James Kleinmann

Founder & Editor, The Queer Review

Voted for

Paris Is Burning1990Jennie Livingston
Carol2014Todd Haynes
The Shining1980Stanley Kubrick
The Wizard of Oz1939Victor Fleming
Meshes of the Afternoon1943Maya Deren, Alexander Hackenschmied
Faustrecht der Freheit1975Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Smithereens1982Susan Seidelman
Tokyo Story1953Yasujirō Ozu
Mulholland Dr.2001David Lynch
Grey Gardens1975David Maysles, Albert Maysles, Ellen Hovde, Muffie Meyer


Paris Is Burning

1990 USA, United Kingdom

The wisdom and defiant joy of the legends and upcoming legends of the late 1980s ballroom community is at the heart of the film, thrillingly juxtaposed with electric ball scenes.


2014 United Kingdom, USA

Every frame is exquisite, which never detracts from but rather enhances its emotional potency. A rare literary adaptation that lives up to its source material and a period film that feels authentic, but intimate and immediate.

The Shining

1980 USA, United Kingdom

Kubrick creates images so indelible that they not only trouble the mind while watching the film, but have become part of popular culture. Yet overfamiliarity doesn't detract from its spellbinding power. Technically innovative with heightened, but finely calibrated performances, it always gets my mind racing with questions, some deliberately unanswerable. Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind's score is a work of art in itself.

The Wizard of Oz

1939 USA

One of my earliest encounters with the medium, I remain utterly transported each time I return to Oz on any sized screening, including the 3D IMAX version which worked remarkably well. 80 years of technical advances notwithstanding, Oz's practical sets and matte shots convince me that I'm in another world more than any CGI ever has. Garland's performance is vital to its enduring appeal, as is the lack of sentimentality in the way it delivers its uplifting and empowering message.

Meshes of the Afternoon

1943 USA

A mesmerising, disorientating and unsettling experience. A visionary, poetic work that thrillingly explores the potential of the medium to illustrate and examine the subconscious.

Faustrecht der Freheit

1975 Federal Republic of Germany

Framed by the mighty Michael Ballhaus, Franz Biberkopf's rise and fall is as excruciating as it is pleasurable to watch play out and utterly compelling. Fassbinder's biting critique of society is ageless.


1982 USA

Seidelman pulls us in with an enthralling opening sequence that, with no dialogue, a spirited performance by Susan Berman, and a propulsive score by Glenn Mercer and Bill Million, tells us all we need to know about Wren. A captivating character with restless energy and directionless ambition.

Tokyo Story

1953 Japan

Both heartbreaking and life-affirming. With subtlety and warmth, Ozu captures the nuances of familial relationships.

Mulholland Dr.

2001 France, USA

A visceral, moody, deliciously perplexing puzzle that plays in the murky borders of dreams and reality.

Grey Gardens

1975 USA

We immediately become thoroughly immersed in the lives of these women, shot with a warm, nonjudgmental lens with a fine line between comedy and tragedy.

Further remarks

One of the hallmarks of greatness in film is timelessness. The ability to resonate with audiences throughout the years. These are films that I've frequently returned to and discovered something new in with each visit. All of them still feel fresh and immediately absorbing, creating their own unique worlds. As heart-wrenching as it is to exclude the work of innumerable exceptional filmmakers, many are present here in having influenced or been influenced by these films.