Simon Petri-Lukács

Film critic

Voted for

Line Describing a Cone1973Anthony McCall
Earth1930Alexander Dovzhenko
People on Sunday1930Robert Siodmak
Die PAPIERENE BRÜCKE1987Ruth Beckermann
Foolish Wives1922Erich von Stroheim
New York New York1977Martin Scorsese
L' albero degli zoccoli1978Ermanno Olmi
Leben BRD1990Harun Farocki


Line Describing a Cone


Here are ten films that, like many others, carry a spirit, a mode of existence, a world-view, a critique, a behaviour to be in awe of, learn from, and aspire to be, shaped in the frenzy of ecstasy and terror, the artform accompanied over more than a century. They show cinema as the tool, narrator and manifestation of modernity interpreted diversely; modernity in the sense of a quest for the technique’s inherent and most succinct qualities, like the quest of Anthony McCall (and of, among others, Lumière, Vertov, Eisenstein, Chaplin, Cavalcanti, Epstein, Deren, Kren, Cornell, Conner, Kubelka, Deutsch, and the scientists, trainers, teachers, agitators who understood the photogenic material)...


1930 USSR, Ukrainian SSR the sense of the strife and desire to free people of premodern, fascist, or capitalist orders, committed, documented, and recreated in exaltation by the zest of form and the medium's populist promise, by the likes of Dovzhenko (and Peter and Zsóka Nestler, Straub and Huillet, Thomas Harlan, Helke Sander, Želimir Žilnik, Glauber Rocha, Lav Diaz, René Vautier, the Ogawa Productions, Nii Kwate Owoo, the Italian and Yugoslavian cinema of partisans, auto mechanics, comedians and actresses, Aleksey German, Mikhail Romm, Santiago Álvarez, Sara Gómez, Heiny Srour, collectives like Yugantar and many others erased, oppressed, then excavated by archivists, and glowing in their ashes like a phoenix)...

People on Sunday

1930 Germany the sense to proclaim the right to possess one’s own time and city, to be a travelling player, a flâneur, a vagabond, to be outside, to walk in the streets and sit in the cinema, in public parks, in the environment of modern life as shown by the group who made Menschen am Sonntag (and Oskar Fischinger, Ella Bergmann-Michel, Helen Levitt, Jonas Mekas, Jean Renoir, Wenders and Varda, Mambéty and Rozier, Jennings and Mitchell and Kenyon, Rohmer and Schanelec, Jean Rouch, John Cook and Michael Pilz, Truffaut and Terence Davies, Eustache and Khutsiev, Nanni Moretti)...


1987 Austria the sense of the intellectual preoccupation with remembrance and forgetting, the loss and excavation of memory, public memory and oral history, trauma, introspection and confrontation, that forms modern literature and the cinema of Beckermann (and Akerman, Anna Odell, Alain Resnais, Elia Suleiman, Claude Lanzmann, Max Ophüls, Orson Welles, Ulrike Ottinger, Thomas Heise, René Frölke, Anja Salomonowitz, Ingmar Bergman, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Manoel de Oliveira, Robert Frank, Joanna Hogg, Leo Hurwitz)...

Foolish Wives

1922 USA the sense of the blur of identity, truth, impostorship and travesty, blurred further by the imposition of exile and assimilation (of Jews, thieves, clowns, queers), which is reflected in the artistry of Erich von Stroheim (and Peter Lorre, Marcel Dalio, Sylvia Sidney, Elaine May, Jerry Lewis, Ernst Lubitsch, Fritz Lang, Josef von Sternberg, Kabos Gyula, Jack Smith, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Marlene Dietrich, Douglas Sirk, and in the transformation in Sherlock Jr., The Milky Way or Monsieur Verdoux)...

New York New York

1977 USA

...with the intention to display the full magnitude of the modern technique, its gaiety and songs, in the vein of Scorsese (and Judy Garland, Liza and Vincente Minnelli, Godard, Carax, Tarantino, Raoul Walsh, Michael Powell, Samuel Fuller, Nicholas Ray, Otto Preminger, Maurice Chevalier, Howard Hawks, Luchino Visconti, Werner Schroeter, Tsai Ming-liang, Boris Barnet, Ritwik Ghatak, Jean Cocteau, Jacques Demy, David Lean)...

L' albero degli zoccoli

1978 Italy

...with the intention to display the austerity of modern life, dominated by separation and thirst, through the austerity of form, in the vein of Olmi (and Barbara Loden, Marguerite Duras, Lino Brocka, Grupo Cine Liberación, Herbert J. Biberman, Med Hondo, Robert Bresson, Marcel Hanoun, Joseph H. Lewis, Monte Hellman, Budd Boetticher, Anthony Mann, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Ignacio Agüero, Margarita Barskaya, Ying Liang, Jia Zhangke and the amateurs who remain anonymous)...


1992 Czechoslovakia

...with the intention to understand the conventions and institutions that structure life strategies, histories, societies, and national culture, for example through the films of Karel Vachek (or Frederick Wiseman, John Ford, Jacques Tourneur, D.W. Griffith, Hani Susumu, Ozu Yasujiro, Naruse Mikio, Masumura Yasuzo, Shimizu Hiroshi, Wolfgang Staudte, Andrzej Munk, Aleksandr Ford, Raymond Depardon, Marcel Ophuls, Alexander Kluge, Ulrich Seidl, Ousmane Sembene, Roberto Rossellini, Pedro Almodóvar, Eduardo Coutinho, Patricio Guzmán)...


1933 France

...but also with the intention to denounce and devalue them in the spirit of Vigo (and Buñuel, Ōshima Nagisa, the Marx brothers, Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Tex Avery, Andre DeToth, William Wellman, Kenneth Anger, Bruce Baillie, Maurice Pialat, Dino Risi, Mario Monicelli, Hector Babenco, Rogério Sganzerla, Vera Chytilová, Michael Haneke and Jeles András)...

Leben BRD


...and with the intention to utilise the ever-contemporariness of film, to be aware of one's present time, one's own fleeting modernity, but also of film's temporality, of its inevitable belatedness (and its prophetic ability at once), to provide a critique of the present behavioural typologies like Harun Farocki (and Jacques Tati, and in my present time Gerhard Friedl, Christian Petzold, Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Alice Rohrwacher, Pietro Marcello, Valeska Grisebach, Maren Ade, Nicolas Klotz and Elisabeth Perceval, Wáng Bīng, Richard Linklater, Joaquim Pinto, Nicolas Rey, Bennett Miller, Olivier Assayas, Jem Cohen, Bruno Dumont or Paul Verhoeven).

Further remarks

Traces from my learning process, both about and through cinema, not including oeuvres and one-time wonders I forget, I will one day encounter or won’t ever see.

However, what I did and will (or won’t) see is because of lists like this, introductions to titles, and in more fortunate cases real projections and retrospectives curated by programmers and archivists, who are rarely acknowledged in polls. I am grateful to be on the receiving end of the knowledge of all those sharing it in writing and in the venue.