Andrea Luka Zimmerman


Voted for

Sambizanga1972Sarah Maldoror
Fear Eats the Soul1974Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Simone Barbès or Virtue 1980Marie-Claude Treilhou
JONAS QUI AURA 25 ANS EN L'AN 20001976Alain Tanner
Killer of Sheep1977Charles Burnett
No Home Movie2015Chantal Akerman
Titicut Follies1967Frederick Wiseman
Punishment Park1971Peter Watkins
The Apple1997Samira Makhmalbaf
The Gleaners and I2000Agnès Varda



1972 Angola, France, Congo

The political is deeply embedded, felt and expressed through the everyday. The way in which Sarah shows how women support each other is incredibly beautiful. She places faces of people, alongside, in relation to, or in tragedy, alone too but bound in the unbroken movement of the camera. She is a real poet of cinema. For me this is worldmaking in ways that make life liveable. Touch, glances, feeding, eating, a smile. And how a smile and glance become a threat, dangerous, deadly. She cuts though myth (as in the rich are good, they provide jobs) without didacticism, and by layering and loops. Her cinema explores beauty, sensuality, refusal, and the often deadly political and actual violence enacted by systems of oppression in ways I find deeply inspiring.

Fear Eats the Soul

1974 Federal Republic of Germany

I saw this film when I was a teenager, only a decade after it was released. Ageism, Classism and Racism in Germany were hidden forces and nowhere near 'post'. There is a strange shape to the film which, only much later, when I became interested in cinema as an art form, I realised is due to its melodrama structure, and especially its way of framing. When I first saw it this gave me an opening through which I could enter the film and be troubled by it, as well as the way in which love and encounter in a society built upon material desire sits always next to in/visible threats of exclusion and violence. The film is utterly tender and also brutal.

Simone Barbès or Virtue


When I saw the film I recognised something very beautiful and so rare that it merits mentioning over and over. The film shows a temperament that is fluid and rebellious, nonconforming and knowing, playful and wayward all at once. Tropes are shattered because they are not necessary in such a making. This to me is the real poetry, or poetic possibility, of cinema. See 'Another Gaze':


1976 Switzerland, France

I first saw this film at a small cinema space I programmed on our council estate in Hackney, called Flat Screens. Critic, writer and film curator Gareth Evans programmed one season and brought the film to us. I 'was' the cashier in the film. The trying to make a life, a knowing life, regardless and with joy, set against the greed of finance capital and the erasure of possible ways of being directly inspired how we made Estate, a Reverie (2015, 83mins). The move from agricultural time, communal time and collective time to times of progression as a means to delineate time into a ‘before and after’, an old and new, a redundant and a desired, winners and losers, was very powerful. These winners “turned history into a corkscrew and they were at the top, opened the bottles beneath them, drank everything dry, and then smashed the bottles when they were empty.” Estate was made over seven years, as a counter-memory to notions of inevitability (of demolition in the name of 'progress'), and a spirited celebration of extraordinary everyday humanity. Two scenes in Estate directly homage the film.

Killer of Sheep

1977 USA

I remember watching this film more than many other films because of the emotional resonance, the way in which the film feels like a making from life, with life, and with utter knowing. It is extremely playful and shattering. There is a way of looking that fills it with immense beauty and care.

No Home Movie

2015 France, Belgium

This offers a new way of insisting on cinema as a practice adjacent to dominant structures of making; a cinema that comes from life.

Titicut Follies

1967 USA

John Marshall was its cinematographer and this film was my first encounter with an ethics of cinematography, a feeling oneself with care. When he is in a room with one of the patients, in an unbroken scene that lasts several minutes, he pulls back at the emotional knot, whereas TV always pushes in (the tear, the emotional moment). To give space, to allow space for the other to feel, to feel together, to feel with those coming to the scene much later (the audience), is a deeply philosophical position and as rare now as it was then. The fact that the film was banned for so long, and the fact that such institutions even exist (in various iterations we can count contemporary models of incarceration as a continuation), create such outrage, a questioning of in/sanity and state power in defining who is categorised as such. This kind of filmmaking seems crucial to me, a lineage that includes the crucial 13th (2016) by Ava DuVernay, as opposed to much recent pacification of the prison industrial complex in films.

Punishment Park

1971 USA

This film directly inspired me in how I work in film. Real people re-enacting versions of themselves, and historical moments, in order to trouble historical tropes and power relations (where only those with the recourse to history may speak their winner's story) and always incorporating actors in research and representation. Watkins’ ongoing activism against the 'monoform' directly influenced my way of making and writing towards the actual representation in cinema of participants in all aspects of the process, as well as making me question stories and forms of telling.

The Apple

1997 Iran, France

There is a new vocabulary in film, one that is neither documentary nor fiction; not simply hybrid, but both. I struggle with how to phrase this description as I do in making my own films, which are deeply embedded in Samira's way of working here. This film is one of the most wonderful of those works dealing with lived experience and reflection on and with those living that life, and the conditions in which they lived this life in this way.

The Gleaners and I

2000 France

I saw the film twice in one go when it came out. Christine Cynn, Joshua Oppenheimer, Michael Uwemedimo and I (Vision Machine film project) watched it and we were all equally troubled and inspired by it. We were working on developing a methodology with people on self-representation and re-enactment, and a revisitation of historical events in ways that could show a troubling of the gaze of power. I felt conflicted about this film, and we had one of the most intense conversations about class in relation to cinema. I come from a place where I had to source nourishment in unexpected places and knew where to look for it, I knew the perspective of those gleaning. This immersion in the collective we had through this film - despite our significant differences of experience up to that date, which until then had never been voiced in such ways - showed me how we need to make space for difference in ways that will never be easy, but always necessary. I thank this film for being able to voice my experience and those of so many others.

Further remarks

Cinema, to me, is a lived and living practice; political, experimental and an art form at best able to participate in, and demand spaces for, forms of social dreaming: being creative in the face of power.

There are of course so many titles omitted for reasons of space. Some of those I could not include are 10+4 (Mania Akbari), Blue (Derek Jarman), Description of a Struggle (Chris Marker), Gallivant (Andrew Kotting), Inextinguishable Fire (Harun Farocki), Meshes of the Afternoon (Maya Deren), Nighthawks (Ron Peck), Perfumed Nightmare (Kidlat Tahimik), Pierrot Le Fou (Jean-Luc Godard), Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Sergei Parajanov), Silverlake Life: The View from Here (Mark Massi & Tom Joslin), Stalker (Andrei Tarkovsky), Taracheme (Naomi Kawase), Touki Bouki (Djibril Diop Mambéty), The Turin Horse and Werckmeister Harmonies (Béla Tarr), Wendy and Lucy (Kelly Reichardt) and Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders)...

I would like to draw attention to So Mayer's list of films of all time: "Because all time means the futures we need, the pasts we have been cut off from or denied, and the possibilities are endless. There is no 'greatest', just the inducement to imagine together."