John Hay

Film Director

Voted for

The Godfather1972Francis Ford Coppola
Moonlight2016Barry Jenkins
Son of Saul2015László Nemes
Lost in Translation2003Sofia Coppola
À bout de souffle1960Jean-Luc Godard
12 Angry Men1956Sidney Lumet
Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back1980Irvin Kershner
Amélie2001Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Schindler's List1993Steven Spielberg
In the Mood for Love2000Wong Kar Wai


The Godfather

1972 USA

An object lesson in how to understand a group of characters' motivation without identifying with them. Cinematography and script are pretty much as close to perfection as it gets.


2016 USA

It feels as intimate as being brushed by the wing of a butterfly. A film about love that works so cleverly because the central protagonist’s life is defined by the lack of it.

Son of Saul

2015 Hungary, France, Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina, USA

It still haunts me to this day. On a practical level it made me think about how much ratios affect the way we take things in; it also proves to me that cinema doesn’t have to be "big" to be cinema.

Lost in Translation

2003 USA, Japan

The closest film gets to jet-lag; extraordinary performances and extraordinary direction. And some mornings I still wake up and wonder what he said in her ear at the end.

À bout de souffle

1960 France

Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut and Claude Chabrol all in one. Plus when you have seen it you can never un-see it.

12 Angry Men

1956 USA

For the dialogue.

Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back

1980 USA

For the great twist; the courage to give it a really dark demeanour and also the courage to let it all end pretty badly.


2001 France, Germany

A piece of magic realism that actually works at the cinema; so much that sometimes it's a bit like reading a book rather than watching a film.

Schindler's List

1993 USA

A masterpiece not least because of the way that Spielberg goes against the grain and gives it an extraordinary documentary quality that makes everything even more immediate and heart wrenching.

In the Mood for Love

2000 Hong Kong, France

A beautifully shot love story for all those who have ever felt lost at some time in our lives… which is I guess is all of us.