Clare Stewart

Head of exhibition BFI

UK

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Beau Travail

1998

Claire Denis

Cameraman, The

1928

Buster Keaton

Days of Being Wild

1990

Wong Kar Wai

Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, The

1943

Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger

Separation, A

2011

Asghar Farhadi

Spirit of the Beehive, The

1973

Víctor Erice

Sullivan's Travels

1941

Preston Sturges

Throne of Blood

1957

Akira Kurosawa

Wake in Fright

1971

Ted Kotcheff

Written on the Wind

1956

Douglas Sirk

Comments

My list is led by emotion. These are the films to which I return, the films that make my heart sing, that have transformed my perception of cinema and what it can be. Films that make me want to dance with the thrill of being alive and having cinema to prove it (and the top three all have liberating solo dance sequences: Dorothy Malone, Leslie Cheung, Denis Lavant!). This list will be different tomorrow (when it will include The Night of the Hunter, Cleo from 5 to 7, Safe, Hunger, The Shop Around the Corner and Leone, Fassbinder, Ceylan, Woo and July. Lurking in the shadows of this list (and tomorrow’s) are a great many beloved films, but today I feel like giving a nod to four short films that almost made the list: Lois Weber and Phillips Smalley’s Suspense; La Jetée; Sadie Benning’s If Every Girl Had a Diary and – as the perfect ode to cinema itself – Guy Maddin’s The Heart of the World.

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