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Losin' It

A host of first-timers lit up the screen in 2001

1. Behind the Sun A simple story with the power of a myth, from Brazilian director Walter Salles (Central Station). Ravishing.

2. Amores Perros A film of raw power and crippling brutality that exposes viewers to a world drenched in grime, sweat, greed and, finally and unexpectedly, the barest glimmer of hope and grace. Feature debut of Mexico's Alejandro González Iñárritu.

3. No Man's Land An antiwar film from Bosnia. Part comedy, part tragedy, all bite, it damns and mocks in equal measure. Feature debut of writer-director Danis Tanovic.

4. Our Song A film about three inner-city high school girls that will change the way you view life.

5. L.I.E. Playing a pedophile who befriends a troubled 15-year-old boy, Scottish actor Brian Cox accomplishes the impossible: He evokes sympathy for a character while never letting the audience forget the threat he poses.

6. Donnie Darko Straddling the line between drama and fantasy, this portrait of a deeply troubled high school student is anchored by an extraordinary performance from Jake Gyllenhaal. A film as chilling as it is heartrending. Feature debut of writer-director Richard Kelly.

7. Shrek Sophisticated, clever, funny, adorable. Perfect for kids and adults alike. Eddie Murphy steals the picture.

8. Focus A movie about what happens to a society when basically decent people do not stand up in the face of prejudice and ignorance. First-time director Neal Slavin achieves a brilliant sympathy between visual style and dramatic content.

9. The Deep End Tilda Swinton gives a wholly believable performance as a suburban housewife and mother who protects her children with the ferocity and unswerving instinct of a mother lion safeguarding her cubs.

10. The Road Home A love story set in early-20th-century rural China. Simplicity itself, but as heartfelt and poetic as a sonnet by William Blake.

 
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