The last post about the OFCS Top 100 Films of the Last 10 Years ventured into the comments. Following up on that, here's a rashly decided personal top 10 from 1996-2005.
1. AFTER LIFE (WANDÂFURU RAIFU) (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 1998)
2. MULHOLLAND DR. (David Lynch, 2001)
3. BEFORE SUNSET (Richard Linklater, 2004)
4. WAKING LIFE (Richard Linklater, 2001)
5. THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS (Wes Anderson, 2001)
6. PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2002)
7. THE TRUMAN SHOW (Peter Weir, 1998)
8. THE SWEET HEREAFTER (Atom Egoyan, 1997)
9. IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (FA YEUNG NIN WA) (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)
10. GERRY (Gus Van Sant, 2002)
This is very much a list based on mental imagery and emotional brush strokes. I favored the films that have lingered with me the longest. THE ICE STORM, my top film of 1997 at the time, may have a rightful claim to a spot in this best of the best, but I haven't seen it in nine years. Only four of these were "winners" for their respective years: THE TRUMAN SHOW, MULHOLLAND DR., PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE, and GERRY. (Here's where actual US release date and IMDB release dates conflict. GERRY premiered in 2002 but didn't bow domestically until 2003.)
Hirokazu's film knocked me out on first viewing, and its power hasn't dimmed in the intervening years. If there's one film I really would have liked to have seen on the OFCS list, this is it.