Gerard Casau

Freelance critic and programmer - Ara, So Film, Dirigido por / Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival

Voted for

Stromboli, terra di Dio1950Roberto Rossellini
Ordet1955Carl Th. Dreyer
The Innocents1961Jack Clayton
La notte1961Michelangelo Antonioni
La Maman et la Putain1973Jean Eustache
Profondo rosso1975Dario Argento
Arrebato1979Iván Zulueta
My Neighbour Totoro1988Hayao Miyazaki
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me1992David Lynch
The Intruder2004Claire Denis


Blame it on Olivier Assayas. I had a perfectly fine list of ten beloved masterpieces ready to go, but as I was watching the final episodes of the exhilarating Irma Vep remake I realised my selection didn’t make sense. There was no internal dialogue, no secret link between those films. To put it in the words of the character played by Vincent Macaigne in the series, you could not find ghosts in that list.

Assayas forced me to rethink the place from where I watch and experience cinema (it’s not the first time he’s done that) and to come to terms with who I am as a spectator. Then, the pieces started to fall into place (or to fall apart), opening the door to the esoteric gaze.

I never looked for answers in cinema. What I really want from the screen are intuitions, shadows and ellipsis. So, for this list, I ended up proposing a journey across ten movies made of revelations left unexplained, epiphanies that linger on the images until they transform into mysteries, inviting us into the unknown – be it benign as in Miyazaki or harrowing as in Lynch.

The list is flawed (no movies before the 50s? No comedy?) and I’m not even sure these are the films I love the most (can you really love a movie like The Intruder?). But these are my ghosts, these are the movies that haunt me. The ones whose images and sounds keep me awake at night. And I suspect that I share this curse with most of the people that have seen them – I can’t imagine watching Ordet or La Maman et la Putain and not being shaken to the core, thinking “So this is what moving images can do.”

One last note: being under the influence of Irma Vep, it may seem a little strange to skip Feuillade’s Les Vampires and Assayas’ own 1996 film (or Vertigo and Persona, since we are talking about great cinematic spectres), but that would have been a little too much on the nose, wouldn’t it?