Farai Sevenzo

Rwendo; Africa Dreaming

Zimbabwe

Voted in the directors’ poll

Voted for

American Beauty

1999

Sam Mendes

Fistful of Dollars, A

1964

Sergio Leone

Godfather: Part I, The

1972

Francis Ford Coppola

No Country for Old Men

2007

Joel & Ethan Coen

Psycho

1960

Alfred Hitchcock

Seven Samurai

1954

Akira Kurosawa

Taxi Driver

1976

Martin Scorsese

Touki Bouki

1973

Djibril Diop Mambéty

Walkabout

1970

Nicolas Roeg

Xala

1974

Ousmane Sembene

Comments

If film is a language then cinema is its most elegant form of expression – and I think the cinematic practitioners on my list are very eloquent. Like everyone else, I’m sure, I found ten too meagre a sum to cram everything there is of influence in cinema’s rich reservoirs. My reasons for my top ten are a mixture of identification, art, poetry and emotional impact.

Touki Bouki and Xala I chose because they are two of the finest films to introduce Africa to the world of film – different in mood and styles but firm and decisive in their understanding of film language. And being from a continent which too often is deprived of expression in this language, I love these films for punching as hard as they do with their one shot.

The Hollywood titles on my list are as memorable for the beauty of their film language as they are for their narrative drive and force of characters. I also miss the genre of westerns and appreciate A Fistful of Dollars, Seven Samurai and Walkabout for their similarities in relation to this genre.

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