Glenn Kenny

Chief film critic, MSN Movies; Proprietor of the blog “Some Came Running”

US

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Anatomy of a Murder

1959

Otto Preminger

Belle de Jour

1967

Luis Buñuel

Boudu Saved from Drowning

1932

Jean Renoir

Celine and Julie Go Boating

1974

Jacques Rivette

Citizen Kane

1941

Orson Welles

Dr Mabuse, The Gambler

1922

Fritz Lang

Psycho

1960

Alfred Hitchcock

Searchers, The

1956

John Ford

Singin' in the Rain

1951

Stanley Donen/Gene Kelly

Stalker

1979

Andrei Tarkovsky

Comments

It’s true, the task is not an easy one. I arrived at this particular list – one out of perhaps dozens of other entirely different ones – by splitting the difference between honouring convention and saying to hell with it. As it happens, the four films on the list which might conceivably be seen as ‘consensus’ picks —Citizen Kane, Psycho, Singin’ in the Rain, The Searchers — are also ones close to my heart, or at least the formation of my sensibility. The other six came to me after a lot of internal debate over whether I was being different for the sake of being different or whether these were not in fact truly great films that, when the time comes for these sorts of surveys, do not get the proper recognition for being the imaginatively prodigious, paradigm-shifting, galvanic works that I believe they in fact are. Of course I regret that my list cannot be longer, because surely Sansho Dayu, The General (not to mention Sherlock Jr.), The Last Temptation of Christ and a lot more ought to have a place, and the more I think about the films and filmmakers I am leaving off (Yang! Naruse! And, yep, Godard; what am I thinking?) the more I can twist a long knife inside my guts and brain. Despite all that, this is a list that satisfies me. If anybody asks me “What IS cinema,”, I can show them any one of these pictures and say “This is.”

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