ALEXANDER BISLEY picks the ten films he’s most tickled about seeing at this year’s film festival.

A Christmas Tale: Arnaud Desplechin’s masterpiece was my favourite film of 2008. Diabolically elegant and incisive, it audaciously, addictively explores life’s sprawl. Catherine Deneuve’s mighty matriach Junon’s cancer demands a dysfunctional French family get together for Christmas’ ceremony. Jean-Paul Rousillon (patriarch Abel), Matthieu Amalric (enfant terrible Henri) and Emmanuelle Devos (Henri’s girlfriend Faunia) are similarly terrific. Desplechin is Dylanesque!

35 Shots of Rum: A very appealing Claire Denis Ozu homage about Parisian train driver Lionel (Alex Descas) and his daugher Josephine (Mati Diop). Diop, daugher of the Senegalese legend Wasis Diop, is gorgeous and musical. Agnes Godard imparts her usual sensuous cinematography; camera as caress.

Still Walking: “This sublimely poignant character study will likely... be recognised in time as one of the best Japanese family dramas ever put on film,” Time Out raves about Hirokazu Koreada’s follow-up to his astonishing, devastating Nobody Knows.

My Year Without Sex: Australian Sarah Watt’s latest promises to be as thoughtful, entertaining and likeable as her lovely debut Look Both Ways.

In the Loop: An extravagant, scathing cherrybomb about the Iraq con. British satire shows no mercy.

Also looking forward to: Goodbye Solo, Samson & Delilah, Looking for Eric, Treeless Mountain, Paper Soldier, and my wild card, Tulpan.