1) Jia Zhangke's A Touch of Sin.
Reason: this is a powerful, powerful film that explores the effects of radical individualism, and economic inequality and of the overturning of normal, local, rooted communities. Banned by the Chinese government, it is as much a critique of the values of neoliberalism globally as it is of the current Chinese economic experiment.
2) Alejandro González Iñárritu's Biutiful.
Reason: a moving exploration of responsibility and ethics in the face of poverty, hopelessness and impending death. What do we make of the human spirit and our obligations to each other - and our obligations in the face of The Other? Javier Bardem was birthed for this role - fantastic acting.
3) Pavel Lungin's The Island.
Reason: who is guilty before whom and for what? Take a director of Jewish background, give him a story that is loosely inspired by a hagiography of the fool-for-Christ Feofil of the Kieven Caves, and cast a retired-rock-star-current-recluse (Pyotr Mamonov) as a Orthodox monastic in the far north of Russia, and I would have quite low expectations for the outcome. What Lungin produced is instead not only his best film but I think one of the best films of the last 20 years.