Professor of Film Studies at the Film and Media department at Hunter College (City University of New York)
|Twenty Years Later
|Killer of Sheep
|SAN XIA HAO REN
|La Règle du jeu
|Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
|Au hasard Balthazar
|Fear Eats the Soul
|Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Twenty Years Later
A marker of social and self-reflexive cinema, Twenty Years Later registers Brazilian history from the coup d'etat to the transition into democracy. It also highlights the shifts in Brazilian social cinema – from denunciation to personal testimony. Cinema and its history become imbricated with the rural and political fights of the 60s and their consequences for the family of the peasant league leader.
The complicity between filmmaker and his subject Hossain Sabjian is defined through the purely filmic title and strategy connoting the trial of truth that cinema can be.
Killer of Sheep
Quite simply one of the most poignant and poetic films of all times.
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
Redefining cinematic duration, Akerman masterfully structures and designs her protagonist's sense of control and entropy.
In one of his richest films on fall and regeneration, Cassavetes maps the romantic vision of an actor. Theatre and its physicality are transmuted into a cinema that is both fantastic and existential.
Au hasard Balthazar
This bold ode to humanity's vices is, of all Bresson's films, his greatest.
Fear Eats the Soul
Fassbinder's dry melodramatic parable is the unsurpassable model for social exposé in cinema.
How difficult this simple exercise of listing can be! Many of the films I've chosen are by makers whose other films I am also passionate about. Other titles I'd like to have included – Serras da Desordem (Andrea Tonacci, 2007); Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004); S21: the Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (Rithy Panh, 2001); The Human Pyramid ( Jean Rouch, 1959); The Gospel According to Matthew (Pasolini,1964); Hallelujah (King Vidor, 1929); Tarnished Agels ( Douglas Sirk, 1957); 36 Shots of Rum (Claire Denis, 2008.)