Fernando Colomo

The Near East; South from Granada

Spain

Voted in the directors’ poll

Voted for

400 Blows, The

1959

François Truffaut

1963

Federico Fellini

Executioner, The

1963

Luis García Berlanga

Los Olvidados

1950

Luis Buñuel

North by Northwest

1959

Alfred Hitchcock

Pierrot le Fou

1965

Jean-Luc Godard

Psycho

1960

Alfred Hitchcock

Seventh Seal, The

1957

Ingmar Bergman

Singin' in the Rain

1951

Stanley Donen/Gene Kelly

Touch of Evil

1958

Orson Welles

Comments

I watched Les 400 Coups when I was 15, the same age as the character, and it made a great impact on me. I discovered that cinema could do something different to the double bills on Thursdays. I discovered that it could speak about real people and their emotions and conflicts. And it determined my film vocation.

Singin’ in the Rain is the pinnacle of the American musical but above all, it is a work that gives you a burst of energy, of vitality. I have watched it so many times and I’ve never felt disappointed. Its images (and its music numbers) are very powerful. And the actors are genius in this history of cinema within cinema.   The first time I watched Pierrot le Fou it was a life experience. It generated a disturbing emotion within me. It is an existential, anarchic, melancholic, desperate film. I like the use of music with the abrupt entrances, and the use of primary colours: blue, red, yellow.

With North by Northwest, Hitchcock invented a genre. He added humour to suspense and the result is excellent. The film is hypnotic; you cannot stop watching it (not even if you know it by heart) because the central idea (genius) and the outcome are at the same level. It’s full of memorable sequences later imitated to death.

Psycho is a really strange black and white film where the protagonist dies halfway through. The viewer is left puzzled yet absorbed in the story. Unforgettable images: the shower, the stairs, the mansion… What a risky and daring film!   The opening shot of Touch of Evil is a whole film course in itself. This low-budget film reveals Welles the inventor at his best. The images create a unique world. He uses sequence shots as long as five minutes, full of tension and magic, and turns American stars (Heston and Leigh) into Shakespearean characters. The final touch is provided by the great Henry Mancini’s jazzy music.   I was conquered on a second viewing of 8½. This is a very personal film, which would be unthinkable today. Fellini reveals himself in the character played by Mastroianni and creates his universe somewhere between the real and the dreamt. The music by Nino Rota seems to have been composed before Fellini’s images; the latter fit like a glove with the score.   Bergman’s were some of the very few Films with a capital letter that were allowed by Franco’s censorship in the ’60s and The Seventh Seal was the first of his films to show in Spain. I saw it when I was 16, and the image of the knight playing chess with death remains engraved in my memory.    A statement against the death penalty made by outwitting Franco’s censors, The Executioner is an attack on the moral misery of a cunning and corrupted society. And everything told through the prism of black humour very characteristic of Berlanga and his co-writer, Rafael Azcona. Berlanga invented long sequence shots that allow the actors to walk about freely.

Buñuel found in Mexico the right setting to display his genius. In Los Olvidados he mixes in a surprising way the social with the surreal. This film is at the same level as The Exterminating Angel.

Latest from the BFI

  • Latest from the BFI

    Latest news, features and opinion.

More information

Films, TV and people

  • Films, TV and people

    Film lists and highlights from BFI Player.

More information

Sight & Sound magazine

  • Sight & Sound magazine

    Reviews, interviews and features from the international film magazine.

More information

Back to the top