamoru Hosada)

Honorable Mentions: Moonlight, Julieta, Mountains May Depart, Cosmos, Three, Hell or High Water, Kabali.


Ryland Walker Knight, Filmmaker/Writer

1. Aquarius (Kelber Mendonça Filho)
2. A Bigger Splash (Luca Guadagnino)
3. Cemetery of Splendor (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
4. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt)
5. Embrace of the Serpent (Ciro Guerra)
6. Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie)
7. Hitchcock/Truffaut (Kent Jones)
8. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)
9. My Golden Days (Arnauld Desplechin)
10. 10 Cloverfield Land (Dan Trachtenberg)

Also: American Honey, De Palma, Elle, The Fits, Green Room, The Lobster, Right Now Wrong Then, Sully, and Three.

Moving Pictures that either haven’t played in Seattle yet or only played non-theatrically: The Childhood of a Leader, Horace & Pete, Mr. Robot, The Ornithologist, and  The 13th.


Sue Lonac, Seattle Screen Scene

1. The Fits (Anna Rose Holmer)
2. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)
3. Torrey Pines (Clyde Petersen)
4. Zootopia (Byron Howard, Rich Moore & Jared Bush)
5. Arrival (Denis Villeneuve)
6. Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson)
7. Midnight Special (Jeff Nichols)
8. Sing Street (John Carney)
9. Ghostbusters (Paul Feig)
10. Captain America: Civil War (Anthony and Joe Russo)

Honorable Mentions: Lemonade (Kahlil Joseph & Beyoncé Knowles-Carter) and The
13th (Ava DuVernay).


Matt Lynch, Scarecrow Video and In Review Online

1. The Love Witch (Anna Biller)
2. Elle (Paul Verhoeven)
3. Arrival (Denis Villeneuve)
4. Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson)
5. The Handmaiden (Park Chanwook)
6. Cemetery of Splendor (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
7. The Witch (Robert Eggers)
8. The Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn)
9. SPL 2: A Time for Consequences (Soi Cheang)
10. Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)

Coming soon: Paterson, 20th Century Women


Brent McKnight, The Last Thing I See

1. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)
2. Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier)
3. The Wailing (Na Hong-jin)
4. The Handmaiden (Park Chan-wook)
5. Arrival (Denis Villeneuve)
6. La La Land (Damien Chazelle)
7. Under the Shadow (Babak Anvari)
8. Tag (Sion Sono)
9. Train to Busan (Yeon Sang-ho)
10. The Witch (Robert Eggers)


Evan Morgan, Seattle Screen Scene and Snakes & Funerals

1. Cemetery of Splendor (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
2. Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke)
3. Sunset Song (Terence Davies)
4. Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong Sangsoo)
5. I Am Not Madame Bovary (Feng Xiaogang)
6. No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman)
7. Things to Come (Mia Hansen-Løve)
8. Elle (Paul Verhoeven)
9. Creepy (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
10. Kaili Blues (Bi Gan)

Best films coming to Seattle eventually: A Quiet Passion, Toni Erdmann, Neruda.

Best films that will only come to Seattle by a programming miracle: Yourself and Yours, The Hedonists, Kékszakállú.

Rep highlights: Out 1 (SIFF), The Taisho Trilogy (Grand Illusion), Michael Snow (Northwest Film Forum), Pasolini’s Arabian Nights (Seattle Art Museum), La Bàs (NWFF), The Bitter Stems (SIFF).


Benjamin Nason, The MacGuffin

1. Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman)
2. The Love Witch (Anna Biller)
3. Arrival (Denis Villeneuve)
4. Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick)
5. Hail, Caesar! (The Coen Brothers)
6. The Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn)
7. The Witch (Robert Eggers)
8. De Palma (Noah Baumbach & Jake Paltrow)

Honorable Mentions: The 13th and OJ: Made in America.


Seema Pai, Seattle Screen Scene and They Shot Pictures

1. No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman)
2. Cemetery of Splendor (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
3. SPL 2: A Time for Consequences (Soi Cheang)
4. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (Karan Johar)
5. Sunset Song (Terence Davies)
6. Things to Come (Mia Hansen-Løve)
7. Creepy (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
8. Chevalier (Athina Rachel Tsangari)
9. Fan (Maneesh Sharma)
10. Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman)


Sophy Romvari, Filmmaker

1. Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
2. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt)
3. Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson)
4. Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman)
5. Elle (Paul Verhoeven)
6. The Edge of Seventeen (Kelly Fremon Craig)
7. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (Nicholas Stoller)
8. Things to Come (Mia Hansen-Løve)
9. Kate Plays Christine (Robert Greene)
10. Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho)

Unfortunately not eligible: Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids (Jonathan Demme)


Courtney Sheehan, Executive Director at the Northwest Film Forum

1. Kaili Blues (Bi Gan)
2. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)
3. Fire at Sea (Gianfranco Rosi)
4. A Rendering*
5. Los Sures (Diego Echeverria)
6. Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong Sangsoo)
7. Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson)
8. No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman)
9. Crumbs (Miguel Llansó)
10. Tower (Keith Maitland)

Not yet released: Lily Lane, Ma, Rat Film, The Challenge, Kino Otok, The Black Pin, My Own Private War, Starless Dreams

Recalling 2015’s best unreleased films, all of which subsequently played Seattle in 2016 except for The EventAbove and Below, Cemetery of Splendor, Men Go to Battle, Uncle Kent 2, My Golden Days, A War, The Event

*The only short on this list, by LIMITS, or Seattle-based choreographer/dancer Corrie Befort and sound artist/musician Jason E. Anderson. Video shot and edited by Adam Diller.


Amie Simon, Three Imaginary Girls

1. The Witch (Robert Eggers)
2. The Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn)
3. Don’t Breathe (Fede Alvarez)
4. Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier)
5. Midnight Special (Jeff Nichols)
6. 10 Cloverfield Lane (Dan Trachtenberg)
7. Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman)
8. The Invitation (Karyn Kusama)
9. Hush (Mike Flanagan)
10. Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross)

Shout-outs to The Lure (Corki Dancingu): a Polish new wave-musical nightmare romance about murderous mermaids — which only made the festival circuit here and probably won’t get a US release; Deadpool, which made me laugh harder than I thought I would, and Ghostbusters for being a fun ride with not just one, but FOUR (!!!) kick-ass female leads (and yes — I am a fan of the original and it is beloved in my heart, but THIS ONE is great too).


Mike Strenski, Seattle Screen Scene

1. Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke)
2. Hail, Caesar! (The Coen Brothers)
3. Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson)
4. Voyage of Time (Terrence Malick)
5. Three (Johnnie To)


Ryan Swen, Seattle Screen Scene

1. Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
2. Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson)
3. My Golden Days (Arnaud Desplechin)
4. The Handmaiden (Park Chanwook)
5. Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke)
6. Cemetery of Splendour (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
7. Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong Sangsoo)
8. Kate Plays Christine (Robert Greene)
9. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt)
10. Things to Come (Mia Hansen-Løve)

Honorable Mentions: Sunset Song (Terence Davies), Sully (Clint Eastwood), SPL 2: A Time for Consequences (Soi Cheang), Creepy (Kiyoshi Kurosawa), Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho), The Edge of Seventeen (Kelly Fremon Craig), The Shallows (Jaume Collet-Serra), Shin Godzilla (Hideaki Anno & Shinji Higuchi).


Melissa Tamminga, Seattle Screen Scene

1. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt)
2. Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke)
3. Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson)
4. Sunset Song (Terence Davies)
5. Love & Friendship (Whit Stillman)
6. SPL 2: A Time for Consequences (Soi Cheang)
7. Our Little Sister (Kore-eda Hirokazu)
8. Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
9. Hail, Caesar! (The Coen Brothers)
10. Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick)

Honorable Mentions: The Fits (Anna Rose Holmer), Moonlight (Barry Jenkins), I Am Belfast (Mark Cousins), Long Way North (Rémi Chayé), Under the Sun (Vitaly Mansky).


Vern, Outlaw

1. SPL 2: A Time for Consequences (Soi Cheang)
2. La La Land (Damien Chazelle)
3. The Nice Guys (Shane Black)
4. Don’t Breathe (Fede Álvarez)
5. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)
6. Loving (Jeff Nichols)
7. Kubo and the Two Strings (Travis Knight)
8. The Jungle Book (Jon Favreau)
9. The Mermaid (Stephen Chow)
10. Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)


Andrew Wright, The Stranger

1. Paths of the Soul (Zhang Yang)
2. The Fits (Anna Rose Holmer)
3. Shin Godzilla (Hideaki Anno & Shinji Higuchi)
4. Elle (Paul Verhoeven)
5. Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie)
6. Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier)
7. The Witch (Robert Eggers)
8. Tower (Keith Maitland)
9. Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
10. Arrival (Denis Villeneuve)

And here is the full list. Eligible was anything that played for the first time in Seattle in 2016 in a movie theatre. Points were assigned with 10 for first, 9 for second, etc. In all, 85 films received votes:

1. Elle (71 points, 1 first-place vote)
2. Moonlight (69, 2)
3. Love & Friendship (53, 2)
3. Mountains May Depart (53, 2)
5. Cameraperson (49)
6. Cemetery of Splendor (44, 1)
6. Certain Women (44, 1)
8. SPL 2 (42, 2)
9. The Love Witch (34, 1)
10. Right Now, Wrong Then (31)
10. Hell or High Water (31)

12. Manchester by the Sea (30, 2)
13. Aquarius (29, 1)
13. Arrival (29)
15. The Handmaiden (25)
15. Sunset Song (25)
17. The Fits (24, 1)
18. The Witch (23, 1)
19. Green Room (21)
20. A Bigger Splash (19, 1)
21. No Home Movie (18, 1)

22. Arabian Nights (17)
22. Hail, Caesar! (17)
22. The Neon Demon (17)
22. Things To Come (17)
26. Knight of Cups (16)
26. La La Land (16)
28. Don’t Breathe (15)
28. My Golden Days (15)
30. Creepy (12)
30. Our Little Sister (12)

32. Kaili Blues (11, 1)
32. The Nice Guys (11)
32. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (11)
32. The Alchemist Cookbook (11)
36. The Innocents (10, 1)
36. Only Yesterday (10, 1)
36. Paths of the Soul (10, 1)
36. Midnight Special (10)
36. 10 Cloverfield Lane (10)
36. Under the Shadow (10)

42. Everybody Wants Some!! (9)
42. The Lobster (9)
44. Fire at Sea (8)
44. In the Shadow of Women (8)
44. Shin Godzilla (8)
44. Sully (8)
44. Torrey Pines (8)
44. The Wailing (8)

50. Batman v Superman (7)
50. Fan (7)
50. A Rendering (7)
50. Tower (7)
50. Voyage of Time (7)
50. Zootopia (7)
56. Embrace of the Serpent (6)
56. I Am Not Madame Bovary (6)
56. Keanu (6)
56. Los Sures (6)
56. Three (6)

60. The Edge of Seventeen (5)
60. Kate Plays Christine (5)
60. Loving (5)
63. Hitchcock/Truffaut (4)
63. Kubo and the Two Strings (4)
63. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (4)
63. Train to Busan (4)
67. Chevalier (3)
67. De Palma (3)
67. Dirty Grandpa (3)
67. The Invitation (3)
67. Jackie (3)
67. The Jungle Book (3)
67. Sing Street (3)
67. Tag (3)

75. Crumbs (2)
75. Ghostbusters (2)
75. Hush (2)
75. Little Men (2)
75. The Mermaid (2)
75. Sixty Six (2)
81. The Boy and the Beast (1)
81. Captain America: Civil War (1)
81. Captain Fantastic (1)
81. Operation Avalanche (1)
81. Rogue One (1)

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