Robert Koehler

Film Critic

Voted for

L'avventura1960Michelangelo Antonioni
2001: A Space Odyssey1968Stanley Kubrick
The General1926Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles1975Chantal Akerman
Flowers of Shanghai1998Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Late Spring1949Yasujirō Ozu
The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes1971Stan Brakhage
Close-up1989Abbas Kiarostami
Rashomon1950Akira Kurosawa
Pather Panchali1955Satyajit Ray


My selection for the 2022 poll changed, in some stark ways, from my 2012 poll. Life changes, moods change, memories change, movies change. My sense this time was to consider the movies that affected me to the core, and these are the ones that I sense-remember did it to me the most. (Most of all, L'avventura and 2001, the latter of which I can't believe in retrospect that I left off my 2012 list, but which I now realize has probably changed cinema more fundamentally than any other movie). But my true list? The list that's much longer than an impossible ten? That list would also include these films and filmmakers, in no particular order: La libertad (Lisandro Alonso), Rules of the Game (Jean Renoir), L'intrus (Claire Denis), Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul), Los (James Benning), In Wanda's Room (Pedro Costa), La cienaga (Lucrecia Martel), Casablanca (Michael Curtiz), Aubade (Nathaniel Dorsky), Out 1: Spectre (Jacques Rivette), Come and See (Elim Klimov), City Lights (Charlie Chaplin), Star Spangled to Death (Ken Jacobs), Un chien andalou (Luis Bunuel), The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor/Donald Ogden Stewart), Ere erera baleibu icik subua aruaren, aka The Basque Masterpiece (Jose Antonio Sistiaga), Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett), L'eclisse (Michelangelo Antonioni, again), Sunrise (F.W. Murnau), Platform (Jia Zhang-ke), Sicilia! (Jean-Marie Straub/Danielle Huillet), Woman in the Dunes (Teshigahara Hiroshi), As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (Jonas Mekas), Barry Lyndon (Stanley Kubrick, again), Moolaade (Ousmane Sembene), ( Francisca (Manoel de Oliveira), Bend of the River (Anthony Mann), Los Angeles Plays Itself (Thom Andersen), L'Atalante (Jean Vigo), Flaming Creatures (Jack Smith), Two or Three Things That I Know About Her (Jean-Luc Godard), The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (John Cassavetes), Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone), To Be or Not to Be (Ernst Lubitsch), Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov). And if I can't include work by Naruse Mikio, Fredrick Wiseman, David and Albert Maysles, Rossellini, William Friedkin, Johnny To, Mizuguchi Kenji, or the musicals of the Arthur Freed Unit at MGM, it's because I love too many of them to much to pick just one. Which is nevertheless true of Pedro Costa, Ernst Lubitsch, Claire Denis, Stanley Kubrick, James Benning, and Manoel de Oliveira. And others. And that's a contradiction. And that's okay I think.