Jennifer Sabine

Head of VCA School of Film and Television (retired)

Voted for

Berlin Symphony of a City1927Walther Ruttmann
Sullivan's Travels1941Preston Sturges
The Night of the Hunter1955Charles Laughton
Ladies' Man1961Jerry Lewis
(Nostalgia)1971Hollis Frampton
Grave of the Fireflies1988Isao Takahata
The Thin Blue Line1988Errol Morris
Mulholland Dr.2001David Lynch
Zama2017Lucrecia Martel


Berlin Symphony of a City

1927 Germany

I last saw Berlin: Die Sinfonie Der Grosstadt in 2019 when the German saxophone quartet Sonic Art performed a live accompaniment at a Goethe-Institut sponsored screening at the Australian Centre of the Moving Image in Melbourne. It was a wonderful experience which matched, in a different way, the German 2 DVD set that has the original Edmund Meisel score. The only image on the wall of my small office is the Stenberg Brothers-designed poster for this film.


1932 Japan

The darkness and humour of the kids' antics is both profound and delightful. I know I should have picked Tokyo Story so I don't splinter Ozu's Sight and Sound vote. This happens to so many great filmmakers.

Sullivan's Travels

1941 USA

I love screwball comedy almost as much as noir. Sullivan's Travels is a wonderful satire on society and the film industry.

The Night of the Hunter

1955 USA

Back and white visual poetry which takes me on an emotional journey each time I see the film.

Ladies' Man


The Ladies Man is such an inventive and stylish comedy that plays with many filmmaking conceits.


1971 USA

I rewatched this short on YouTube last week. I love its structure and the artists it features. Maybe my early background as a high school art teacher has influenced my belief that it is a great film.

Grave of the Fireflies

1988 Japan

I love comics, graphic novels and Japanese anime. This film's ending affected me viscerally like Fassbinder's Fox and His Friends.

The Thin Blue Line

1988 USA, United Kingdom

I admire filmmakers who play with form and provide numerous viewpoints. Phillip Glass's mesmerising score always grabs me.

Mulholland Dr.

2001 France, USA

Last week I saw Lynch/Oz, Alexandre O. Philippe's recent documentary on David Lynch's obsession with The Wizard of Oz. It included an excerpt from Naomi Watts' magnificent audition scene. This scene has always haunted me.


2017 Argentina, Brazil, Spain, France, Mexico, Netherlands, Monaco, Portugal, USA, Lebanon, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic

Zama reflects the political control inherent in colonialism. It also made me "feel" the class, racial and gender inequality associated with it.

Further remarks

My Greatest Films of All Time list is in chronological order. I added personal comments rather than descriptive and theoretical notes as rich material can be found easily elsewhere.

We all know it is impossible to come up with the 10 greatest films, maybe even for some of us, like me, to list our 10 favourite films. I embrace change and fluidity and don't have much time for cannons that act as straitjackets. I have purposely selected films across the decades with half my titles coming from the last 50 years. I also included experimental, documentary, animation and comedy. I was surprised my list had two films from the same year… 1988!

I am already mourning the films I didn't include… no French Cinema… no Godard, Bresson, Marker, Renoir, Varda or Sciamma and the classical Hollywood omissions Hitchcock, Lang, Ophuls, and no space for P.T. Anderson or Reichardt. How could I leave out Murnau, Keaton, Fassbinder, Visconti, Wong Kar Wai or Powell / Pressburger?

I look forward to the cinematic conversations the Sight and Sound lists will generate and to search out films that I have overlooked or should reconsider.