Firat Yucel

Film critic/editor/filmmaker

Voted for

Twenty Years Later1984Eduardo Coutinho
Soleil Ô1970Med Hondo
W.R. - Mysteries of the Organism1971Dusan Makavejev
La COMMUNE2000Peter Watkins
Germany in Autumn1978Alf Brustellin, Bernhard Sinkel, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Alexander Kluge, Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus, Maximiliane Mainka, Peter Schubert, Edgar Reitz, Katja Rupé, Hans Peter Cloos, Volker Schlöndorff
Tout va bien1972Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin
Daisies1966Věra Chytilová
Yıkılmışı Tedarik 2006Oktay Ince
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn2021Radu Jude


Twenty Years Later

1984 Brazil

Like many people, I presume, I cannot think of any film as "the greatest". Yet Coutinho's documentary offers everything I would expect from a film based on political/aesthetic imagination: it's both a homage to cinema and an act of counter-cinema. It's fiction and non-fiction at the same time. It's about everything that cinema is and everything that cinema cannot be. It's about representing a peasant struggle against the landlords and it's about the impossibility of representing such a struggle; the impossibility of representing time. It's about how the idea of revolution overrules the idea of representation and how it will continue to overrule. In this sense, it's definitely pure anti-cinema. It's about a murder mystery, about a coup d'état, about how people die and about how people survive the military oppression. It's about producing, collectivising, losing, finding, distributing, screening and watching a film in the age of nation-state capitalism, all at once. The moment the filmmakers find Malaparte's Kaputt left in a house, read by people, and the moment the people gaze at their own image taken 20 years ago won't leave my mind ever. That's why.

Soleil Ô

1970 France

Watching Hondo’s film today reminds us that anti-migration sentiments and racism are inherent properties of western consciousness. This is Nouvelle Vague cinema that might even be more 'nouvelle', more micro/macro political and more experimental than its western variants. Med Hondo shows how to form a first-person narrative without being individualistic, without psychologising; speaking about both the exiled self and the western society and their inevitable entanglement.

W.R. - Mysteries of the Organism

1971 Yugoslavia, Federal Republic of Germany

A biopic about life, sex, earth, universe, aliens, Hitler and Stalin. About the world revolution and Wilhelm Reich. It’s a counter-cinema piece which will continue to inspire everyone who creates meaning and subverts meaning through montage.


2000 France

Can a film be both about 1871 and 2000? Both about the event itself and about the people, the actors who represent the event? Watkins’ media critique is such a film-event, a resonating “Vive la Commune!”.

Germany in Autumn

1978 Federal Republic of Germany

No collective film has ever achieved such a polyphony, such a political and aesthetic spectrum which entangles media manipulation, ethical collapse of the auteur, Sacco and Vanzetti, RAF and Antigone, etc. An episodic 'masters’ piece' about the zeitgeist that we are still living through.

Tout va bien

1972 France, Italy

Remembering what happened three or four years ago in a country pretending “Everything is all right.” A confrontation with the loss of May '68, this film is literally about space and time: it’s actually about a boss who cannot find where the shared toilet is in 'his' factory. A true autonomist critique of union organisations. It’s also one of the few films in which Godard, Gorin and their collective raise incisive and sound questions about gender relations and patriarchal capitalism.


1966 Czechoslovakia

Scissors become tools of feminist intervention that literally cut the film itself, in this great collage-film. As such, Chytilová’s film is more than just a witty example of Czech New Wave. It also works as a subversive homage to all the women editors of early cinema, with their told and untold stories.


1977 Italy, Canada

Depiction of a single day becomes the depiction of everyday fascism. A non-romance told in a romantic form. A narrative cinema that goes beyond the official narratives. Queer, anti-fascist, anti-populist and utterly micro-nuanced.

Yıkılmışı Tedarik 

2006 Turkey

A documentary about 'sanity' and 'madness', but also about the ethical-political question of filming a person and his world. A sketch of a portrait or an investigation of the act of representation, which reveals that all kinds of moving image representations resemble ‘death’. Such a film could only be made possible with a strong critical view of cinema and filmmaking itself, which only people like Oktay İnce possess, who reject the constraints of theatrical/festival distribution, who work constantly between video-activism, documentary-making, grassroots political propaganda and the avant-garde. Note: I'm referring to the 65-minute cut of the film.

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn

2021 Romania, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Croatia, Switzerland, United Kingdom

It may not be Jude’s most intense film but it definitely has a special place: For me no other film could tell about the ties between neoliberalism and neofascism better than this sarcastic piece of montage cinema. Long live deconstructive dictionaries and episodes.

Further remarks

Instead of searching for what I love the most or the greatest films of history (which anyway can change each and every day for me and all the people who I learn from, as we try to look at the past through the lens of decolonisation, anti-capitalist, feminist and queer politics), I tried to make a list that would resonate with Peter Wollen’s idea of counter-cinema. Although there’s one ‘narrative cinema’ example in the list – Ettore Scola’s Una giornata particolare – I believe I will be forgiven for the deadly sin of submitting to the conventions of dominant cinema, since that day in the midst of fascism was and continues to be a really special day. I’m not ashamed to make a list that doesn’t include any films from my previous Sight and Sound top ten, but I’m almost ashamed of not being able to include the following films (some of which were not in my previous list either). In no particular order: Les Favoris de la lune (Otar Iosseliani), Strike! (Sergei Eisenstein), Le Joli mai (Chris Marker, Pierre Lhomme), Où gît votre sourire enfoui? (Pedro Costa), The Fall of the Romanov Dynasty (Esfir Shub), Enthusiasm (Dziga Vertov), Mulholland Dr. (David Lynch), Handsworth Songs (John Akomfrah/Black Audio Film Collective), Diary of a Chambermaid (Luis Buñuel), Safari (Ulrich Seidl), Zama (Lucrecia Martel), Salvatore Giuliano (Francesco Rosi), Persona (Ingmar Bergman), Hiroshima mon amour (Alain Resnais), Ulysse (Agnès Varda), Life of Brian (Terry Jones/Monty Python), Born in Flames (Lizzie Borden), Portrait of Jason (Shirley Clarke), In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray), The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme), Opening Night (John Cassavetes), Shi (Lee Chang-dong)… and many more.