Aleksandar S. Janković

film history professor and film critic

Voted for

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance1962John Ford
It's a Wonderful Life1947Frank Capra
Wings of Desire1987Wim Wenders
Le Mépris1963Jean-Luc Godard
Waking Life2001Richard Linklater
Big Wednesday1978John Milius
Sunset Blvd.1950Billy Wilder
A Matter of Life and Death1946Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Escape from New York1980John Carpenter
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button2008David Fincher


The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

1962 USA

Dark monument to American political and cultural changes during the Wild West period. Romantic but doomed, true yet idealistic.

It's a Wonderful Life

1947 USA

Forgotten for decades, now it's a sheer American and Christmas classic. Widely philanthropic and optimistic, but for 20 minutes extremely dark and brooding. A film about how Americans want to be seen. Along with The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, possibly the truest movie about Americana.

Wings of Desire

1987 Federal Republic of Germany, France

Even a few years before 'wallfall', Berlin was as strange as always. A touch of expressionism, a touch of Americana, this film is about the myth of the fallen angel in the modern world of Nick Cave and a guilt-ridden world.

Le Mépris

1963 France, Italy

Film meaning and semiotics at the peak of global artistic changes. Awkwardly directed, but so eloquent and erudite, it's one of the greatest meta films, full of hidden and not so hidden signs. Everything is in the wrong place – love affair, film job, betrayal – but strangely it works…

Waking Life

2001 USA

Maybe the truest film to its core that isn't a film. A lovely essay on film meaning, dreaming, film theory and the meaning of life itself, from the diverse and versatile Linklater.

Big Wednesday

1978 USA

In former Yugoslavia, this film is knowns as A Day of Big Waves. It's the most personal Milius film and a bittersweet glory of youth and Vietnam war. About broken dreams and a time that is no more.

Sunset Blvd.

1950 USA

Heavy film noir about casulties of the silent era. Sad and dark look at 'old age' in Hollywood, even though Norma Desmond was only 47 years old. Authentic and an unsurpassed Hollywood gothic.

A Matter of Life and Death

1946 United Kingdom

Martin Scorsese's most important and most loved director. His film ssuffered for decades for being too decorative and simpleminded, but there's no film director like Michael Powell today. This film of great imagination and metaphors tells a story about strange love, about a bureaucratic, Heaven and mostly about the hard relationship between the US and GB. And it's so British in every way.

Escape from New York

1980 USA, United Kingdom

In former Yugoslavia, again, this film was translated as New York 1997 – and that year was sooooo far away back then. Kurt Russell at maybe his most muscular and laid-back, in a typical Carpenter B movie bonanza. As a political satire with western allusions, this was post-New Hollywood at its best.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

2008 USA

Very loosly based on F. Scott Fitzgerald story, Fincher's most personal film is a strange fruit of our bipolar world. It's like that 20 minutes in Capra's It's A Wonderful Life with weird twists and layers, and again it's a sad and romantic believable fantasy novel in the vein of Henry Hathaway's Peter Ibbetson (1935). It’s the ultimate Hollywood doomed love story, attached to a man who represents our own little lives and mistakes but in reverse. And that's the poignant tragedy of life itself.