Gonzalo Maza

Screenwriter Director / Former film critic

Voted for

Marnie1964Alfred Hitchcock
F for Fake1973Orson Welles
Only Angels Have Wings1939Howard Hawks
Ikiru1952Akira Kurosawa
GoodFellas1990Martin Scorsese
La ciénaga2001Lucrecia Martel
They Live1988John Carpenter
Opening Night1977John Cassavetes
Running on Empty1988Sidney Lumet



1964 USA

As Robin Wood famously said, "If you don’t like Marnie, you don’t really like Hitchcock. But if you don’t LOVE Marnie, you don’t really love cinema.” Many filmmakers made great films, but just a few create a language and a grammar with their works. This is the best case to illustrate this idea, made by the greatest filmmaker that ever lived.

F for Fake


The best film about cinema ever done.

Only Angels Have Wings

1939 USA

Hawks invented and reinvented the male ethos. Many times this has been read as apology for American individualism, but it goes far beyond that. Hawks believed in nobility beyond aristocracy, and resilience beyond martyrdoms. He created the most perfect, most accessible idea of a world without classes and, better, no gods.


1952 Japan

Films are made to remain alive beyond death. Films are made of spirits and ghosts. This film is about that transfiguration from “realism” to vigil.


1990 USA

Cinema is unbreakable – that’s what we've learned from low-budget and B films. With that in mind, GoodFellas added fuel to Shakespeare, and made art out of cocaine to recreate the excitement of being a criminal and a film spectator at the same time. Thirty years later, still a unique film.


1983 France

Still under the radar, it will take decades or even centuries for Ruiz to be recognized as the greatest film storyteller that ever lived. He reinvented film grammar, to say the least. This inclusion is a timid attempt to give myself the opportunity 50 years of feeling proud and saying “I told you so”.

La ciénaga

2001 Argentina, USA, Japan, France, Switzerland, Spain, Brazil

The male gaze dominated the first century of cinema. La Cienaga inaugurates the female gaze of the 21st century. It is a whole different way of filming and telling. A refreshing invitation to the future. Sadly, it is taking longer than expected to see the fruits of that new path.

They Live

1988 USA

Those dark glasses are the essence of the cinematic experience.

Opening Night

1977 USA

Douglas Sirk, Fassbinder, Almodóvar, Bertolucci, Pollack, Eastwood… Melodrama is at the heart of the best films ever made, but no one did it better than Cassavetes. Timeless.

Running on Empty

1988 USA

As everybody has known since Casablanca, films are really good at recreating the moment of goodbye. This is the best goodbye film ever.

Further remarks

This is my second invitation to this poll (hopefully not the last). I decided to change all of the films I put in my first list, except one. That helped me to sleep and showed me a way of addressing the canon in a list that is inclusive in the best way possible.