Felicity Chaplin

Academic, Monash University; Film critic, Australian Book Review

Voted for

2 Days in Paris2007Julie Delpy
The Virgin Suicides1999Sofia Coppola
Faces Places2017Agnès Varda, JR
Petite maman2021Céline Sciamma
Melancholia2011Lars von Trier
The Shining1980Stanley Kubrick
Une FEMME EST UNE FEMME1961Jean-Luc Godard
Pokot2017Agnieszka Holland
Picnic at Hanging Rock1975Peter Weir
Meet Me in St. Louis1944Vincente Minnelli


2 Days in Paris


The product of an intensely personal vision (Delpy is director/writer/editor/composer/star), this is a smart, perceptive, funny and at times sad (un)romantic comedy, full of feeling for the pathos of life and love. The perfect example of Delpy’s instinct for the comic in the most banal situations.

The Virgin Suicides

1999 USA

Audacious feature film debut which employs an unashamedly feminine aesthetic to capture the mystery, liminality and transience of female adolescence in 1970s suburban America. Dreamy cinematography, and hypnotic score by Air.

Faces Places

2017 France, USA, Switzerland

Difficult to choose one film from a great filmmaker like Varda with such a vast and eclectic oeuvre. But she deserves a place on the list. This film has a lot of heart. A lovingly made and beautifully shot meditation on art, community and the ephemeral.

Petite maman

2021 France

A deceptively simple fable. A time-travel film with no special effects or devices. Inventive and powerful with sublime and deeply moving sequences. Depicts the fragility and beauty of a mother/daughter relationship with captivating charm.


2011 Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany, Italy

Arthouse disaster movie which intellectualises the ‘pleasure in annihilation’ without the deus ex machina of the Hollywood ending. Judicious use of digital technology, sublime imagery, blend of bleakness and comedy, unsettling atmosphere and inspired casting with emotionally bold performances from Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kirsten Dunst.

The Shining

1980 USA, United Kingdom

The ultimate ghost story/horror movie for confirmed ghost story and horror movie addicts. Kubrick dropped the novel’s explanation in favour of one of the most sinister and unsettling final shots in cinema. Nicholson pulls out all the stops on unhinged and Duvall’s underrated performance is our way into the unfolding horror.


1961 France, Italy

Godard’s genre-busting musical take on neorealism is a compelling sociological portrait of modern womanhood shot in Eastmancolor and widescreen. Anna Karina sparkles as the tragicomic heroine caught between the reality of life in working-class Paris and her wish to live in a Hollywood musical.



Holland described Pokot as "an anarchistic, feminist, ecological crime story with elements of black comedy and magic realism". It challenges inherited patriarchal traditions which govern society’s relationship to women, animals and the earth. Bleak but with a ray of hope.

Picnic at Hanging Rock

1975 Australia

A mystery that conveys the mysterious power of cinema. A mood that literally builds to a scream before quietly tarrying in the schism between known and unknown. Revolutionary use of cinematography and sound.

Meet Me in St. Louis

1944 USA

Minnelli’s wholesome family drama with dark undertones. Cosy and terrifying, like childhood itself. Margaret O’Brien is electric as the mischievous Tootie. Garland provides the film’s mood swings, from the pulsating, euphoric excitement of 'The Trolley Song' to the wistful melancholy of 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas'.

Further remarks

It is with both regret and humility that I propose this list. Regret that so many films I consider great cannot be included. Humility because it is a deeply personal, subjective and volatile list made from the cinemas I know best. For me, a 'great' film is one that makes a lasting impression.