Vigen Galstyan

Writer and curator

Australia/Armenia

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Colour of Pomegranates, The

1968

Sergei Parajanov

eclisse, L'

1962

Michelangelo Antonioni

Mirror

1974

Andrei Tarkovsky

Mulholland Dr

2001

David Lynch

Olympia

1938

Leni Riefenstahl

Persona

1966

Ingmar Bergman

Pickpocket

1959

Robert Bresson

Rashomon

1950

Akira Kurosawa

Vertigo

1958

Alfred Hitchcock

Week End

1967

Jean-Luc Godard

Comments

This list is perhaps a little ridiculous… I simply tried to think of ten films that I’d send to another planet for a crash course on humanity. If pure modernism has a topos in cinema, then it has to be Bresson. Pickpocket is an amalgamation of everything that has gone before (Griffith, Chaplin, Eisenstein, Murnau, Welles) crystallised into an almost mathematically transcendental work of art. Mulholland Dr. is the film that, I think, responds most perfectly to the state of the human condition today. It is also a work that will show the way for many years to come. Bergman’s Persona is uncanny. It is like a conundrum that changes every time you watch it. Hence it stands outside of time (yes, it is vampiric, if you like). The Colour of Pomegranates is an utter synthesis of almost all modes of visual culture – an achievement that has yet to be rivalled. When I think of the spiritual in cinema (which I do a lot, since I’m an atheist), I think of Tarkovsky’s The Mirror. It’s probably the entire oeuvre that makes Godard so monumental and vital, but Week End remains his ultimate ‘fuck you’ and has lost none of its potency. L’Eclisse is the best film about the apocalypse; Olympia is the flipside of the coin – utter evil realised to absolute perfection; and has there been a more influential film than Vertigo (sorry Orson)? As for Rashomon, it’s groundbreaking in so many ways – where would one start?

Latest from the BFI

  • Latest from the BFI

    Latest news, features and opinion.

More information

Films, TV and people

  • Films, TV and people

    Film lists and highlights from BFI Player.

More information

Sight & Sound magazine

  • Sight & Sound magazine

    Reviews, interviews and features from the international film magazine.

More information

Back to the top