Peter Christian Rude

Communications coordinator, freelance curator, and film critic.

Voted for

Journey to Italy1954Roberto Rossellini
The Long Gray Line1954John Ford
A Man Escaped1956Robert Bresson
The Leopard1963Luchino Visconti
Gertrud1964Carl Th. Dreyer
The Gospel According to St. Matthew1964Pier Paolo Pasolini
The Godfather1972Francis Ford Coppola
Close-up1989Abbas Kiarostami
Histoire(s) du Cinéma1988Jean-Luc Godard
Eyes Wide Shut1999Stanley Kubrick


I do not know if these are the ten greatest films ever made, but they are certainly the films I most often think about.

'The Godfather' was a revelation at age 11 and in many ways my gateway into the world of cinema.

'Journey to Italy' has always fascinated me with its modernism, its economic storytelling, and symbolic mise-en-scène. Alongside 'Gertrud' and 'Eyes Wide Shut', it is surely one of the great films about marriage, love, and loneliness.

'The Long Gray Line' is my unusual contender for Ford's best film. This may seem an odd choice for a director who is primarily known for his westerns, but this film about the military tradition, the history of a nation, and the passing of time that takes place at West Point is both wonderfully melancholic and humane. Pure cinema.

I am always bewildered by people who find Bresson's films boring. So much is going on, and it is all happening so fast you might miss it at the blink of an eye. His elliptical editing of course reaches its climax in his last film, 'l'Argent', but you can already feel it here. 'A Man Escaped' is an action-packed prison break film with a touch of transcendence.

'The Leopard' – I do not know what to say. Every time it plays in the cinema, I have to go.

'The Gospel According to St. Matthew' is neorealism coupled with metaphysics. The best film about Jesus was made by an unbeliever who had a nostalgia for belief, as Pasolini described himself.

'Close-Up': reconciliation, society, cinephilia. The greatest end scene in the history of cinema? Probably.

I remember walking out of Godard's 'Histoire(s) du cinéma' when I first watched it in high school, but on a rewatch a year and a half ago I was captivated from beginning to end by the dreamy, poetic atmosphere, and Godard's playful reflections on "history", in every sense of the word.