1. Tokyo Story
Ozu Yasujirô, 1953
Subtle and sensitive, Tokyo Story lets the viewer experience the tensions and demands that modern life makes on people – here family members.
Stanley Kubrick, 1968
This is the film I’ve seen more than any other in my life. 40 times or more. My life altered when I discovered it when I was about 7 in Buenos Aires. It was my first hallucinogenic experience, my great artistic turning-point and also the moment when my mother finally explained what a foetus was and how I came into the world. Without this film I would never have become a director.
=2. Citizen Kane
Orson Welles, 1941
Welles’s feat of imagination in Citizen Kane remains dazzling and inspiring. Cinema aspiring to great art, political import – and delivered with unabashed showmanship. The fervour of the work is as excited and electric as ever. The thriller plot never disappoints.
Federico Fellini, 1963
8½ is a film I saw three times in a row in the cinema. This is chaos at its most elegant and intoxicating. You can’t take your eyes off the screen, even if you don’t know where it’s heading. A testament to the power of cinema: you don’t quite understand it but you give yourself up to let it take you wherever.
A true classic has to be both intimate and universal. To speak about cinema through cinema requires a voice unwavering in its passion and purity. 8½ speaks as much about life as it does about art – and it makes certain to connect both. A portrait of the teller and his craft – a lustful, sweaty, gluttonous poem to cinema.
—Guillermo del Toro
5. Taxi Driver
Martin Scorsese, 1976
A film so vivid, hypnotic and corrosive that it feels forever seared onto your eyeballs, Taxi Driver turns a city, a time and a state of mind into a waking nightmare that’s somehow both horribly real and utterly dreamlike.
Francis Ford Coppola, 1979
Coppola evoked the high-voltage, dark identity quest, journeying into overload; the wildness and nihilism – all captured in operatic and concrete narrative, with the highest degree of difficulty. A masterpiece.
=7. The Godfather
Francis Ford Coppola, 1972
A classic, but I never tire of it. The screenplay is just so watertight, and Michael’s journey is one of the best protagonist arcs ever created.
Alfred Hitchcock, 1958
[These are the scenes or aspects I usually think about in the movies I have thought about most often…] In Vertigo, after he’s worked so hard to remake her and finally she emerges: hair dyed platinum, grey suit, misty lens. It’s her!
Andrei Tarkovsky, 1974
I must have been around 13 when I first watched Mirror. This time I realised that there are films that are not even meant to be ‘understood’. It’s the poetry of cinema in its purest form, on a very delicate verge of being pretentious – which makes its genius even more striking.
10. Bicycle Thieves
Vittorio De Sica, 1949
My absolute favourite, the most humanistic and political film in history.