Jason Wood

Film programmer; writer

UK

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Breathless

1960

Jean-Luc Godard

Citizen Kane

1941

Orson Welles

Don't Look Now

1973

Nicolas Roeg

Earth

1930

Aleksandr Dovzhenko

Kes

1969

Ken Loach

Nosferatu

1922

F. W. Murnau

Salo, or The 120 Days of Sodom

1975

Pier Paolo Pasolini

Spirit of the Beehive, The

1973

Víctor Erice

Sunset Blvd.

1950

Billy Wilder

Three Colours: Red

1994

Krzysztof Kieslowski

Comments

Breathless redefined and reimagined the possibilities of the medium. Citizen Kane is a perennial favourite, but its pioneering use of deep focus photography and its introduction of Orson Welles to the world of cinema means that it simply cannot be ignored. Almost any one of Roeg’s works from 1969 to 1980 could have made my list but Don’t Look Now, a chilling adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s supernatural tale, continues to grow in stature. The photography, performances and unique imagistic style are terrific. Earth is a poetic hymn to nature and a feast for the eyes. A breathtakingly beautiful work. All the hardships and cruelties of a working class childhood condensed into Kes’ 113 sublime minutes. Nosferatu is the most poetic of all horror films, with a mesmerising performance from Max Schreck as the sexually rapacious count. Salo is a genuinely subversive work. Certain of its images and ideas constantly replay across my mind, though sometimes I wish they wouldn’t. The Spirit of the Beehive is a powerful political parable and a haunting mood piece that once seen is never forgotten. Sunset Boulevard is one of Wilder’s finest achievements and a suitably scabrous and cynical account of tinseltown. Three Colours: Red is the Polish director’s conclusion to his Three Colours Trilogy. This final film dips into interconnecting lives to deliver a powerful, flawless mediation on faith, destiny and contemporary existence.

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