Tom Gunning

Professor Emeritus

Voted for

Vredens dag1943Carl Th. Dreyer
Ugetsu Monogatari1953Kenji Mizoguchi
La Région Centrale1971Michael Snow
Vertigo1958Alfred Hitchcock
Intolerance1916D.W. Griffith
The Searchers1956John Ford
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans1927F.W. Murnau
M1931Fritz Lang
Mothlight1963Stan Brakhage
Meshes of the Afternoon1943Maya Deren, Alexander Hackenschmied


Vredens dag

1943 Denmark

Purity of image, theme and sense of erotic tragedy of gender and faith.

Ugetsu Monogatari

1953 Japan

The union of the worlds of the visible and the invisible through fluidity of mise en scene. Betrayal and faith, the zones of sky water and earth united

La Région Centrale

1971 Canada

The ultimate placing of vision in relation to the cosmos, the camera as the central region and the viewer in orbit


1958 USA

The demonstration of the narrative of desire and its doubles and snares, the staging of the fall and the gaze into the abyss


1916 USA

Cinema as a vision of history in which everything dies until the end, the view of time as simultaneous and cinema as the attempt at reconstruction of its ruins, grasping only at the surviving fragments of a gesture or a face.

The Searchers

1956 USA

All attempts at racial rescue for the sake of purity will fail and result in the banishing of the hero and the founding of a new family in the desert, close the door, Ethan.

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

1927 USA

Remarriage after attempted murder, the sun can only rise out of the depth of swamp and dark water into a new day, illuminating for one last time the silent image and its music.


1931 Germany

A city searches for murderer and finds its own dark image pleading directly to the camera about his guilt and desire


1963 USA

The essence of film: Light, a transparent support and the dead bodies of the once living fixed and moving.

Meshes of the Afternoon

1943 USA

The camera in pursuit of its double, the capture of the image in the shattered surface, from home space to the seashore.

Further remarks

Of course arbitrary in a one sense but what choice is not? My list has been consistent for some time and alas lack anything from the new century although I considered Malick's Tree if Life. But that omission is partly because we need to live with films for a space of time until the grow to be part of our life.