Barbara Creed

Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Melbourne

Voted for

Au hasard Balthazar1966Robert Bresson
Beau travail1998Claire Denis
Carol2014Todd Haynes
Cléo from 5 to 71962Agnès Varda
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles1975Chantal Akerman
Mulholland Dr.2001David Lynch
Persona1966Ingmar Bergman
The Piano1992Jane Campion
Under the Skin2013Jonathan Glazer
Vertigo1958Alfred Hitchcock


Au hasard Balthazar

1966 France, Sweden

Bresson’s minimalist masterpiece brings to life with unequalled power the story of an abused donkey whose depth of suffering illuminates the cruelty of the human world towards other species and the former’s unexamined belief in its own superiority.

Beau travail

1998 France

A ravishing and poetic meditation on masculinity and homoeroticism set against a background of violence, repression and the legacy of colonialism, Denis’s film cements her reputation as one of the great artists of the cinema.


2014 United Kingdom, USA

A tale of a forbidden lesbian love affair, set in the early 1950s, Todd Haynes’ Carol is unforgettable for its recreation of an historical period, and for the film’s mood of barely suppressed eroticism, painstakingly created through an intimate focus on small moments and the minutiae of daily life set against the harshness of the law and its perpetuation of ubiquitous conformist values.

Cléo from 5 to 7

1962 France, Italy

A stunning, playful meditation on time, beauty and death which enriched the French New Wave with Varda’s focus on the point of view of a woman who sees herself and woman’s place in French society as unfairly gendered.

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

1975 Belgium, France

A ground-breaking cinematic achievement in which Akerman creates a unique filmic language to explore the way in which the daily life of a single mother is regulated by space, time and routine, and the horror that erupts when her sense of order is fractured.

Mulholland Dr.

2001 France, USA

Lynch’s sublime film follows the logic of a dream-work, refusing to create meaning or explain the surreal chain of events yet at the same time drawing on its own mystery to entrance the viewer with its nightmarish logic.


1966 Sweden

Bergman’s uncanny psychological classic is without equal in its exploration of the idea of human identity as a construct, a performance that is always on the verge of threatening to unmask itself, to reveal what lies behind the mask, which in this case is the unknowable ‘soul’.

The Piano

1992 Australia, France

A breathtakingly beautiful and surreal exploration of sexual obsession, set in a colonial wilderness, in which Campion’s focus on the strange and unexpected brings to the fore socially taboo aspects of sexuality, such as voyeurism, fetishism and the eroticism of the naked male body, rarely displayed in mainstream cinema of the period.

Under the Skin

2013 United Kingdom, USA, Switzerland

One of the most unsettling, nightmarish films of all time, Under the Skin depicts woman as an alien amongst her own kind through the actual figure of an alien disguised as an earthly femme fatale, who in a series of horrific tableaux, including her own death, reveals that 'under the skin' – regardless of gender, race and even species – there is only flesh and bone.


1958 USA

One of Hitchcock’s most beautiful and visually stunning films, Vertigo explores the labyrinthine depths of male obsession and the power of illusion to set in train a narrative of murder, obsession and betrayal that is breathtaking in its complexity.

Further remarks

I was astonished to notice that among Sight & Sound's top 100 films, only two films by female directors have ever been nominated – nonetheless a very enjoyable experience.