Artist / filmmaker
|The Colour of Pomegranates
|Imitation of Life
|Golfball Ode to IBM (Kugelkopf Ode an IBM)
|The Headless Woman
|The Girl Chewing Gum
|Weather Diary 3
|La verifica incerta
|Gianfranco Baruchello and Alberto Grifi
Uli Versum was the most gifted of my fellow students at art school, an outstanding, ingenious maverick. Unfortunately, Faszinierendes Puppenhaus, his eclectic and stylised, yet explosive psychodrama, turned out to be Uli’s final work of art. This film is representative of all great films that have almost fallen into oblivion.
The Colour of Pomegranates
An outsider’s film of strange, bewildering beauty, produced in radical opposition to its own cultural environment, a censored and mutilated masterpiece of unique artistic vision.
Imitation of Life
This is ultimate, quintessential melodrama, overcharged with emotion. You may not feel like shedding a tear, but here is advice to everyone who is not strangely moved at least when Mahalia sings: go see your shrink.
Golfball Ode to IBM (Kugelkopf Ode an IBM)
Hard-edged, energetic, physical cinema – and an assault on anyone trying to reduce women’s films to modest introspection.
The Headless Woman
“The detachment and retarding of the emotions, through the consciousness of form, makes them far stronger and more intense in the end.” Susan Sontag might have said this in a review of Lucrecia Martel's The Headless Woman, my favourite of her Salta trilogy.
In Standard Gauge, the China Girl meets La Chinoise. Morgan Fisher’s film elegantly succeeds in proposing “a kind of mutuality or interdependence between two kinds of filmmaking that by conventional standards are thought to be divided by an unbridgeable chasm” in one single shot.
The Girl Chewing Gum
John Smith’s classic generously allows documentary and feature film to enter into a mind-blowing liaison.
Weather Diary 3
It seems impossible to just pick one film from Kuchar’s almost confusingly extensive body of work. It is long overdue to not limit his reputation to that of an infamous ‘king of trash’, but to value his work as that of a truly excellent and outstandingly courageous film artist.
Another formerly banned masterpiece of subversive cinema on my list, another powerful and relentless debut film. Thanks to the writings of Amos Vogel, Titicut Follies was one of the first films to make me sense the potential of daring documentary filmmaking.
La verifica incerta
Gianfranco Baruchello worked for an explosives plant before starting his artistic career, a fact that makes perfect sense the moment you watch his joint project with Alberto Grifi, one of the seminal works of found footage film, ahead of its time – and a perfectly anarchic ode to cinema to end a list of ‘greatest films’.
Re-reading my list from a decade ago, I realise that my taste in films has hardly changed since then. My selection is highly subjective and not hierarchical. It includes films that have simultaneously broadened and deepened my understanding of film as art. Hitchcock (to whom I dedicated a critical homage in 1999) and Ozu are sorely missing; I could not decide on one single masterpiece by them that shines out from the rest.