Jonathan Romney

Critic, Independent on Sunday

UK

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Hellzapoppin'

1941

H.C. Potter

Lola

1961

Jacques Demy

Out 1

1990

Jacques Rivette

Pierrot le Fou

1965

Jean-Luc Godard

Sátántangó

1994

Béla Tarr

Shining, The

1980

Stanley Kubrick

Street of Crocodiles

Quay Brothers

Syndromes and a Century

2006

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Three Crowns of the Sailor, The

1983

Raúl Ruiz

Touch of Evil

1958

Orson Welles

Comments

It’s hard making this list again, ten years after the last time – you feel you want to be faithful to your earlier choices, but what to lose if other films have inspired you since? My only criterion for this list is that it’s entirely to do with my own filmgoing history – these are films that have all revealed something new to me at important moments. There are three new additions. Pierrot le fou replaces Le Mépris, as it’s simply more fun – but I also realised that it was the first Godard I ever saw. Of the two films I’ve discovered in the last decade, Out One was for years my Holy Grail – I thought I’d never see it, and when I did I wasn’t disappointed. It’s still a magnificent blueprint for generating fictions out of the everyday. It impresses me all the more in that even though huge chunks are barely watchable (the theatre sections) it’s nevertheless extraordinary overall. I’m taking a risk on Apichatpong, as I’m not sure what Syndromes will mean in the long term, but I was bowled over when I saw it – I’m always hoping to sight those rare screen phenomena that French critics like to call UFOs, and this film truly is (at the risk of repeating the Joe cliché) the authentic ‘mysterious object’. As for an old favourite, Hellzapoppin is still my desert island film, a crammed encyclopedia of meta-farce that continues to crack me up after all these years. Here’s to Olsen & Johnson, the kid sister and “Mrs Jones!!!”

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