Anne Gjelsvik

Professor in film studies

Voted for

The Godfather1972Francis Ford Coppola
In the Mood for Love2000Wong Kar Wai
Drive My Car2021Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Barry Lyndon1975Stanley Kubrick
Portrait of a Lady on Fire2019Céline Sciamma
Brief Encounter1945David Lean
Spirited Away2001Hayao Miyazaki
Vertigo1958Alfred Hitchcock
Tokyo Story1953Yasujirō Ozu
The Passion of Joan of Arc1927Carl Th. Dreyer


The Godfather

1972 USA

It was really hard to choose between The Godfather 1 and The Godfather 2, they are equally good. As I didn't want to use more than one vote here, I went with the first, in part because of Marlon Brando. Coppola could easily have been on my top ten with three films, including Apocalypse Now, and with The Conversation as a runner up.

In the Mood for Love

2000 Hong Kong, France

I could have selected this for the dresses alone. But also for the lost love, emotions, music, the movements and the mise en scène.

Drive My Car

2021 Japan

Maybe a bit premature to select a film only a year after it premiered, but cinema does not get any better than this. A masterpiece about love, sorrow, art and communication.

Barry Lyndon

1975 USA, United Kingdom

So beautiful (the candles!), and funny, and true, and with the best voiceover ever. And crazy attention to details.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

2019 France

Hard to choose a favourite Sciamma film. But Portrait of a Lady on Fire gets better with each viewing, so rich in details and references, beautiful and painful to watch at the same time.

Brief Encounter

1945 United Kingdom

Hard to put into words how great this film is, it is pure perfection. The script, the music, the directing, the actors (Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard). Understatement is undervalued.

Spirited Away

2001 Japan

Although not my favourite Studio Ghibli film (Mononoke means more to me personally), this is not only as good as animation film gets, it is simply cinema at its best.


1958 USA

Ten years ago I had a hard time even choosing my favourite Hitchcock film, but several viewings later, Vertigo for sure.

Tokyo Story

1953 Japan

Universal. If great(est) means quality and value across time and place, this is it.

The Passion of Joan of Arc

1927 France

"The close-up is an intensifying agent because of its size alone… whatever its numerical value, this magnification acts on one's feelings more to transform than to confirm them, and personally, it makes me uneasy… The close-up modifies the drama by the impact of proximity. Pain is within reach. If I stretch out my arm I touch you, and that is intimacy. I can count the eyelashes of this suffering. I would be able to taste the tears. Never before has a face turned to mine in that way"

Jean Epstein, Magnification

Further remarks

Choosing only ten films is borderline traumatic. I have used the time since I got the invitation to revisit several films, and that brought a fair share of happiness.

I have selected films that I both love and consider to be great, but focusing on greatness meant that I had to leave out several personal favourites like Don't Look Now, Children of Men, Paddington 2, Phantom Thread and Parasite. Maybe next time.