Christopher Small

Editor, Outskirts Film Magazine
UK/Czech Republic

Voted for

Belfast, Maine1999Frederick Wiseman
Christine1987Alan Clarke
In Vanda's Room2000Pedro Costa
Late Spring1949Yasujirō Ozu
D'EST1993Chantal Akerman
OKRAINA1933Boris Barnet
Ruggles of Red Gap1935Leo McCarey
SANGANDAAN1984Mike de Leon
True Heart Susie1919D.W. Griffith
Ordet1955Carl Th. Dreyer


There it is: McCarey's, Wiseman's and Griffith's Americas; Ozu's Japan; Dreyer's Denmark; Barnet's Soviet outskirts and Costa's Lisbon peripheries. And Akerman's Eastern Europe – a horizontal, outsider east, much like the 'east'[ that has become so important for my own life. These 10 films are something like the territories and outer margins of my cinephilia. So many closed, constructed worlds, in a way; I suppose the long tracking shots of Clarke's Christine, with their soundtrack of footsteps, distant chatter from far-off neighbours and pedestrians, and later, when the kids are inside shooting up heroin, only the theme of a children's TV show blaring just off-screen, are the opposite of the expansive, expressive melodrama of something like Sister Stella L, in which Vilma Santos's personal and political transformation seems to embody and encompass the whole Filipino social revolution of the 1980s. Plus it looks like my personal history of the cinema, at least in this iteration, stretches from 1919 to 2000, leaving out so many deeply formative films from the first and the most recent 20 or so years of movies, and also only covers feature films. Both are startling omissions; both make me want to revise the list anew.