Pen-Ek Ratanaruang

Last Life in the Universe; Invisible Waves


Voted in the directors’ poll

Voted for


Federico Fellini

Au Hasard Balthazar


Robert Bresson

Clockwork Orange, A


Stanley Kubrick

Godfather: Part II, The


Francis Ford Coppola

Kind Hearts and Coronets


Robert Hamer



Woody Allen



Ingmar Bergman

Raging Bull


Martin Scorsese

Separation, A


Asghar Farhadi

Strangers on a Train


Alfred Hitchcock


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.

Persona is a small film that unfolds like an epic thriller. Every second grips you totally. The two main characters become all of us. The island where they spend their time becomes a universe. It’s very economical in its language, but very powerful.

Manhattan is a love story, a satire, a comedy and a love letter to one of the most famous cities and composers in the world, all in one flawless package. When I have a bad day, I watch this movie and I'm all right again.

The first time I saw Au hasard Balthazar I really cried my eyes out. Elegant, economical and humanistic – and it has the most heartbreaking ending of all the movies I’ve seen.

One of the most wickedly black comedies ever made, Kind Hearts and Coronets slowly sucks you in. By the time you are submerged, you find yourself laughing. And that voiceover narration is a real killer.

A family film that disguises itself as a gangster movie, The Godfather Part II is the prime example of what a Hollywood movie at its best can achieve. And normal people (not people who would normally read this magazine) can actually watch this movie and have a great time.

The same reason I gave for Kind Hearts and Coronets can be given for A Clockwork Orange as well. It’s wickedly funny, except that with this one you feel guilty laughing because the violence is so graphic. People have talked forever about it being ultra-violent, but it’s ultra-funny too.

Extremely brutal, extremely beautiful, Raging Bull is a film of confession and redemption. Perhaps one of the last great films from Hollywood before it turned its back completely on an adult audience.

Although time hasn't proved A Separation a classic, for me it already is. I watched it three times in the cinema, and every time I saw it the power of this film did not lessen. This is, for me, near perfection. The film looks simple and effortless, but its moral complexity is overwhelming: you have to adjust your opinion about each character every ten minutes or so as the point of view shifts.

Strangers on a Train represents the best design in all the films I can think of. It’s almost like engineering or architecture. From the opening sequence of the railway tracks running alongside each other until they diverge and go different ways, to the two pairs of feet walking in opposite directions that end up meeting in the lounge of the train.

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