Philippe Mora

Writer - Director

Voted for

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb1963Stanley Kubrick
Persona1966Ingmar Bergman
F for Fake1973Orson Welles
Zapruder Kennedy Assassination Film1963Abraham Zapruder
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance1962John Ford
Sherlock Jr.1924Buster Keaton
Orphée1950Jean Cocteau
The Manchurian Candidate1962John Frankenheimer
Psycho1960Alfred Hitchcock
Shoah1985Claude Lanzmann


Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

1963 United Kingdom, USA

A genre busting film by New York beatnik Kubrick that used documentary techniques and satire to create a story about the end of the world as we know it. Satirist Terry Southern obviously spiced it up in this perfect storm of talents including Peter Sellers in peak form.


1966 Sweden

The Nordic angst of Munch and others made flesh and blood by Bergman. Like a rogue magician he made boring profound.

F for Fake


A pioneering tour de force that ushered in the age of so called "mockumentaries" and exemplified Welles' unending examination of the mechanics of cinema.

Zapruder Kennedy Assassination Film


An unprecedented collision of film and history. One of the most controversial and examined films ever shot. A runner up in this morbid Mondo Cane, cinema verité category, is Eva Braun's home movies which I exposed in Cannes in 1973.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

1962 USA

Old school Americana at its finest with a meta and Rashomon edge. A quaint plea for the importance of a free press enhanced by discreet hero John Wayne and oozing villain Lee Marvin.

Sherlock Jr.

1924 USA

When Keaton steps into his own movie narrative he dragged cinema into Modernism. A much imitated and influential quantum jump in film ideas. And funny!


1950 France

With this film Cocteau spearheaded the mainstream understanding and delight in Surrealism. He also in my opinion triggered the impending French New Wave with the motorcycle gang from Hell and the radio broadcasting from the underworld. He unlocked some of the handcuffs on conventional cinema.

The Manchurian Candidate

1962 USA

An astonishingly prescient thriller raising the frightening curtain on conspiracy theory, mind control, political corruption, modern fascism and contemporary evil.

Beautifully crafted, it was taken off release after the killing of JFK. It completes Frankenheimer's startling trilogy with Seconds and Seven Days in May.


1960 USA

Experimental and ground-breaking in story and technique, it is still constantly imitated.

Modern psychiatry was a star of the film along with closeups of blood going down drains, designed by Saul Bass.

After Janet Leigh took a shower and was murdered twenty minutes into the film, cinema and showers changed forever.

One must always remember Hitchcock's bizarre and dark sense of humour. As a kid in Melbourne I saw the trailer where he personally was in the Psycho bathroom, looked into the toilet and said: Terrible things happened here!


1985 France

A study of the Holocaust that leaves the viewer shocked, bewildered and deeply saddened by this journey into the heart of darkness. No one film can ever encapsulate the Holocaust but Shoah gets honours in a distinguished group.

Further remarks

I believe there is truth to the idea that the subject of the greatest paintings is art itself. This applies also to cinema since clearly the greatest films grapple with the complex mechanics and art of cinema. Keaton did it with gags. Hitchcock did it with shock. Cocteau with surrealism and so on.

I heard Welles in person say a director is someone "who presides over accidents."

Every director knows what he means, but one still tries the Sisyphean task of bending reality to one's vision.

My hat is also off to noble failures like Preminger's Skidoo and note brilliant films like To Be or Not to Be by Lubitsch, the Great Dictator by Chaplin, Spielberg's Jaws, Tarkovsky's Solaris and the first feature film ever made: Australia's The Story of the Kelly Gang, 1906 (sic) directed by Charles Tait in Melbourne.

Thank you for inviting me to participate.