Blair McClendon

Writer, Editor

Voted for

Pierrot le fou1965Jean-Luc Godard
UKIGUSA1959Yasujirō Ozu
QINGMEI ZHUMA1984Edward Yang
Scarface1932Howard Hawks
35 RHUMS2008Claire Denis
A Woman under the Influence1974John Cassavetes
Le JOLI MAI1962Chris Marker, Pierre Lhomme
Brief Encounter1945David Lean
West Indies: The Fugitive Slaves of Liberty1979Med Hondo
Welfare1975Frederick Wiseman


I came very close to not submitting a list for all the reasons that I'm sure will be remarked upon elsewhere: you make a list of the greatest films and suddenly one feels the world shrinking. I nearly included Murnau's Sunrise. Had I done so then the oldest film on my list would be from 95 years ago. 95 years after the Pietà is still several centuries before Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. Cinema isn't old enough to make these claims. So I'm not, really. All of my choices are some mix of taste, historical importance and sentimentality. It skews in obvious ways. But these lists are useful, not only for the critics and filmmakers who will submit and argue over them. They're useful for initiates of the kind I once was: I was a kid who did not reside in an art capital, was not trained in the appreciation of the arts, and had no concept of a cultural patrimony. I had curiosity, canons and time. I watched; I loathed; I loved. In five centuries, if we are lucky, these will all be curiosities and there will be new lists and new kids arguing in their heads against our arrogance.