Ben Luxford

Head of UK Wide Audiences

Voted for

Out of Sight1998Steven Soderbergh
A Matter of Life and Death1946Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Army of Shadows1969Jean-Pierre Melville
Boyz N the Hood1991John Singleton
Petite maman2021Céline Sciamma
De rouille et d'os2012Jacques Audiard
Rocco E I Suoi Fratelli1960Luchino Visconti
Under the Skin2013Jonathan Glazer
La Haine1995Mathieu Kassovitz
Pan's Labyrinth2006Guillermo del Toro


Out of Sight

1998 USA

This was the 100 per cent absolute for the list when I was invited to participate. This film is pure cinematic entertainment, with Steven Soderbergh reminding an industry that he can make the big films if he wants to, the first proper announcement of two major big screen stars in George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez, a host of scene stealing supporting roles for major talents like Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Catherine Keener, Steve Zahn, Dennis Farina, Luis Guzmán, Viola Davis and Michael Keaton revising his Jackie Brown character Ray Nicolette in an Elmore Leonard multiverse moment. I should acknowledge that this film would never exist without Quentin Tarantino, whose influence looms large. Anne V. Coates's editing is famously a character in its own right. I also didn't realise the significance of Wendell B. Harris Jr's role until recently having seen his overlooked and 'forgotten' Chameleon Street.

A Matter of Life and Death

1946 United Kingdom

A beautiful, grand and sublime film that lifted me beyond an audience member to an active participant when I first saw it.

Army of Shadows

1969 France, Italy

I could've happily entered any Melville film, but I went with this one. Jean-Pierre Melville's lived experience of the French resistance brings what I can only imagine is authenticity to the meticulous planning, plotting and execution depicted of the resistance. A long, deeply serious, sad film about sacrifice and belief.

Boyz N the Hood

1991 USA

To think John Singleton was just 24 when he made this film is just astonishing. The mark it made on culture is indelible and it's as powerful as ever, mainly because nothing has changed.

Petite maman

2021 France

Some films are just all they need to be. Petite Maman at just 72 mins ensures not a moment is wasted, but somehow manages to pack in the universe. Everything that needs to be said is said, nothing more.

De rouille et d'os

2012 France, Belgium, Italy, United Kingdom

Again, I could have put in several Audiard films. Being completely truthful, this is my Audiard film. A reimagining of a series of short stories by Canadian Craig Davidson as an epic French melodrama. Extraordinary in scale, as brutal as it's tender and sometimes completely over the top, as all good melodramas are. A friend of mine saw it in the cinema five times on release, and i remain obscenely jealous of that.

Rocco E I Suoi Fratelli

1960 Italy

This is the film that reminds me to watch more films. There's that age-old supposition that when you see a *film* as opposed to a movie, something about you has changed for good. I think that happened to me with this one.

Under the Skin

2013 United Kingdom, USA, Switzerland

When we frequently throw around words like bold and visionary, Under the Skin is really what we're talking about. What exactly would an alien experience if they turned up in Glasgow? Beans on toast, poor bus services, kindness and cruelty are some of the answers. Just as the lights were about to go down when I watched this at the Ritzy in Brixton, an older patron in front of me turned to her partner and said WWhat is this one about again?" and I remember thinking – you're not ready.

La Haine

1995 France

I saw this on BBC2's Moviedrome in the mid to late 90s and I'll forever be grateful for that. The film's standing has been a constant and it's amazing to still see its resonance and importance with youth culture. I know at least three people with tattoos that say "Jusqu'ici, tout va bien".

Pan's Labyrinth

2006 Spain, Mexico, USA

I'm in awe of Guillermo del Toro. Pan's Labyrinth is a bona fide classic. A personal film, full of such magic and creativity, that found an audience is something to celebrate. I first saw the film on 35mm, then a few months later created what was then one of the earliest DCPs, and that unlocked a whole other layer of director's intent – the detail you could see felt like a bit like showing off, but everything needed to be there on screen. It's a special film made with absolute love.

Further remarks

This has been a privilege and a challenge and I'm incredibly grateful to have been invited to participate. I'm sorry for all the films that didn't make it.