Josué Méndez

Days of Santiago; Gods

Peru

Voted in the directors’ poll

Voted for

Godfather: Part I, The

1972

Francis Ford Coppola

Ivan's Childhood

1962

Andrei Tarkovsky

Kagemusha

1980

Akira Kurosawa

Last Laugh, The

1924

F. W. Murnau

mépris, Le

1963

Jean-Luc Godard

Paths of Glory

1957

Stanley Kubrick

Phantom of Liberty, The

1974

Luis Buñuel

Raging Bull

1980

Martin Scorsese

Three Colours: Blue

1993

Krzysztof Kieslowski

Umberto D

1952

Vittorio de Sica

Comments

Given that I consider it absolutely impossible to determine a ‘best of’ list, I’ve thought about the ten directors I probably admire the most and chosen the film out of their filmography that impressed me the most the first time I saw it.

Blue: the first movie I ever saw by Kieslowski. Maybe if I had seen Amator or Blind Chance first, I would have it on the list today. But it’s difficult to think of a movie that has ever impressed me more.

Contempt: great adaptation, one of those few adaptations one could argue is better than the book; I think it’s Godard’s most accessible work, made for a wider audience, all his talent and creativity at its highest and with the sole purpose of telling a story, not talent for talent’s sake.

The Godfather: what more could be said? If Martians came today and asked what we’ve done as far as filmmaking is concerned – well, this is it!

Ivan’s Childhood: as with Godard and Contempt, there’s nothing like watching Tarkovsky’s talent working for the good of a great story. Pure poetry, for all to enjoy and understand.

Kagemusha: maybe this has been the hardest decision because you could put so many other Kurosawa films here. I guess it’s just the first title that came to mind: has to be a sign!

The Last Laugh: my favourite Murnau, in my opinion the greatest filmmaker – a visionary, creator of a language. This film just feels so modern, so much better than anything done today.

Paths of Glory: my favourite Kubrick. I think it is the first modern film done in Hollywood, where filmmaking is not just telling a story but creating a mood, with precise technical means.

The Phantom of Liberty: also my favourite Buñuel. As surprising as he was, this is the one that surprised me the most. Just the concept of making a film like this is absolutely amazing; and he made it! Just wonderful for the history of cinema that something like this exists!

Raging Bull: my favourite Scorsese. At the top of his creativity, a film possessed by some kind of divinity, of transcendence. Not just a movie. Some kind of energy and vital force invades and goes through the screen.

Umberto D: my favourite Italian director. There’s no one more sensitive; and this is a movie with the best of what the Italians did. Compassionate, beautiful, real.

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