Paul Lynch

Critic, Novelist

Voted for

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans1927F.W. Murnau
Madame de...1953Max Ophuls
There Will Be Blood2007Paul Thomas Anderson
Ugetsu Monogatari1953Kenji Mizoguchi
Das weisse Band Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte2009Michael Haneke
Andrei Rublev1966Andrei Tarkovsky
Au hasard Balthazar1966Robert Bresson
Cries and Whispers1972Ingmar Bergman
Vertigo1958Alfred Hitchcock
Tokyo Story1953Yasujirō Ozu


“The list is the origin of culture,” Umberto Eco once said. And the list should not be exhaustive. So how to choose 10 films as the exemplars of greatness among so many irrefutable masterpieces of cinema? Instinctively, of course, one is drawn to one’s favourites. But there must be other criteria. This list favours the films that show us at a deeper level who and what we are, films that distil a profound human truth with matchless visual expression. This list, too, seeks films that contain within them the fundamentally mysterious, the hidden charge of the unknown, that sprinkling of the indefinable substance that is found only among great works of art. These films have the capacity to endlessly absorb us and continue at each visit to astonish.

There could be other criteria. There are certainly other films that should have made this list. I am distressed that Renoir is not to be seen. Nor Chaplin, nor Keaton. Bicycle Thieves should be there. L’Atalante. That Obscure Object of Desire. Sunset Boulevard and All About Eve. Singin’ in the Rain, Sullivan’s Travels and Sideways. Hiroshima mon amour and Come and See. Mulholland Drive and In the Mood for Love. Meanwhile, Three Colours: Red, the film that served as my induction into serious cinema, remains a perfect film. The counter list is not exhaustive.…