Gary Meyer

Editor, EatDrinkFilms; film programmer

Voted for

Andrei Rublev1966Andrei Tarkovsky
The Ascent1976Larissa Shepitko
THE CLOCK 2010Christian Marclay
Honeyland2019Ljubomir Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska
Mad Max: Fury Road2015George Miller
Moonlight2016Barry Jenkins
Napoléon1927Abel Gance
Phantom Thread2017Paul Thomas Anderson
The Wind1928Victor Sjöström


Andrei Rublev

1966 USSR

I was a teenager and had loved MY NAME IS IVAN so I went to see this at the San Francisco International Film Festival (where it was screened uncut) and it was an experience unlike anything else. I am not an automatic Tarkovsky lover though my opinions keep changing. After reading Geof Dyer on STALKER I flipped on it and became a fan.

The Ascent

1976 USSR

This was a Telluride discovery and it has as much power now as then. A war film th avoids what you expect in a movie about combat.



Some might say this is a gimmick but who cares when it offers so much to see and to think about. Relatively few have seen the whole 24 hours, surely not at one sitting. It builds mini dramas that sneak up on the viewer as it intercuts scenes from hundreds of movies with each shot having a reference to time, perfectly in sync with real time. It rarely shows but if a museum offers it, plan multiple visits to see it. I think 2-3 hours per visit in best to avoid being overwhelmed and absorbing it all.


2019 North Macedonia, Switzerland, USA

I can't get it out of my mind. I like movies that take me into worlds I never knew existed and the people whose lives are unlike ours. Our world would seem strange to them and they are right. Don't read about it---just see it.


1989 Federal Republic of Germany, France

Ottinger always surprises me with her movies. I recently was able to revisit several of her works on the big screen at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive and while others might have qualified on a longer list, JOAN made the cut.

Mad Max: Fury Road

2015 USA, Australia

Not merely a sequel of an already impressive series, Miller re-invented speculative fiction, action and feminist heroes.


2016 USA

The recent film I have revisited more than any other, each time discovering new moments of beauty and humanity.


1927 France

I have seen NAPOLEON four times--at the Avenue in San Francisco (1973) with Robert Vaughn's accompaniment; Telluride (1979) with 90-year-old Gance making his first visit to America and watching the outdoor triptych screening from his hotel room until 3am, the pianist's hands freezing as the temperature dropped to zero; Carmine Coppola conducting the San Francisco Symphony playing his score (1980) and the penultimate showing presented by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival at Oakland's Art Deco movie palace, the Paramount (2012) with Carl Davis conducting the Oakland East Bay Symphony playing Davis' new score to the longest version yet, 5 1/2 hours. With intermissions and a dinner break, the thousands who attended four sold out shows were in awe. Each time it gets richer but will the new Cinematheque Francaise version be even better?

Phantom Thread

2017 USA

Anderson's films can intrigue, confuse, entertain and alienate me. After going to an advance screening of THE MASTER with a major international critic who had loved his work, we both wondered if he could ever recover from such a mess. So it was a revelation when PHANTOM THREAD seemed near to perfect in so many ways.

The Wind

1928 USA

Sjöström was a great filmmaker bringing his masterly ability to mix drama, spectacle, and romance in a piece of cinema featuring a stunning performance by Lillian Gish.

Further remarks

All listed alphabetically.

I stand by my selections in the last poll I still love them but decided to go with an all new list. My first attempt had well over 200 films. I decided to eliminate the many great filmmakers whose work could take 5 or more spaces on a list (see below). Too many wonderful documentaries and short subjects so best to drop them from the "top ten" and save them for another poll but I can't resist offering this mixture of runner ups with a few docs and shorts. Those lists will be even harder to assemble.

13th (2016) Ava Duvernay

A MOVIE (1958) Bruce Conner

AMERICAN FACTORY (2019) Steven Bognar & Julie Reichert,

THE BED (1968) James Broughton

BIG DEAL ON MADONNA STREET (1958) Mario Monicelli

BURDEN OF DREAMS (1982) Les Blank

THE CONNECTION (1961) Shirley Clarke

DON’T LOOK BACK (1967) D.A. Pennebaker

FACES, PLACES (2017) Agnes Varda, J.R. (Agnes is on my list below but this sums her up so wonderfully and her co-director is not on my list)

FRUITVALE STATION (2013) Ryan Coogler)

GET OUT (2017) Jordan Peele

GOMORRAH ( 2008) Matteo Garrone

I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO (2016) Raoul Peck

MACARIO (1960) Roberto Gavaldón

NIGHTMARE ALLEY (1947) Edmund Goulding

THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955) (Charles Laughton)

OM SHANTI OM (2007) Farah Khan

PAS DE DEUX (1968) Norman McLaren (and many others)

SEVENTH HEAVEN (1927) Frank Bozage -as seen at Bologna with Timothy Brock's score

THE STORY OF TEMPLE DRAKE (1933) Stephen Roberts)

SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (1957) Alexander McKendrick

TREE OF WOODEN CLOGS, THE (1978) Ermanno Olmi

THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD (2018) Peter Jackson – in 3D)

TONGUES UNTIED (1989) Marlon Riggs


YEELEN (1987) Souleymane Cissé

ZERO FOR CONDUCT (1933) Jean Vigo

I have many favorite docs about the movies with a large list. But a single out a few worth anyone who cares about cinema to seek.

MY VOYAGE TO ITALY (1999) and A PERSONAL JOURNEY THROUGH AMERICAN CINEMA (1995) are so personal it you want director Martin Scorsese to just move in with you and talk. For a bit more A LETTER TO ELIA (2010) made with Kent Jones whose HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT (2015) is essential.

MY JOURNEY THROUGH FRENCH CINEMA (2016) is the tip of the iceberg if someone will translate director Bertrand Tavernier's cinema books into English.

UNKNOWN CHAPLIN is one of Kevin Brownlow's essential works. I could just as easily replaced it with any number of Brownlow’s brilliant surveys on the history of cinema but this one still offers surprises and pleases on subsequent viewings as does CINEMA EUROPE: THE OTHER HOLLYWOOD which is considered a TV series whereas when I saw UNKNOWN CHAPLIN it was in a single sitting.

No doubt each day after submitting this I will think of others.

These are filmmakers, each of whose work could nearly or totally fill a top ten list, and for purposes of this list I decided their works cancelled themselves out: (in no special order) Buster Keaton, Charles Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Erich von Stroheim, Ernst Lubitsch, Jean Renoir, Orson Welles, Bertrand Tavernier, Satyajit Ray, John Ford, Fritz Lang, Werner Herzog, Nicholas Ray, Howard Hawks, Francis Ford Coppola, Preston Sturges, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, William Wellman, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Martin Scorsese, Elia Kazan, Federico Fellini, Vittorio de Sica, François Truffaut, Victor Fleming, Jean Luc-Godard, Jan Troell. Ingmar Bergman, John Huston, Milos Forman, Sergei Eisenstein, Norman McLaren, Chris Marker, David Lean, Sidney Lumet, Akira Kurosawa, Yasujirô Ozu, Louis Malle, F.W. Murnau, Agnes Varda, William Wyler, Ang Lee, Hayao Miyazaki, Robert Altman, Spike Lee, Jonathan Demme, John Cassavetes, George Méliès, Vincente Minnelli, Luchino Visconti, George Cukor, Gus Van Sant, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón, F.W. Murnau, Robert Wise, Don Siegel, Luis Buñuel, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Andrei Wajda, Joseph Losey, Mike Nichols, Pedro Almodóvar, Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, John Woo, Carol Reed, George Stevens, Éric Rohmer, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Wong Kar-wai, Robert Bresson, James Whale, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Stephen Frears, Hal Ashby, Youssef Chahine,Roberto Rossellini, Jacques Tati, Mrinal Sen, René Clair, Julien Duvivier, Marcel Carné, Marcel Pagnol, Jacques Tourneur, Sang-ok Shin,Jean Cocteau, Henri-Georges Clouzot, John Sayles, Max Ophuls, Jacques Demy, Alain Resnais, Jean-Pierre Melville, Claude Chabrol, Dardenne Brothers, Kenji Mizoguchi, Shôhei Imamura, Kon Ichikawa, Hiroshi Teshigahara, Hirokazu Koreeda, Masaki Kobayashi, Mikio Naruse, Masahiro Shinoda, Zhang Yimou, Zhangke Jia, Abbas Kiarostami, Ousmane Sembene, Stanley Kubrick, Richard Linklater, Don Siegel, John Frankenheimer, Paul Schrader, Agnieszka Holland, King Vidor, Stanley Donen, Michael Curtiz, Josef von Sternberg, Henri-Georges Clouzot, Ida Lupino, Jane Campion, Lee Chang-Dong.