Kent Jones

Critic; filmmaker

US

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Fanny and Alexander

1984

Ingmar Bergman

Magnificent Ambersons, The

1942

Orson Welles

Musketeers of Pig Alley, The

1912

D.W. Griffith

Notorious

1946

Alfred Hitchcock

Pickpocket

1959

Robert Bresson

Puppetmaster, The

1993

Hsiao-hsien Hou

Raging Bull

1980

Martin Scorsese

Rio Bravo

1958

Howard Hawks

Shoah

1985

Claude Lanzmann

Wavelength

1967

Michael Snow

Comments

In the furious effort to whittle lists like this down to ten, one becomes immediately aware of what is not there. In my case, the most painful omissions are: Sunrise, The Shop Around the Corner, Paisà, Journey to Italy, The River (Renoir), The Searchers, Nicht versöhnt, 2001, Belle de jour, Crimes and Misdemeanors and Histoire(s) du cinéma. Consider the above ‘official’ list as a momentary freeze-frame of one side of an endlessly spinning coin with these alternates on the flipside – along with the collected works of Brakhage, Cassavetes, Conner, Frampton, Frank, Ozu, Powell with and without Pressburger from The Edge of the World through The Small Back Room, Val Lewton from Cat People through Bedlam, the best of the Freed Unit from 1944 to 1955 (ie the best Minnelli and Donen/Kelly titles), the best of pre-code Warner Brothers, about four or five other Hawks films and ten or 11 other Hitchcocks. That’s still leaving out a lot. So, why choose the ‘official’ chronologically ordered ten? It’s certainly not because of any certitude in the matter of ranking. Maybe it’s because they seem to me to contain so much – the summation of so much before and after them, the urges and predilections and wild surges happening around them.

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