Welcome to 2017, and the results of the Senses of Cinema 2016 World Poll.

Although so many retrospectives at the end of 2016 focused on tragedy and loss, here at Senses of Cinema, we’re looking to wipe away that misery by spotlighting all the very best that we experienced in 2016. Our World Poll is a celebration of all that we loved about the cinema, taken from every corner of the world. This project has a breadth in its global reach that makes the Senses of Cinema World Poll truly unique. It’s always fascinating to see the way people have responded to cinema over the year, and the individual, idiosyncratic relationships we have with what we see. With the context of 2016 being perceived as a year of loss – of great filmmakers and actors, and as some of you point out, of reason, truth and rational thought – it’s exhilarating to embrace what we really loved throughout the year.

It’s interesting to see how many people consistently link the film they saw with the locale or the circumstances under which they saw it, and the growing presence of streaming services as a mode for accessing the cinema which may not make itself available by any other means. Sites of exhibition are changing, and it’s tremendous to see the varied processes people have used to engage with the cinema of 2016. And we’ve got submissions from all over, and from all corners of the film industry; writers and critics and programmers and curators and composers and editors and producers, as well as cinephiles, academics, authors and talkers. We’re all in here.

Now we don’t play the overall aggregation game here at Senses, so there’s no Top Ten calculated from all our submissions. But once you dive in, you’ll see things start to emerge, titles that consistently recur, and some interesting analysis and observations that are sure to pique your interest. My recommendation is to grab a pen and paper and dive in to everything that we watched and celebrated in 2016. Look for the popular and the obscure, the titles that people return to again and again, and the ones that only one or two plucky souls uncovered. Your watchlist will grow and grow like my Christmas waistline.

The World Poll doesn’t happen by itself, of course, and I am so indebted to Michelle Carey for her perfect guidance, and my invaluable volunteers, Andreas Giannopoulos, Kiri Sullivan and Joanna Batsakis. The World Poll couldn’t have happened without you, truly. Also huge thanks to our webmaster Rachel Brown who has worked tirelessly to get the World Poll up for you all to see. And finally, of course, to our contributors, for taking the time to send us a snapshot of your year in film. With close to 200 submissions published this year, it’s our biggest and best yet, so thanks to all of you for making this happen.

From all of us at Senses of Cinema, we hope you enjoy the 2016 World Poll.

– Mark Freeman




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