Peter Hames

Film critic and programmer
UK

Voted for

FilmYearDirector
A Bitter Taste of Freedom2011
MOZNOSTI DIALOGU1982Jan Svankmajer
Les Yeux sans visage1959Georges Franju
OVOCE STROMU RAJSKYCH JIME1969Věra Chytilová
MARKETA LAZAROVÁ1967Frantisek Vlácil
Mirror1975Andrei Tarkovsky
OBRAZY STAREHO SVETA1988Dusan Hanák
Portrait of a Lady on Fire2019Céline Sciamma
Sansho the Bailiff1954Kenji Mizoguchi
SKAZKA SKAZOK1979Yuri Norstein

Comments

A Bitter Taste of Freedom

2011 United Kingdom

Russia's leading documentary director, Marina Goldovskaja, died in March shortly after the invasion of Ukraine.

Her tribute to the murdered journalist, Anna Politkovskaja, provides a fitting testament.

MOZNOSTI DIALOGU

1982 Czechoslovakia

Svankmajer's best known animation marks a turning point in both the history of animation and the 'resurrection' of surrealism.

Les Yeux sans visage

1959 France, Italy

Franju's classic horror film resonates on multiple levels.

OVOCE STROMU RAJSKYCH JIME

1969 Czechoslovakia, Belgium

Best known for her iconoclastic 'Daisies', Chytilova's following film awaits a similar rediscovery. Check out, in particular, Jaroslav Kucera's remarkable images.

MARKETA LAZAROVÁ

1967 Czechoslovakia

Vlacil's remarkable medieval epic has, I hope, finally reached an international audience via Blu-ray. Zdenek Liska's striking score is also available as a CD.

Mirror

1975 USSR

Top of my list, Tarkovsky's extraordinary reminiscence is unequalled - unique and irreplaceable.

OBRAZY STAREHO SVETA

1988 Czechoslovakia

Hanak's portrait of old people in rural Slovakia - a symphony of textures - is one of the great (if little seen) works of documentary cinema.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

2019 France

Perceptive and groundbreaking on so many levels, Sciamma's film is one of the most remarkable of recent movies.

Sansho the Bailiff

1954 Japan

One of the most beautiful and moving of Mizoguchi's many classic films - should be high on anyone's list.

SKAZKA SKAZOK

1979 USSR

A classic of film animation and one of the few short animations to receive a book length study (by Clare Kitson).

His work has also been celebrated in a massive two-volume art publication (unfortunately only in Czech).

Further remarks

I would be happier with a top 100 (or maybe a top 60) as so many titles are interchangeable. However, the advantages of the poll is that it reveals so many little-known works of considerable value that pass under the radar of both commercial exposure and critical fashion. The era of Blu-ray has unearthed many hidden treasures that in my day could only be seen on 16mm - and even smaller gauges. Comparisons between the last poll and this should make interesting reading.

Interesting that the last poll revealed so many leading filmmakers making choices from what is conventionally termed 'art cinema'. An indication perhaps that there is world beyond mainstream drama. My own choices are made from films that continue to resonate and, in a sense, also 'go beyond'.