Martin Botha

Professor of Film Studies, University of Cape Town

South Africa

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Apocalypse Now

1979

Francis Ford Coppola

Barry Lyndon

1975

Stanley Kubrick

Cries and Whispers

1972

Ingmar Bergman

Days of Heaven

1978

Terrence Malick

Death in Venice

1971

Luchino Visconti

Fanny and Alexander

1984

Ingmar Bergman

Mirror

1974

Andrei Tarkovsky

Ran

1985

Akira Kurosawa

Thin Red Line, The

1998

Terrence Malick

Three Colours: Blue

1993

Krzysztof Kieslowski

Comments

Lists are ultimately subjective. I initially considered a list of films that would represent the ‘most important’ in film history, such as great work from the silent era by Eisenstein and/or Chaplin; features such as Citizen Kane, Rules of the Game, and the other titles that have dominated Sight & Sound polls since 1952. I am teaching international film history and have studied these films. Many of them do represent the aesthetic pinnacles of achievement, but in a strange way my admiration for Welles, Renoir and Eisenstein remains purely cognitive. The ten films in my list had the biggest impact on my view of cinema as an artform, as a means for directorial self-expression, in essence a cinema of auteurs that moved me on an intellectual and emotional level. I would have loved to add a few more: The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (Werner Herzog), The Tree of Wooden Clogs (Olmi), Hyenas (Mambety), Mother and Son (Sokurov) and the wonderful Apu Trilogy (Satyajit Ray).

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