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Best Movies of 2012: The New Yorker

1-2. “Holy Motors” & Moonrise Kingdom

Tied for first, listed in alphabetical order. Films of blatant, reckless, ecstatic beauty that make the quest for beauty their very subject and that face its moral implications; that take on the ultimate themes of love and death with piercing tenderness and anarchic humor, rapidity and precision, grandeur and intimacy, and an unerring yet personal, spontaneous yet deeply thoughtful sense of form. That take up the challenge of history (cinematic, artistic, personal—and even political, from oblique angles that offer surprising perspectives) and thereby take their place in history. Both have an astonishing reach, a vast geographical embrace. These are the instant classics, ready-made for the distant future.

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