Jim Sinclair

Executive and artistic director, Pacific Cinémathèque, Vancouver


Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

2001: A Space Odyssey


Stanley Kubrick

Citizen Kane


Orson Welles

Passion of Joan of Arc


Carl Theodor Dreyer

Red Shoes, The


Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger

Règle du jeu, La


Jean Renoir

Russian Ark


Aleksandr Sokurov

Searchers, The


John Ford

Tokyo Story


Ozu Yasujirô

Tree of Life, The


Terrence Malick



Alfred Hitchcock


At the end of the day, I had to apply the weeping-in-my-chair test: all of these sublime films are uncommonly endowed with moments – of audacity, of emotional potency, of perfection – that make me weep with awe and sheer joy at their exhilarating artistry and power. And (the ultimate test) in each case that lachrymose aesthetic force can be reliably counted on to get stronger with every repeated viewing. Which isn’t to say that Battleship Potemkin, The Magnificent Ambersons or 8½ – or Bergman, Scorsese or, gosh, Wong or Apichatpong – were easily excluded. Nor am I at all certain that including Malick’s so far, so gobsmacking Tree of Life isn’t entirely premature. (I have to confess to loving Tree’s ‘merciful dinosaur’ scene, but it remains to be determined whether it has anything like the staying power of Kane’s Mr Bernstein recollecting that young woman in a white dress on the Jersey ferry.)

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