We thought it was going to be all deranged computers and monkeys throwing bonesthat turned into space ships. We were wrong, but 2001 was a hell of a year.

Compiled by Mark Robertson

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The year's most agreeable trend was foreign language films finding mainstream western audiences. Kicking off with the jaw-dropping Chinese martial arts adventure Crouchlng Tlger, Hldden Dragon. audiences were treated to the Mexican Pulp Fiction Amores Perros. Amelle. French serial-killer thriller The Crimson Rlvers. Japan's ultra—Violent Battle Royale and the French period romance-horror-mystery-martial arts-actioner Brotherhood 01 The Wolf.

The first three films make this year's hit list, four more foreign films fill it out: Wong Kar-Wai's super-stylish romance In The Mood For Love. Code Unknown. The Piano Teacher (both directed bx Austrian auteur Michael


Haneke) and Spanish ghost stOry The Devil’s Backbone. America claims the remaining year's hits: harrowing addiction drama Requlem For A Dream. glorious transsexual musical Hedwlg And The Angry Inch. mischievous Disney satire Shrek. List cover star Ewan McGregor's musical with Australian Baz Luhrmann Moulln Rouge. the Coen brothers best yet The Man Who Wasn’t There and the cool cult comic adaptation Ghost World.

The controversial content of The Plano Teacher came during a year in which the British Board Of Film Classification relaxed its rulings around sexual content. Thus arthouses screened Intimacy with blow JOb scene. The Centre Of The World with clitoral masturbation by lollipop and the notorious. long- banned Salo, Dr 120 Days Of Sodom.

" Meanwhile, animation took a quantum leap with the photorealistic Flnal Fantasy: The Splrlts Wlthln. However, its only partial success allayed fears that CGI actors would replace real ones (although animated Aki Ross out-performed many Hollywood humans including Sylvester Stallone in Drlven). Like everyone. Hollywood was rocked by 11 September. A respectful quiet period. in which violent films such as Arnold Schwarzenegger's Collateral Damage were cancelled. was swiftly followed by talks with the Pentagon about aiding America's propoganda war following the bombing of Afganistan. Talk of

a fourth Rambo film paints the picture. While George W. Bush was keen to see the Iranian film Kandahar (for a clue to Bin Laden's whereabouts or does Dubya love arthouse cinema?). Harry Potter broke all box office records. It's a matter of showbiz histOry that during times of social crisis escapist films do better than realist ones

The Wizard Of Oz boomed during America's Depression. Good news for the next Christmas blockbuster

fantasy The Lord Of

The Rings.

Harry Potter: breaking