Alisa Lebow

Professor of Screen Media

Voted for

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles1975Chantal Akerman
Close-up1989Abbas Kiarostami
Fear Eats the Soul1974Rainer Werner Fassbinder
La NIÑA SANTA2004Lucrecia Martel
The Gleaners and I2000Agnès Varda
The Battle of Algiers1966Gillo Pontecorvo
Waru2017Briar Grace-Smith, Chelsea Cohen, Casey Kaa, Ainsley Gardiner, Katie Wolfe, Renae Maihi, Paula Jones, Awanui Simich-Pene
One Way or Another1977Sara Gómez
Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One1967William Greaves


Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

1975 Belgium, France

Without a doubt a tour de force of world cinema, which forged a new feminist aesthetic for cinema.


1989 Iran

One of the best examples of a mise en abyme in and of cinema. Where the fiction ends and the documentary begins is impossible to determine, unsettling both ideas along the way.

Fear Eats the Soul

1974 Federal Republic of Germany

Edgy and iconoclastic: this film is so far ahead of its time it continues to challenge and impress today.


2002 France, Germany, Morocco, Netherlands, USA

It's hard to choose between Suleiman's first three films for this list, but Divine Intervention combines his signature episodic structure and his comic timing with a heretical cross-genre escapade that produces explosive and unforgettable results. No other filmmaker has dared to critique the Israeli occupation of Palestine with such flair, irony and social and cultural acuity.


2004 Argentina, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland

Brilliant example of 'haptic cinema', which involves all of the senses, with a special emphasis on those that cinema struggles the hardest with: touch and smell. It also reverses the gaze beautifully, foregrounding a young woman's erotic imaginary, and in the process developing an entire visual vocabulary.

The Gleaners and I

2000 France

A multi-modal first-person documentary that works seamlessly between literal and metaphoric meanings of gleaning and remains as relevant a critique today, of capitalism and that which it deems 'waste', as it was when it was made.

The Battle of Algiers

1966 Italy, Algeria

Made well after the success of the Algerian War of Independence and sponsored by the victorious new revolutionary government, this film captures the energy, strategy and dynamism of the revolutionary struggle, while refusing to dehumanise the colonists in the process.


2017 New Zealand

A collectively made feminist Maori feature which takes the omnibus film to another level. Far from the disparate fame- and ego-driven portmanteau project, this one really lives and breathes in a collectivity, creating an entirely new model for fiction filmmaking grounded in a collectivist and communally minded cultural paradigm.

One Way or Another

1977 Cuba

Completed by her mentor, Tomas Gutierrez Alea, after her untimely death from asthma, Sara Gomez was a hugely promising voice emerging from the Cuban revolution with a particular attunement towards gender, class and racialised discourses. With a first feature as powerful as this, one can only imagine what the world has missed due to her all-too-early demise.

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One

1967 USA

A completely uncategorisable film which threatens to fall apart the entire way through, yet raises every important ethical and conceptual question in relation to filmmaking in the process. This is a brilliant experiment in form, method, and interpersonal dynamics, pushing the boundaries on all fronts, not only in relation to filmmaking, but in relation to the culture in which the film is made. A severely under-recognised masterpiece.