1 Spider (David Cronenberg) is Cronenberg's best since Dead Ringers. A masterpiece of subjective narrative.
2 Elephant (Gus Van Sant) works as both a perfect fugue and the most heartbreaking pop song of the year.
3 THE Weather Underground (Sam Green and Bill Siegel) reaches back to the 70s for a history of terrorism with a human face. Nearly the most radical film of the year.
4 Capturing The Friedmans (Andrew Jarecki) takes a true story too raw for Jerry Springer and gives it the nuance of Chekhov.
5 Lost In Translation (Sofia Coppola) sets the mood for 2003 -- rootless disenchantment -- then gives it all up for love.
6 Divine Intervention (Elia Suleiman) makes Buster Keaton a Palestinian and Palestine a hidden level of the Matrix. Most radical film of the year.
7 Finding Nemo (Andrew Stanton) is the best-told story of the year. They should've let Pixar loose on Tolkien.
8 Russian Ark (Aleksandr Sokurov) builds to a jaw-dropping last half hour, with a cast of hundreds at the Hermitage. The richest dish at the movies.
9 The Magdalene Sisters (Peter Mullan) dramatizes a Catholic penal colony for girls as an emotional onslaught, but it's surprisingly humane.
10 Winged Migration (Jacques Perrin) topped all the summer's action movies for pure visual sensation. Geese rock. ****