Eugène Green

Le pont des Arts; The Portuguese Nun

France

Voted in the directors’ poll

Voted for

Au Hasard Balthazar

1966

Robert Bresson

Blow Up

1966

Michelangelo Antonioni

dolce vita, La

1960

Federico Fellini

End of Summer, The

1961

Ozu Yasujirô

Gertrud

1964

Carl Theodor Dreyer

Jester, The

1987

José Álvaro Morais

My Night with Maud

1969

Eric Rohmer

Shoeshine

1946

Vittorio De Sica

Sunrise

1927

F. W. Murnau

Ugetsu Monogatari

1953

Mizoguchi Kenji

Comments

I find it impossible to make a hierarchical classification of the ‘ten best films of all time’. At most what comes to mind is a list of what appears to me the ten most important directors, although even that imposes difficult choices. Once chosen, I can select what I might judge their best or most emblematic film, although no doubt if I had made the choice yesterday, or if I were to make it tomorrow, the film would not, in certain cases, be the same. I have also excluded living artists from my selection – with the special exception of Manoel de Oliveira, who I’m adding as a coda for Aniki Bobó. Very different from the great films Oliveira has realised since the 1960s, this first feature, combining silent film techniques (despite the use of sound) – with very modern documentary realism, is an unpretentious masterpiece.

Au hazard Balthazar is a hieratic but nevertheless profoundly moving film, by the auteur who perhaps, more than any other, explored the specific possibilities of cinematographic expression.

All the late Ozu films are important works. The End of Summer stands out as a meditation on death, with certain shots of an extraordinary power and beauty. The scenes between the two sisters are deeply moving.

Blowup is the film in which Antonioni’s metaphysical preoccupations are most evident. No one else has ever filmed London so well.

Ever dear to me personally, La dolce vita was the first ‘real’ film I saw, when I was 13. It‘s also one of the most emblematic of Fellini’s genius.

Choosing a Rohmer is as difficult as choosing an Ozu, but My Night with Maud is certainly one of his most perfect.  The most poetic of Mizoguchi’s ‘historical’ films, Ugetsu monogatari also contains the most impressive ghost scene in the history of cinema.

Despite the fact that it was made in Barbaria, Sunrise brings to perfection the style and the themes of Murnau’s German works. No doubt one of the greatest silent films.

Although I have reservations about Dreyer’s other films, in his final one, Gertrud, he assumed theatricality as a ‘matter’ to be treated cinematographically, and freed himself completely from the influence of Hollywood.

De Sica was an ‘instinctive’ director, and his instincts were not always very good, but in Shoeshine, which founded Italian neorealism, he went beyond a simple social melodrama, and created – perhaps without knowing it – a powerful work of cinema.

Although terribly complex and rooted in Portuguese history – that of the Middle Ages and that of the 1970s – O Bobo, once assimilated, proves to be a late-born offspring of the great European cinema of the 1945-1980 period.

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