The Japan Times' three film writers got together before Christmas to discuss their top picks of movies released this year. Unusually, this year both Giovanni Fazio and Kaori Shoji agreed on their No. 1, choosing "The Broken Circle Breakdown." Mark Schilling picked Mipo Oh's "Soko Nomi Nite Hikari Kagayaku" ("The Light Shines Only There").

Soko Nomi Nite Hikari Kagayaku (The Light Shines Only There)

M.S.: I heard that "Soko Nomi Nite Hikari Kagayaku, " was Japan's nominee for the best foreign language Oscar. But even without that pedigree, I would have picked this as my No. 1. It didn't take me long to make that decision — for me, there was no competition for that slot.