Michael Hayden

Film Programmer

Voted for

The Arbor2010Clio Barnard
L'Atalante1934Jean Vigo
Distant Voices, Still Lives1988Terence Davies
Do the Right Thing1989Spike Lee
The Holy Mountain1973Alejandro Jodorowsky
In the Mood for Love2000Wong Kar Wai
A Matter of Life and Death1946Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stranger than Paradise1984Jim Jarmusch
Sunset Blvd.1950Billy Wilder
In film nist2011Jafar Panahi, Mojtaba Mirtahmaseb


The Arbor

2010 United Kingdom

In allowing the neglected playwright Andrea Dunbar a voice, Clio Barnard compassionately celebrates the resilience, dignity and creativity of a section of society frequently patronised or treated with contempt.


1934 France

Impossibly romantic, devastatingly beautiful. Dita Parlo's smile alone is one of cinema's enthralling wonders.

Distant Voices, Still Lives

1988 United Kingdom, Federal Republic of Germany

In portraying a mother's love and a father's brutality, Terence Davies produced a raw autobiographical film remarkable for its honesty. Here are lives where joyful interludes intrude on anguish, where a joke, a laugh, a song or The Shipping Forecast might only provide a momentary spark of happiness. However fleeting they may be, Davies boldly recognises those sparks are still worth treasuring.

Do the Right Thing

1989 USA

Beyond Ernest Dickerson's glorious cinematography, an exceptional cast in career defining roles, the thrilling soundtrack and a sharp, funny script that features more jokes than most will remember it for, it is the righteous anger searing throughout Do The Right Thing that makes it so enduring and so vital. That the anger still burns is to Spike Lee's eternal credit and to America's ongoing shame.

The Holy Mountain

1973 USA

Jodorowsky is one of cinema's true visionaries and this is his most dazzling trip. Its admirable satirical intentions are evident throughout, though it is the barrage of beguiling images (often playful, occasionally horrible, frequently beautiful) that scorch the consciousness and make The Holy Mountain such a unique experience.

In the Mood for Love

2000 Hong Kong, France

What do we talk about when we talk about love? Wong Kar-wai created a distinct, beautiful cinematic language in order to evoke the delights of romance and the depths of heartbreak.

A Matter of Life and Death

1946 United Kingdom

Every time I think about Powell and Pressburger's storied masterpiece, my heart skips.

Stranger than Paradise

1984 USA, Federal Republic of Germany

Seduced by a notion of impossible coolness, the less-is-more minimalism, the genuine warmth of the characters and the sharpness of its wit, the impact Stranger Than Paradise had for a generation of American filmmakers should not be understated. Well into the 1990s, the list of those working in independent cinema not influenced in some way by Jarmusch was negligible compared to those who had. He had made it look easy, though his own biggest influences came from beyond America's borders, from Europe and Japan, which is one of the reasons he remains such a distinctive voice. What he has taken from world cinema, others took from him without putting the hours in. It shows.

Sunset Blvd.

1950 USA

The stars are ageless, aren't they?

In film nist

2011 Iran

Jafar Panahi's fearless response when he was first charged with anti-government activities in Iran, sentenced to six years in prison and banned from making films for 20 years, was this remarkable postcard to the world made effectively under house arrest. Panahi's courage is humbling, though in spite of his desperate situation, the frequent moments of warmth and humour here make it fascinatingly hopeful and curiously cheering. Inadequately defined as documentary or performance, if this is not a film, it is a bold artistic statement, the product of a restless artistic imagination that remains unfettered.

Further remarks

I could have submitted any number of other lists as I embarked on an exercise in slaughtering sacred cows. My reverence for Hitchcock, Welles, Ozu, Kubrick or Bergman is great. I respect the significance of the canon and the canonised, though undoubtedly others will see them acknowledged. I spent some time chipping away at filmmakers and films I had once regarded as cast in stone, and submitting my ten list without Godard or Scorsese, The Godfather or Wings of Desire was not something I initially intended to do. Ditching them was meant to be liberating, and to some degree it was, yet submitting this ten does not entirely ease my anxieties about what is not there. Anxieties about important representation issues concerning gender and ethnicity; about territories not acknowledged; about neglect of significant eras and movements in film history; and about the film genres and forms I have not found room to include. Perhaps other contributors how found a way of doing this and addressed all those things satisfactorily, though I recognise it proved beyond me.

That said, I come away from the process invigorated. I do love all the films I have submitted. I want to watch them all again before tracking down all the films I haven't seen and plugging blind spots I have discovered. It is emotional contributing to Sight and Sound's poll, but it is also a thrill.