Sophia Satchell-Baeza

Editorial, MUBI and freelance critic

Voted for

Performance1970Donald Cammell, Nicolas Roeg
Fear Eats the Soul1974Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Red Desert1964Michelangelo Antonioni
By the Bluest of Seas1935Boris Barnet
Touki Bouki1973Djibril Diop Mambéty
Christmas on Earth1963Barbara Rubin
Marvo Movie1967Jeff Keen
Brief Encounter1945David Lean
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie1976John Cassavetes


Christmas on Earth


For pioneering the art of multiple projections. For capturing the ecstatic highs of group sex and ardent love-making in unprecedented genital close-ups, overlapping projections of limbs and orifices, bringing in synaesthetic colour filters, and disturbing body painting. For creating one of the greatest and most obscene films of the 1960s aged only 17. Projection instructions for this work of expanded cinema indicate the playing of ad hoc live radio, loudly. In a dream world I would tune in to NTS radio or (if it coincides) the BBC shipping forecast or Woman's Hour, for the purpose of added dissonance and, in Barbara Rubin's own words, "a nice cross-section of psychic tumult."

Marvo Movie

1967 United Kingdom

How to pick a single film from Brighton's visionary experimental artist and landscape gardener, Jeff Keen? Ideally, we would stitch them all together and watch them back-to-back until our eyes itch (it wouldn't take that long). Retinal assaults are to be expected from many of his films, Marvo Movie included, but I also love this film for its intense, bubbling, throaty-whispered, sotto vocce score, composed with Annea Lockwood and concrete poet Bob Cobbing. The film thrums with life: Brighton Beach dumpster diving, an explosion of comic-book Pop art and the faded glamour of the movies, of art made out of old dolls (while in New York Jack Smith was chewing on his.) Like Bruce Lacey, Keen transforms the nuclear family into a moveable film set, a touring circus of DIY artistry and costume dress-up. You can practically smell the melting plastic.

Further remarks

From the Caspian Sea to Brighton Beach via the Edenic gardens of 1960s Czechoslovakia and Notting Hill, England, this very personal list of films I love alternates between the ambiguous potential of wide open spaces and the creative and erotic possibilities of staying indoors. Watching films in and through the prism of lockdown has fundamentally altered my perspective on cinema. This might have been a very different list in the Before Times.