Ray Carney

Professor, Film and American Studies, Boston University

US

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Faces

1968

John Cassavetes

Human Remains

1998

Jay Rossenblatt

Killer of Sheep

1977

Charles Burnett

Local Color

1977

Mark Rappaport

Mikey and Nicky

1976

Elaine May

Milestones

1975

Robert Kramer

Old Joy

2005

Kelly Reichardt

Safe

1994

Todd Haynes

Wanda

1970

Barbara Loden

Wife, The

1995

Tom Noonan

Comments

I am offering an exclusively American list to counterbalance the “no man (or woman) can be a prophet in their own country” syndrome. And a list where the oldest work was created less than 50 years ago to counteract the “all the masterpieces are in museums” syndrome. The list is also meant to react against all the artistic cults worshipping at the altars of visual gorgeousness, acoustic virtuosity, and narrative gigantism. These works embrace an aesthetic of imperfection – their truths are small, rough, and provisional. That is what qualifies them as the most important works of our present historical moment: they blaze a trail into the future.

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