|Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
|Come and See
|Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
|In the Mood for Love
|Wong Kar Wai
|The Lady Eve
|Meshes of the Afternoon
|Maya Deren, Alexander Hackenschmied
An immaculate study of family dynamics, painterly and haunting.
Perhaps one of the greatest studies of repressed desire and landscape. The shot of Kathleen Byron emerging from the shadows at the end in the bell tower is an image I think about nearly every day, which maybe says more about me than the film.
Come and See
The most visceral, ecstatic and frightening war film of all time, but also a film shot through with moments of pure joy, such as the sequence when the children dance in the rain.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
I love nearly all of Charlie Kaufman's films, both ones he only wrote and the one's he directed so it was hard to pick just one but I think this one is perhaps the most seamless, exquisite package, beautifully directed by Gondry, superbly edited, and wonderfully acted. Probably Jim Carrey's best ever performance.
In the Mood for Love
Truly one of those films which reveals new beauties every time you see it, made hypersonic with the best soundtrack of all time.
The Lady Eve
Deliciously of its time and weirdly evergreen, this vehicle for one of Hollywood's finest female actors, the great Barbara Stanwyck, is sexy, smart and frothy as a bubblebath.
Meshes of the Afternoon
Apart from this film's historical value as a key experimental piece, and a masterwork by a female filmmaker way ahead of her own time, Meshes is also simply entrancing beyond words.
So hard to choose just one Jane Campion film, but this one still resonates for me and hits the sweet spot thanks to an unbeatable combination of talents, from Campion herself and the stars to Michael Nyman's transcendent compositions.
As the film ages we of course see flaws in this masterpiece, like the wildly inaccurate portrait of sex work and so on, but there may never be a better portrait of the psychology of violent stalkers, and as a look at gun violence and alienation it was way, way ahead of its time.
Arguably Pixar's most original and daring film, in a strange way it's the most emotionally impactful despite the fact that the central characters are robots. As a work of animation, especially when it comes to coaxing out expression and the use of lighting, it's a masterpiece.
My list is in alphabetical order because I still feel that ranking things is fundamentally silly, which is why I still question the point of this list-making exercise as interesting as it is. I notice more of the films I've chosen are pretty recent and most are in English, and had a stab of anxiety how this will make me look in the company of my august peers and colleagues but in the end I don't really give a shit anymore.