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Rita Mulholland Drive

Is David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive this century’s best film?

A new poll of critics put the 2001 surrealist piece on top, with Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind also making appearances

Mulholland Drive, David Lynch’s dark, surrealist cinema masterpiece has been voted the best film of the 21st century.

The neo-noir thriller, which was originally meant to be a six-part TV show, follows Rita as she descends into a dark, psychological mystery, on a journey to discover her true identity following a car crash that gives her amnesia. Lynch’s work topped the poll by BBC Culture, where 177 film critics from around the world named what they thought were the greatest films of the last century.

Also on the list included Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away (2001), Richard Linklater’s Texan coming-of-age film Boyhood and Michael Gondry’s fractured romantic sci-fi Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2012).

Some directors made several appearances on the list, with Wes Anderson, Christopher Nolan and Michael Haneke having three films each named.

Matthew Anderson, the editor of BBC Culture, said that many film polls looked deeper into the past for critical acclaimation. “But we wanted to find out about the best films in recent memory. These are the films that most people feel strongly about,” he said.

“We hope that this list will spark discussion and debate, not just among critics and film aficionados, but among everyone who enjoys movies and has an opinion about what makes a good one.”

2012 proved to be the year that produced the most popular films, with 10 featured in the top 100, and nine pieces from 2013 also made the cut, including Blue is the Warmest Colour.

Check out the top 10 on the list below, or read the full top 100 here.

1. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
2. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)
3. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
4. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)
5. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
7. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)
8.Yi Yi: A One and a Two (Edward Yang, 2000)
9. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)
10. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2013)