Peter Howell

Critic, Toronto Star

Canada

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

2001: A Space Odyssey

1968

Stanley Kubrick

Apocalypse Now

1979

Francis Ford Coppola

dolce vita, La

1960

Federico Fellini

In The Mood For Love

2000

Wong Kar Wai

Metropolis

1927

Fritz Lang

Playtime

1967

Jacques Tati

Sunrise

1927

F. W. Murnau

Tokyo Story

1953

Ozu Yasujirô

Tree of Life, The

2010

Terrence Malick

Vertigo

1958

Alfred Hitchcock

Comments

The best movie ever made? Why, the one I am about to watch, at least until the projection starts. Love of film makes optimists of us all. But Sight & Sound requests a list of ten best movies, and optimism turns to anxiety. Shall I ‘me too’ with Citizen Kane, split hairs with Godfather Part I and Part II or attempt to one-up with Warhol’s eight-hour Empire? But in truth, all cinema is personal, and so must be my list. Hence my ‘best ever’ list is a collection of significant films that have meant the most to me as both a critic and lover of film. 2001: A Space Odyssey because it never fails to show me something new, despite more than 40 viewings since 1968 The Tree of Life because it hints at realities outside the frame, past time and beyond the sky. In the Mood for Love because it makes romantic longing so incredibly sexy. Vertigo because it invites delirium with its suspenseful swooning. Metropolis because it saw the dehumanised future long before it arrived. Tokyo Story because of the stillness and contemplation that approaches screen perfection. Playtime because it understands how modern life is both fun and frantic. La dolce vita because it knows that ‘the sweet life’ is more of the mind than the body. Apocalypse Now because it continues to mature as a statement of war’s futility. Sunrise because it unlocked the visual power of this new medium called film. And so many more...

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