Briony Hanson

Director of Film

Voted for

Kes1969Ken Loach
Gilda1946Charles Vidor
In the Mood for Love2000Wong Kar Wai
Far from Heaven2002Todd Haynes
Portrait of a Lady on Fire2019Céline Sciamma
Call Me by Your Name2017Luca Guadagnino
American Honey2016Andrea Arnold
GoodFellas1990Martin Scorsese
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles1975Chantal Akerman
Get Out2017Jordan Peele



1969 United Kingdom

Just a scally lad and a kestrel, Kes gave British film the reputation for covering council-house poverty, though never again as convincingly as this. Probably the first film to show me that real jeopardy doesn’t just come from a high-octane car-crash situation.


1946 USA

Put the blame on… Rita Hayworth for turning my head at a time I was looking for queer subtext every time I went to the movies. This one, chanced upon accidentally on a late-night TV screen, introduced teen me to noir, to the enticing underworld of an imagined Argentina, and to the question "Are you decent?"

In the Mood for Love

2000 Hong Kong, France

Loss, longing, lust and the very definition of lush all wrapped up in flowery frocks on rainy streets.

Far from Heaven

2002 USA, France

If I can only pick one Todd Haynes (and that's a tall order) it has to be this one, a decision probably swung by the Haynes / Julianne Moore / Patricia Clarkson triple threat. Also a way of shoehorning Douglas Sirk into my list with this glorious All That Heaven Allows homage. All that and a collection of women dressed as autumn leaves by the unbeatable costume designer Sandy Powell.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

2019 France

Tingling, ecstatic, and quite thrilling forbidden love – carried by two dynamite lead performances and safe in the grip of powerhouse Sciamma. Also a testament to when to use music (rarely) and the power it can have (enormous). She’s got form after Girlhood’s irresistible lip-sync to Rhi Rhi's Diamonds, but this time couldn’t be more different, with an a cappella female choir handclapping – and it's no less compelling.

Call Me by Your Name

2017 Italy, France, USA, Brazil

An aspirational summer holiday destination that Eric Rohmer would have been proud of, combined with a pair of such pretty boys falling in love, and the father we wish we’d all had. Oh – and it prompted my friend to go to Halloween as the-peach-from-Call-Me-By-Your-Name.

American Honey

2016 United Kingdom

Arnold’s appetite for non-pro casting wins again and her first foray out of housing estate Britain turned out to be a brilliant source of inspiration. Wide US vistas and a collection of banging tunes – YUP!


1990 USA

If only for the exhilaration of THAT tracking shot from the back door through the kitchens and on to the club floor, plus the sadly missed Ray Liotta’s dangerously appealing wise guy – but as is often the way, it’s the ladies who steal it, this time the ballsy Lorraine Bracco, never bettered.

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

1975 Belgium, France

Discovered as a young film student, this was probably the first time I spotted that elusive feminist aesthetic – and the first time a (relatively) experimental film grabbed me by the scruff of my neck with its real-time minutiae. All this and how to make a meatloaf too.

Get Out

2017 USA, Japan

Talk about event movie – watching this was the first time I’ve seen an entire audience get to its feet mid film to shriek at the screen (in South London’s unbeatable Peckhamplex, of course). In a world increasingly full of people watching at home on a massive telly, films like this are the definition of why we should keep going back to the actual cinema.

Further remarks

Well, ten isn’t enough is it? It’s not even close. It’s also confusing to compare with my list from a decade ago; of course, taking the chance to add some films that didn’t exist the last time around would be a given – but I wasn’t expecting that I’d want to chop and change with the original list at all. Perhaps it’s an age thing.