Marc Francis

Assistant Editor, FIlm Quarterly

Voted for

Orlando1992Sally Potter
Paris Is Burning1990Jennie Livingston
Man with a Movie Camera1929Dziga Vertov
Goodbye, Dragon Inn2003Tsai Ming-liang
Black Girl1965Ousmane Sembène
The Battle of Algiers1966Gillo Pontecorvo
La Jetée1962Chris Marker
Clueless1995Amy Heckerling
Now, Voyager1942Irving Rapper
Sansho the Bailiff1954Kenji Mizoguchi



1992 United Kingdom, Russian Federation, Italy, France, Netherlands

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

1990 USA, United Kingdom

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

1929 Ukrainian SSR, USSR

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

2003 Taiwan

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.

Black Girl

1965 Senegal, France

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

1966 Italy, Algeria

The best “fiction” film about a political uprising. I hear right now the battle drum as the women plant bombs in their purses.

La Jetée

1962 France

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.


1995 USA

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.)

Now, Voyager

1942 USA

The iconic ending. Bette Davis. Its utter weirdness. Along with Stella Dallas the it’s there most unforgettable melodramas of that era.