Lorenzo Esposito

Film programmer, curator, writer

Voted for

Make Way for Tomorrow1937Leo McCarey
Late Spring1949Yasujirō Ozu
Ordet1955Carl Th. Dreyer
2001: A Space Odyssey1968Stanley Kubrick
The Party1968Blake Edwards
A Agonia1978Julio Bressane
The Thing1982John Carpenter
Visit, or Memories and Confessions1982Manoel de Oliveira
Histoire(s) du Cinéma1988Jean-Luc Godard


Make Way for Tomorrow

1937 USA

The most touching by a giant filmmaker.

A way to have in the list (at least) two Ozu (see my next choice).

Also a way to include Laurel and Hardy and the Marx Brothers.

Late Spring

1949 Japan

He once said: "I would like to create a shot that, showing only the rain from the window, makes one imagine in a simple but profound way even the rain falling on the sea or mountains." Late Spring is the Ozu film that comes closest to this.


1950 Italy

Probably someone already made a list of ten Rossellini. Actually this would be the only thing to do. Still, this is (still) my fav.

Also, since I'm convinced that in the Italian cinema there are two poles from which everything and everyone descends - and Rossellini is the first one - this is a way to include in my list the second pole: Federico Fellini (not by chance he started his career working on Rossellini's set and even acting for him).


1955 Denmark

If you want a sense of cinema, here it is. Every single shot, every single image is between death and resurrection.

I know a couple who was waiting for some news and watched Ordet again the night before, coming out so touched that the day after they linked immediately the close-up of the baby-angel and the resurrection to the positive outcome of the pregnancy test. They now always try to tell everyone that this is the best movie of their life.

Also this is a way to include in the list: Danièle Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub, Chantal Akerman, Larisa Shepitko, Michael Snow, Stan Brakhage, Luis Buñuel, Souleymane Cissé, Robert Bresson, Eric Rohmer, Ingmar Bergman, Andrej Tarkovskij, Orson Welles, Satyajit Ray, Leo McCarey (for the second time), Manoel de Oliveira (for the first time; see Choice 9 for the second).

I will let you make your own connections between these names and Ordet.

2001: A Space Odyssey

1968 USA, United Kingdom

First film I saw in my life when I was four years old on my father's shoulders because the screening was open air and many people were standing (that was 1978, when we were still free). I remember vividly the hominins and the monolith at the beginning; the disconnection (literally the death) of HAL 9000; all the last 20 minutes. Between the beginning and the death of HAL 9000 I fell asleep, I guess.

Perhaps the movie I've rewatched the most times in my life.

The Party

1968 USA

Simply the perfect movie, pure entertainment and pure avant-garde at the same time.

Having this one also means including - for the same reasons - Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Jacques Tati, Jerry Lewis.

A Agonia


A film that speaks an unknown language. A transcendental journey that he himself tries to understand. A misunderstood gem of film history.

A Agonia: it's a quote itself, an absolute quote and a out-of-control force.

Marcel L’Herbier plus Monte Hellman plus Mario Peixoto plus Fernando Pessoa.

The Thing

1982 USA

For me John Carpenter is the most influential director of the last 50 years.

This one also to include Howard Hawks.

Visit, or Memories and Confessions

1982 Portugal

The most visionary director in the history of cinema. Actually defining Oliveira 'director' is at least reductive.

The italian film critic and curator Roberto Turigliatto wrote in my opinion one of the most precise and inspired text about Oliveira and this film. He calls Oliveira "the most splendid and baffling anomaly of cinema and its ages". He writes: "Tt is in its deepest and most intimate formal construction that the film really comes across as radically posthumous: it comes to us from a dead man, addressing us directly in pure cinematic fiction. Cinema can indeed perform any miracle, but time belongs to divinity" (not by chance like in Ordet). (The entire text is online here: http://filmparlato.com/index.php/numeri/2015-04-11-00-47-1/item/58-visita-ou-memorias-e-confissoes)

Visita ou Memórias e Confissões is the abyss of cinema, his past and his future forever.

Histoire(s) du Cinéma

1988 France, Switzerland

It is still devastating for me. It is still impossible to understand how he was able to think and to do it. Beauty, ideas, sound, image, poetry.

It is also a way to include in the list Boris Barnet, Dziga Vertov, Alfred Hitchcock, Frtiz Lang, Max Ophüls.

Further remarks

This is clearly a game and an agony (a agonia), otherwise not having quoted John Ford, Raúl Ruiz, Claude Chabrol, Jonas Mekas, Kira Muratova, Jacques Rivette, F. W. Murnau (…) should keep me from sleeping until the end of my days.