Rainer Rother

Artistic Director German Cinematheque

Voted for

Shoah1985Claude Lanzmann
The General1926Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman
Vertigo1958Alfred Hitchcock
M1931Fritz Lang
A Separation2011Asghar Farhadi
Spirited Away2001Hayao Miyazaki
Sans Soleil1982Chris Marker
Taxi Driver1976Martin Scorsese
2001: A Space Odyssey1968Stanley Kubrick
A City of Sadness1989Hou Hsiao-Hsien



1985 France

A unique film, both personal and historical, which changed the way the extermination of the European Jewish population was understood. Also a milestone in documentary filmmaking.

The General

1926 USA

Size matters. Sometimes. And here Keaton's persona is confronted with the biggest challenges - and the directors mastered them by never losing pace. Perfectly balanced storytelling.


1958 USA

Hitchcock's mise en scène demonstrates that the way events are presented to the audience is more important than the question "what happens?" Cinematic and formal means are the core of the film's strategy to mislead - and lead - the audience to construct the story, then reconstruct it.


1931 Germany

Lang's first sound film already demonstrates his absolute understanding for the new technique, the inevitable changes it brings to storytelling and acting. It has not lost any of its qualities and its emotional power since it premiered in Berlin.

A Separation

2011 Iran

A portrait of Iranian society and all the limitations set by an Islamic regime; but every aspect of it is just contained in a couple's fate. Farhadi let the story twist once and again in a breathtaking manner. The ensemble's performance is simply stunning.

Spirited Away

2001 Japan

The definite proof that animation film is a form of cinematic art speaking to audiences of every age, capable of dealing with almost every subject without losing the special charm of its genre.

Sans Soleil

1982 France

The essay film par excellence. Sometimes philosophical, sometimes playful, always intriguing, always surprising.

Taxi Driver

1976 USA

Maybe the most uncompromising New Hollywood film. The final scenes with the eruption of violence are presented and deconstructed at the same time.

2001: A Space Odyssey

1968 USA, United Kingdom

Science fiction but with some respect for science. Spectacular without intergalactic battles, exploding planets, spaceships passing by loudly in a vacuum. Still surprising.

A City of Sadness

1989 Taiwan

The drama of civil war in postwar Taiwan conquered by the Kuomintag mirrored in a single family's fate. Nothing is 'dramatised' but everything is made visible in its dramatic consequences. Nothing is 'forced'. Hou Hsiao Hsien does not need this to achieve heartbreaking scenes.

Further remarks

Thank you for the opportunity (and the challenge).