Peter Bagrov

Senior Curator, Moving Image Department, George Eastman Museum

Voted for

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans1927F.W. Murnau
The Wedding March1928Erich von Stroheim
Le Crime de M. Lange1935Jean Renoir
The Shop around the Corner1940Ernst Lubitsch
Le PLAISIR1951Max Ophuls
A Man Escaped1956Robert Bresson
Le notti di Cabiria1957Federico Fellini
The Leopard1963Luchino Visconti
DOLGIE PROVODY1987Kira Muratova


It is impossible to objectively select the ten greatest films based on their innovative technique, social impact, or the number of homages. Instead, I decided to pick those films whose aesthetic effects I find inexplicable – for me, that is the true symptom of greatness. Some of them are flawless masterpieces, others may be imperfect, but the indefinable grace is what unites them. Of course, this list could easily be altered. Directors who possess this gift of magic usually demonstrate it more than once. I was tempted to represent Renoir by multiple titles, including "Partie de campagne" (1936) and/or "The River" (1951), to add Ophüls’s "Liebelei" (1933) or Bergman’s "Gycklarnas afton" (1953). It is the vision of Bergman, Ophüls, and Renoir that changed and, what’s even more important, keeps changing the face of cinema, not their specific films, and this vision is often much more evident in “peripheral” works. For a while, I also considered including truly marginal titles, such as Friedrich Feher’s "The Robber Symphony" (1936) or Sergei Vladimirskii’s documentary "Rukopisi A. Pushkina" (1937), two works of pure cinema – but that would look like showing off, and the list is eccentric enough as is.