Ariel Schweitzer

Film critic - Les cahiers du cinéma

Voted for

Greed1923Erich von Stroheim
La Règle du jeu1939Jean Renoir
GERMANIA, ANNO ZERO1948Roberto Rossellini
Vivre sa vie1962Jean-Luc Godard
2001: A Space Odyssey1968Stanley Kubrick
La Maman et la Putain1973Jean Eustache
Mirror1975Andrei Tarkovsky
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles1975Chantal Akerman
Shoah1985Claude Lanzmann
Close-up1989Abbas Kiarostami


It might seem strange that there are only two northern American films in my list, but I stand by this choice. Indeed, I feel much more attached to the heritage of European cinema, to the tradition of the so-called 'Art Cinema' (clumsy title, I agree), than to the American cinema. Basically, my list is a tribute to the masters of European cinema (Renoir, Rossellini, Tarkovsky) and to the great representatives of European modernity which, in my opinion, reached its highest with the New Wave and the Post New Wave (Godard, Eustache, Akerman).

Maybe it’s not by chance that one of my northern American films (Greed) was made by a European director and illustrates the enormous influence of European directors on Hollywood cinema during its golden age. As for Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, it seems as visionary today as it was in 1968 and, in a way, even more relevant nowadays by its way of dealing with the issue of artificial intelligence, its potential and its dangers.

The only 'non-western' film I chose, Close-up by Abbas Kiarostami, is highly important for me not only because of its ethical reflection on cinema itself, but also because it symbolises a turning point in cinema history – that crucial moment when the creative energy in worldwide cinema shifted from western hegemonic nations to what were seen, until then, as peripheral ones (the revelation of Iranian cinema, followed by the discovery of many Asian and Latin-American extraordinary new talents, around the years 1990-2000).

Finally, as I’m very interested in the relationship between cinema and history – mostly in connection with the most traumatic event of the 20th century, the Second World War – I choose two films which deal with this period and defy Adorno’s statement: “To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric” (Germany, Year Zero; Shoah ).