Guy Maddin

The Saddest Music in the World; My Winnipeg

Canada

Voted in the directors’ poll

Voted for

After Life

1998

Koreeda Hirokazu

Age d'Or, L'

1930

Luis Buñuel

Letter From an Unknown Woman

1948

Max Ophüls

Long Goodbye, The

1973

Robert Altman

Man's Castle

1933

Frank Borzage

Mulholland Dr

2001

David Lynch

Tree of Life, The

2010

Terrence Malick

Unknown, The

1927

Tod Browning

Zero de Conduite

1933

Jean Vigo

Zvenigora

1928

Aleksandr Dovzhenko

Comments

Joyous, aggressively primitive and trope-giddy, Zéro de conduite is the best shortcut back to the intensely wondrous state of childhood – and therefore the source of all creation – in the history of cinema.

Tod Browning and forgotten genius Lon Chaney's perfectly executed allegory about the self-castration impulse in all of us, The Unknown is immensely entertaining, unpredictable and thoroughly disinhibited – perhaps the most fearless and shameless melodrama of all time.

Man’s Castle is the best example of how Frank Borzage slows a film down to unspool in ‘lover's time’, a pace that allows him to pack in all the tiny details that encrust and encase a pair of throbbing hearts. Agonising and cathartic!

The Tree of Life isn't even a movie, it's a vest of dynamite that rips open the viewer's bosom and keeps it suffering long after detonation.

Is L’Age d’or an oneiric essay film? Still the most inspiring, ragged, cocky, smart and mischievous – all of it expressed in an extinct but somehow modern filmic vocabulary. We'll never quite catch up to this picture.

The Long Goodbye is mannered in crazy, loosey-goosey ways. Altman, in the zone, completely repurposes a genre!

Mulholland Dr.: boom! Game changed!

Letter from an Unknown Woman: sadistic comedy or delirious tragedy? Masterfully both.

Singular use, reuse and re-reuse of memory and film-as-memory in After Life, Kore-eda’s strangely playful yet moving wonder. What a structure!

Zvenigora is mind-bogglingly eccentric!

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