Samuel Wigley

Film critic; online news editor, BFI


Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Blissfully Yours


Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Lady from Shanghai, The


Orson Welles

Late Spring


Ozu Yasujirô



Jacques Demy

Out 1


Jacques Rivette

Partie de campagne


Jean Renoir

Passenger, The


Michelangelo Antonioni

Pierrot le Fou


Jean-Luc Godard

Rio Bravo


Howard Hawks



Alfred Hitchcock


For Late Spring’s heartbreakingly simple inevitability: time passes, things change. For the sublimely strange fusion of noir tropicalia in Orson’s rapt but recriminatory home movie of his then wife Rita Hayworth. For Demy taking Ophülsian romanticism to the streets for his spontaneous nouvelle vague fairytale – not yet a musical but alive to melody and rhythm on France’s Atlantic coast. For the way narrative, conspiracy and game slowly seep in at the edges of docudrama normality in Rivette’s fabulous and frightening half day. For the airy mystery of Antonioni’s globetrotting ‘thriller’, in which Jack Nicholson’s jaded political reporter loses himself between the treacherously beguiling folds of a narrative. For Renoir’s immortal exploration of light, depth, changing weather and the sensuous heaviness of bodies – so casual, tender and tragic. For Pierrot le fou’s doomed utopianism, its yearning referentiality, its blithe incursions into musical or slapstick in the South of France; for ideas going off like firecrackers; for its space, sound and colour. For the Tex-Mex melodies swelling up out of the desert, for Dean Martin pouring the liquor back into the bottle; for its jailhouse singalong; for the eternally appealing Hawksian view of friendship. For Apichatpong’s updated day in the country, the cinema’s newest deadly strain of vaccine-less intoxication. And Vertigo for its endlessly rewatchable mystery, its excavation of an old, weird San Francisco and the oneiric pull of its misty light; for the admission that we remake the ones we love to match our desire; for Scotty insisting that one shouldn’t be so sentimental. Most wrenching exclusions: Chinatown, Robert Altman, I Know Where I’m Going!, Gertrud, Max Ophüls, Shanghai Express, The Portuguese Nun, Nicholas Ray, L’Atalante, Rohmer, Mulholland Dr., L’eclisse, James Mason, Landscape in the Mist, Five Easy Pieces, Le Temps retrouvé, Kiarostami, Dr. No, Le Mépris, Claude Rains, Edvard Munch, Notorious, Les Demoiselles de Rochefort, Toni, Sunrise…

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