Babak Anvari


Voted for

Close Encounters of the Third Kind1977Steven Spielberg
Batman Returns1992Tim Burton
Jurassic Park1992Steven Spielberg
Stalker1979Andrei Tarkovsky
2001: A Space Odyssey1968Stanley Kubrick
Mulholland Dr.2001David Lynch
Beetle Juice1988Tim Burton
The Dark Knight2008Christopher Nolan
Heat1995Michael Mann
Se7en1995David Fincher


Close Encounters of the Third Kind

1977 USA

One of the films that inspired me to become a filmmaker. After watching it I was dreaming of getting abducted by aliens. The imagery, the imagination yet the sense of realism – that this "could" happen – truly showed me the power of cinema. The image of the little boy, standing in the doorway looking at the red sky, always gets me excited, even to this day – it was like how I felt when watching the movie, it was beckoning me to step into this fascinating uncharted world of imagination.

Batman Returns

1992 USA

Another film that truly inspired me to become a filmmaker as a child. I was obsessed with this movie – I really don't know how many times I watched it. It's so fairytale-like yet it's an action, superhero film. Burton made Gotham feel truly Gothic! And the three villains in the film are all extraordinary – so complicated and fascinating. Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman was probably my first-ever screen crush.

Jurassic Park

1992 USA

What a groundbreaking movie! I think it was the most anticipated film of my childhood. The VFX in the film still look better than some of the VFX we see today. It really captured my imagination. I think it captured the imagination of an entire generation – people from around the world became obsessed with it. Even children today still get excited by watching it. What a remarkable film.


1979 USSR

Wow, I can't describe how I feel about this film. It's so magical, so mystical, so fascinating. I feel like I have a religious experience when I watch it. I've seen it so many times (I even play certain scenes from it every now and then) and I still try to fully understand its mystery. It affects me on a deep level. And I love it so much visually, with its beautiful cinematography.

2001: A Space Odyssey

1968 USA, United Kingdom

Another transcendental film. I love how mysterious it is and how people are still trying to fully understand its message. It's a puzzle box which gets better with every viewing. It fascinates and frightens me. It's truly awesome.

Mulholland Dr.

2001 France, USA

It’s so dreamlike, so strange and mysterious, yet so compelling. And it still has one of the best jump scares ever!

Beetle Juice

1988 USA

Another Tim Burton film. The first time I watched it I thought 'How could anyone come up with this? It's so original and insanely cool.' So imaginative. It taught me that I should always try my best to think outside of the box when it comes to storytelling, even if dealing with a familiar concept such as a 'haunted house'.

The Dark Knight

2008 USA, United Kingdom

One of the best superhero films ever made. It's almost the opposite of Tim Burton's version of Batman, with its groundedness. But Nolan really captures the noir, detective side of Batman in this film. I had to convince my father to watch it with me (he was skeptical because he's not at all into superhero films and finds them childish), but he was hooked. He said it was more like a detective story rather than a superhero film and I thought 'Well, Nolan managed to make my dad enjoy a superhero film, so hats off to him.' Ledger's Joker is excellent, so scary and unpredictable, a modern take on Fritz Lang's Doctor Mabuse.


1995 USA

What an excellently made film. I still study it for its brilliant direction and execution and I love it so much visually. And who doesn't love the diner scene?


1995 USA

Another film I revisit every few years and it still feels fresh. So gruesome and disturbing yet captivating. So well made and Khondji's cinematography is bang on.