Tony Rayns

Writer; film critic; programmer

UK

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Birth of the Nation

1973

Klaus Wyborny

chien andalou, Un

1928

Luis Buñuel

Once Upon a Time in the West

1968

Sergio Leone

Scarlet Empress, The

1934

Josef von Sternberg

Scenes from a City Life (Dushi Fengguang)

Yuan Muzhi

Spring in a Small Town

1948

Fei Mu

Straits of Love and Hate (Aien Kyo)

1937

Mizoguchi Kenji

Taipei Story

1984

Edward Yang

Textism

Hirabayashi Isamu

Touch of Evil

1958

Orson Welles

Comments

Not much change from 2002, so I’m obviously set in my ways. What the list reveals is an admiration for films that push an idea about cinema to its apparent limit, and do so with elegance and wit. The only recent film on the list, Hirabayashi’s brilliant Textism (2003), stands for a vein of iconoclastic avant gardism that stretches from Robert Florey to Kenneth Anger and Hollis Frampton.

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