‘Toni Erdmann’ tops Sight & Sound’s 2016 Films of the Year poll

‘Toni Erdmann’ tops Sight & Sound’s 2016 Films of the Year poll

The German-Austrian comedy Toni Erdmann has topped the 2016 Sight & Sound Films of the Year poll, written, directed and co-produced by Maren Ade, who is one of three female directors in this year’s Top five.

Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight was voted second place, with Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, starring Isabelle Huppert, in third place.

The annual poll saw over 150 UK and international film critics nominate their top five films from the year and will be available today in full in the January 2017 issue of Sight & Sound and online at www.bfi.org.uk/best-films-2016


Director of Toni Erdmann, Maren Ade said:

“This makes us extremely proud, especially considering how many films you all watch in a year – and since we are all longstanding followers of the poll!”


Three female directors made the top five, Maren AdeKelly Reichardt and Andrea Arnold. Each are synonymous with bold and original storytelling and their films, for which they are also script writers, are hotly anticipated by critics and audiences alike.

Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann was this year’s Laugh Gala in association with Sight & Sound at the BFI London Film Festival, Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women, in fourth place, won Best Film in BFI London Film Festival’s Official Competition and British director Andrea Arnold’s BFI-backed American Honey is in fifth place following its success at this year’s Cannes Film Festival where it won the Jury Prize.


Nick James, Editor, Sight & Sound said:

“I am delighted that our poll recognises the talent of women directors at the top of the art form; this follows closely on from Sight & Sound’s Female Gaze issue which shone a light on overlooked female filmmakers, and it is encouraging to think that such neglect will soon be a thing of the past. I send my congratulations to Maren Ade, Kelly Reichardt and Andrea Arnold, but also to Barry Jenkins, for his deeply moving, trail-blazing second feature and to Paul Verhoeven, who has made a powerful and subversive woman-centric film.”


Thirteen of the Top 20 films featured in this year’s BFI London Film Festival, including all the Top 5, as well as Victoria which screened in last year’s BFI London Film Festival. 


1.       Toni Erdmann – Dir. Maren Ade 

2.       Moonlight – Dir. Barry Jenkins

3.       Elle – Dir. Paul Verhoeven

4.       Certain Women – Dir. Kelly Reichardt

5.       American Honey – Dir. Andrea Arnold 

6.       I, Daniel Blake – Dir. Ken Loach 

7.       Manchester by the Sea – Dir. Kenneth Lonergan

8.       Things to Come (L’Avenir) – Dir. Mia Hansen-Løve

9.       Paterson – Dir. Jim Jarmusch 

10.   The Death of Louis XIV – Dir. Albert Serra

11.   Personal Shopper – Dir. Olivier Assayas 

11.   Sieranevada – Dir. Cristi Puiu

13.   Fire At Sea (Fuocoamare) – Dir. Gianfranco Rosi 

13.   Nocturama – Dir. Bertrand Bonello

13.   Julieta – Dir. Pedro Almodóvar

16.   La La Land – Dir. Damien Chazelle

16.   Cameraperson – Dir. Kirsten Johnson

18.   Love & Friendship – Dir. Whit Stillman

19.   Aquarius – Dir. Kleber Mendonça Filho

19.   Victoria – Dir. Sebastian Schipper 


Last year’s winner was The Assassin, from Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien, followed by Todd Haynes’ Carol and Mad Max: Fury Road from director George Miller.

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