Assistant Editor, FIlm Quarterly
|Paris Is Burning
|Man with a Movie Camera
|Goodbye, Dragon Inn
|The Battle of Algiers
|Sansho the Bailiff
Early evidence of Tilda Swinton’s ineffable, alien star quality and a visually breathtaking feminist (and queer-ish) adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s book. Highly underrated and easily Potter’s best.
Paris Is Burning
The footage of the balls and the personalities Livingston was able to capture make this easily one of the best docs of all time, not only of the queer variety. Would gender studies ever be the same after it??
Man with a Movie Camera
Still fills my heart with wonder and joy and I’ve seen it at least a dozen times. A film about the magic of film.
Goodbye, Dragon Inn
It was my gateway drug into slow cinema and could be for a new generation of viewers. It’s an elegy to and celebration of filmgoing with little to no dialogue that still manages to cover themes of intergenerationality, queerness and cruising, as well as physical disability.
An incisive indictment of persisting French colonialism in Africa. Oscillating between blunt realism and flashes of surrealist disorientation, Sembene tells the tragic story of racial and national subjugation through the account of a domestic worker’s exploitation and alienation.
The Battle of Algiers
The best “fiction” film about a political uprising. I hear right now the battle drum as the women plant bombs in their purses.
Made with a simple formal concept (the narrated slideshow) out of budgetary restraints, this short is one of the most striking science fiction films ever made. It haunted me when I saw it as an undergrad and I watched it on a loop in my dorm room afterwards. You never forget this film.
Brilliant teen rom com that is both timeless and such a portrait of a time and place—quintessential LA and 1990s. Every scene is deliciously quotable, full of heart and layered wit. I put this in the category of “light” cult films whose brilliance is continually overlooked or downplayed. (Rocky Horror is there, too.)
The iconic ending. Bette Davis. Its utter weirdness. Along with Stella Dallas the it’s there most unforgettable melodramas of that era.