Jurica Pavicic

Writer and critic, Jutarnji list

Croatia

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

My Darling Clementine

1946

John Ford

Death of Mr Lazarescu, The

2005

Cristi Puiu

Duel

1971

Steven Spielberg

M

1931

Fritz Lang

Man Escaped, A

1956

Robert Bresson

Passion of Joan of Arc

1927

Carl Theodor Dreyer

Round-Up, The

1966

Miklos Jancso

Sátántangó

1994

Béla Tarr

Treasure of Sierra Madre, The

1947

John Huston

Umberto D

1952

Vittorio de Sica

Comments

There is a deeply rooted prejudice in a film criticism that film history ends around 1980. In spite of that prejudice, I’ve selected some more recent films. The Passion of Joan of Arc is silent cinema in its maturity. Almost abstract, Dreyer’s film is a pure delight of audiovisual form. For almost a decade, cinema and TV exploited the urban decadence following the path Lang set with M. Its mirroring of the underground and aboveground societies is a striking and inspiring political metaphor even now. My Darling Clementine is the most classic of the Hollywood classics, John Ford at his best, in a film that discusses how democracy emerges from a state of wilderness. Rich and complex, it’s a film that Shakespeare would have loved. Is there such a thing as leftist Western? Yes, there is. The Treasure of Sierra Madre is a film that undermines the American Dream and shows devastating consequences of poverty. Some of the neorealist classics work well today, some don’t. Umberto D. works best of all. Un condamne a mort s’ e echappe is a mix of a beautifully crafted thriller and a philosophical film about death, fear and mercy. It’s also my personal number one. The Round-Up shows history as a clash of anonymous, depersonalised forces and society as a prison with no visible walls, only abstract nothingness of puszta. Jancso’s classic is a visual equivalent of the Marxist concept of history, made through highly original film language. Duelis the definitive film about modernity, with a dematerialised, abstract Other and menacing machines. Satantango is the most ambitious film of the greatest of contemporary classics. The Death of Mr Lazarescu is the best example of the new, 21st-century minimalism. Misunderstood as a film about the Eastern European health system, Lazarescu is something more: a film about definite solitude of death.

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