Aswathy Gopalakrishnan

Film Critic

Voted for

Suna no onna1964Hiroshi Teshigahara
Man with a Movie Camera1929Dziga Vertov
Rashomon1950Akira Kurosawa
Daisies1966Věra Chytilová
Beau travail1998Claire Denis
Apur Sansar1958Satyajit Ray
A Man Escaped1956Robert Bresson
Fear Eats the Soul1974Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Princess Mononoke1997Hayao Miyazaki
Close-up1989Abbas Kiarostami


Suna no onna

1964 Japan

Woman in the Dunes does something only achievable in cinema. It brings to life an outlandish physical space to narrate a story that is so essential and terrifying about human existence that it shakes the viewer to their bones. As the narrative proceeds, the sand that encompasses the characters slowly assumes an identity of its own and becomes the most prominent character in the film.

Apur Sansar

1958 India

A glorious epilogue to one of the world's greatest trilogies. Apur Sansar is the most poignant of the three films, a fascinatingly uncomplicated look at human life and emotions.

Princess Mononoke

1997 Japan

Spellbindingly beautiful, this complex anime, an absolute masterpiece, is centred on an angry female warrior. This seminal film is fantastic and real at once, a pathbreaking work in the field of animation.

Further remarks

To fit the greatest films of all time into a list of ten is impossible. I had to leave out several favourites - Throne of Blood, Passion of Joan of Arc, City of Sadness, The River, Persona, Diamonds of the World and Subarnarekha, to name a few. The list contains my personal favourites and films that I believe played a key role in the history of cinema. I had to rewatch several films, including the inarguably canonised works. Beau Travail, I realised, has grown in beauty over the years; its juxtaposition of the dreamy images of the coast and masculinity trapped in military still holds a great sense of modernness. The uncomplicated humanism of Apur Sansar now appears more powerful than the achievements of Pather Panchali. The profound anger of Princess Mononoke, Studio Ghibli's most audacious work, seems more relevant now than ever. Close-Up and Man With A Movie Camera are two brilliant, audacious works that reflect on the process and effects of moviemaking, the relationship between the filmmaker and the city, and the film and the spectator. I don't see a common element running through the movies on this list. But they are all seminal works that continue to inform the world of the immense potential and beauty of cinema.