Margit Tonson

Film critic

Estonia

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Breaking the Waves

1996

Lars von Trier

Breathless

1960

Jean-Luc Godard

Fear Eats the Soul

1974

Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Hidden

2004

Michael Haneke

Mirror

1974

Andrei Tarkovsky

Mulholland Dr

2001

David Lynch

Persona

1966

Ingmar Bergman

Ukuaru

Leida Laius

Vertigo

1958

Alfred Hitchcock

Woman Under the Influence, A

1974

John Cassavetes

Comments

For me, greatest films always have to speak to me or challenge me not only on an intellectual, conscious level, but also by somehow accessing my subconsciousness as well. This ability to access one’s subconscious mind is a prerequisite of change – changing the viewer’s point of view, his/her state of mind, disproving one’s prejudice, opening his/her eyes etc. The greatest films all do that: they have the power to change things, and as a film theorist and critic one can spend hundreds of challenging, yet rewarding hours trying to discover how exactly this change was conducted and executed. As you probably already noticed, there is one Estonian film on the list as well (surely, at the time it was made, Ukuaru was considered part of the Soviet film tradition). It shouldn’t come as a surprise for Sight & Sound readers, but I am pretty sure it does. Leida Laius studied in Moscow with Otar Iosseliani, Larisa Shepitko and lots of other significant Soviet filmmakers, and was taught by Gerassimov, Romm, Kuleshov, Dovzhenko and so on. Excellent melodrama, wonderful acting and smart editing go hand in hand with Arvo Pärt’s original score, which includes the famous ‘Ukuaru Waltz’, to make Ukuaru one the greatest Estonian films of all time.

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