Victor Guimarães

Film critic and programmer

Voted for

Village de Namo Panorama pris d'une chaise a porteurs 1900Gabriel Veyre
Limite1931Mário Peixoto
Merrily We Go to Hell1932Dorothy Arzner
NOW1965Santiago Álvarez
BARA NO SORETSU1970Toshio Matsumoto
Basta! 1969Ugo Ulive
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles1975Chantal Akerman
Soleil Ô1970Med Hondo
Agarrando Pueblo 1977Carlos Mayolo & Luis Ospina
Close-up1989Abbas Kiarostami


Village de Namo Panorama pris d'une chaise a porteurs


Cinema is the invention of a beauty we cannot name. And yet we cannot avoid the imperative task of trying. A toast to those we will spend the rest of our lives restlessly scratching their mystery: Brasa Dormida (Humberto Mauro, 1928), Finis Terrae (Jean Epstein, 1929), Introspection (Sara Kathryn Arledge, 1946), The Quiet Man (John Ford, 1952), The Crucified Lovers (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954), The House is Black (Forough Farrokhzad, 1962), Blackout (Aldo Tambellini, 1965), Death By Hanging (Nagisa Oshima, 1968), Sem Essa, Aranha (Rogério Sganzerla, 1970), Berlin Horse (Malcolm Le Grice, 1970), Two-Lane Blacktop (Monte Hellman, 1971), Le Berceau de Cristal (Philippe Garrel, 1976), Last Chants for a Slow Dance (Jon Jost, 1977), Opening Night (John Cassavetes, 1977), Céu sobre Água (José Agrippino de Paula, 1978), O Último Mergulho (João César Monteiro, 1992), Chunking Express (Wong Kar-Wai, 1994), The Addiction (Abel Ferrara, 1995), La Libertad (Lisandro Alonso, 2001), Shara (Naomi Kawase, 2003), Fantasmas (André Novais Oliveira, 2010), Leopard (Helga Fanderl, 2012), Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2021).


1931 Brazil

Some films are so fresh that we can smell the scent of a new field of perception being open. Others are so mature that we feel as if they could encompass the entire history of cinema within. Some extremely rare ones can be both. A toast to those who changed history in their youth and to those who decided to be a curious child again after sixty: Suspense (Lois Weber & Phillips Smalley, 1913), Nosferatu (F. W. Murnau, 1922), Sherlock Jr. (Buster Keaton, 1924), The Strike (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925), A Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929), Mothlight (Stan Brakhage, 1963), Wavelength (Michael Snow, 1967), Coffea Arábiga (Nicolás Guillén Landrián, 1968), Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett, 1973), A Raiz do Coração (Paulo Rocha, 2000), As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (Jonas Mekas, 2000), The Pushcarts Leave Eternity Street (Ken Jacobs, 2011), A Vingança de Uma Mulher (Rita Azevedo Gomes, 2012), Adieu au Langage (Jean-Luc Godard, 2014), Vitalina Varela (Pedro Costa, 2019).

Merrily We Go to Hell

1932 USA

The history of cinema is made by the double agents, the saboteurs, the dribblers. A toast to those bombs that imploded buildings in enemy territory: Les Résultats du Féminisme (Alice Guy-Blaché, 1906), The Symbol of the Unconquered (Oscar Micheaux, 1920), Fieldwork Footage (Zora Neale Hurston, 1928), Morocco (Josef von Sternberg, 1930), En la Otra Isla (Sara Gómez, 1968), A Mulher que Inventou O Amor (Jean Garret, 1979), O Império do Desejo (Carlos Reichenbach, 1980), Don't Play with Fire (Tsui Hark, 1980), Robocop (Paul Verhoeven, 1981), Body Double (Brian de Palma, 1984), They Live (John Carpenter, 1988), Pump Up The Volume (Allan Moyle, 1990), Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Joe Dante, 1990), Point Break (Kathryn Bigelow, 1991), A Cidade é uma Só? (Adirley Queirós, 2011), Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine, 2012), Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017).


1965 Cuba

The invention of cinematic forms is intimately connected with the struggles for freedom and justice in this world. A toast to those imbued with the task of transforming the world now – or losing it forever: Les Misères de L’aiguille (Cooperative Cinéma du Peuple, 1913), À Propos de Nice (Jean Vigo, 1930), Ispanja (Esfir Shub, 1936), Soy de Aquí (Mabel Itzcovich, 1965), A Entrevista (Helena Solberg, 1966), Lavra-Dor (Ana Carolina & Paulo Rufino, 1968), Monangambé (Sarah Maldoror, 1968), La Hora de los Hornos (Grupo Cine Liberación, 1968), Comunicado Cinematográfico del Consejo Nacional de Huelga n. 2 (CUEC-UNAM, 1968), Ice (Robert Kramer, 1970), El Coraje del Pueblo (Grupo Ukamau, 1971), Comunicados Cinematográficos del ERP n. 5 y 7 (Grupo Cine de la Base, 1971), Maso et Miso vont en Bateau (Les Insoumouses, 1975), 25 (José Celso Martinez Corrêa & Celso Luccas, 1975), Rocinha Brasil 77 (Sérgio Péo, 1977), Os Queixadas (Rogério Corrêa, 1978), Trop Tôt/Trop Tard (Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet, 1981), Bicicletas de Nhanderú (Ariel Ortega & Patrícia Ferreira, 2011), Did you Wonder Who Fired the Gun? (Travis Wilkerson, 2017), Conte Isso Àqueles que Dizem que Fomos Derrotados (Pedro Maia de Brito, Aiano Bemfica, Camila Bastos, Cristiano Araújo, 2018).


1970 Japan

Cinema is about finding a spark of transgression in the world and following it to the last consequences. A toast to those who went crazy in love with the help of the misfits, the non-reconciled, the dissidents: Freaks (Tod Browning, 1932), Lot in Sodom (Melville Webber & James Sibley Watson, 1933), Scorpio Rising (Kenneth Anger, 1963), Flaming Creatures (Jack Smith, 1963), Daisies (Věra Chytilová, 1966), Portrait of Jason (Shirley Clarke, 1967), The Girl (Márta Mészáros, 1968), Um Clássico, Dois em Casa, Nenhum Jogo Fora (Djalma Limongi Batista, 1968), Orgia ou O Homem que Deu Cria (João Silvério Trevisan, 1970), Wanda (Barbara Loden, 1970), Right On! (Herbert Danska, 1970), Cuidado Madame (Julio Bressane, 1970), Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (Melvin Van Peebles, 1971), Ecstasy of the Angels (Kōji Wakamatsu, 1972), La Civilización está Haciendo Masa y no Deja Oír (Julio Ludueña, 1974), Female Trouble (John Waters, 1974), Double Strength (Barbara Hammer, 1976), Juliana (Grupo Chaski, 1989), Tongues Untied (Marlon Riggs, 1989), Jollies (Sadie Benning, 1990), Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. (Leslie Harris, 1993), Nova Dubai (Gustavo Vinagre, 2014).



Cinema can be a contagious disease, a memory so painful that it hurts, a putrefying ghost destined to haunt us forever. A toast to those that, fearless of getting in touch with the most horrific part of human experience, went all in: Le Sang des Bêtes (Georges Franju, 1949), Nuit et Bruillard (Alain Resnais, 1955), El Chacal de Nahueltoro (Miguel Littín, 1969), Nicht löschbares Feuer (Harun Farocki, 1969), The Last House on the Left (Wes Craven, 1972), Anna (Alberto Grifi & Massimo Sarchielli, 1975), Manelão, o Caçador de Orelhas (Ozualdo Candeias, 1981), Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog, 1982), Videodrome (David Cronenberg, 1983), Elephant (Alan Clarke, 1989), Cure (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 1997), Prisons - Notre Corps est une Arme (Clarisse Hahn, 2012), Homeland: Iraq Year Zero (Abbas Fahdel, 2015), Dead Souls (Wang Bing, 2018).

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

1975 Belgium, France

Cinema is a matter of rhythm and precision, of hard work and strong conscience. Great cinema is when we feel this meticulously composed object – in which every element is connected to the other by a secret respiration – is converted into a living thing. A toast to those inanimate objects that started to breathe on their own: Thèmes et Variations (Germaine Dulac, 1928), His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940), Cluny Brown (Ernst Lubitsch, 1946), Ritual in Transfigured Time (Maya Deren, 1946), Ohayo (Yasujiro Ozu, 1959), Araya (Margot Benacerraf, 1959), The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963), La Noire De… (Ousmane Sembène, 1966), Invasión (Hugo Santiago, 1969), Serene Velocity (Ernie Gehr, 1970), Critical Mass (Hapax Legomena III) (Hollis Frampton, 1971), Trás-os-montes (Margarida Cordeiro & António Reis, 1976), Le Navire Night (Marguerite Duras, 1979), Jamal (Ibrahim Shaddad, 1981), L’Argent (Robert Bresson, 1983), O Dia do Desespero (Manoel de Oliveira, 1992), Beau Travail (Claire Denis, 1999), Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind (John Gianvito, 2007), Pude Ver un Puma (Eduardo Williams, 2011), Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong Sang-Soo, 2015), Ich war zuhause, aber (Angela Shanelec, 2019), Rewind and Play (Alain Gomis, 2022).

Soleil Ô

1970 France

A cinematic masterpiece is an object that can spread into a thousand directions, endlessly inviting us to reopen it. The maker of a cinematic masterpiece is a person so generous that they put every possible effort in creating an object destined to rot in the basement of a cinematheque – or give birth to a thousand others. A toast to the gestures of those who left everything they knew, saw, heard and felt within a single film: Crónica de un Niño Solo (Leonardo Favio, 1965), El Camino Hacia la Muerte del Viejo Reales (Gerardo Vallejo, 1971), Passing Through (Larry Clark, 1973), Touki Bouki (Djibril Diop Mambéty, 1973), De Quelques Événements Sans Signification (Mostafa Derkaoui, 1974), Bush Mama (Haile Gerima, 1979), Die Patriotin (Alexander Kluge, 1979), Org (Fernando Birri, 1979), Mueda, Memória e Massacre (Ruy Guerra, 1979), Losing Ground (Kathleen Collins, 1982), Cabra Marcado para Morrer (Eduardo Coutinho, 1984), Les Amants du Pont Neuf (Leos Carax, 1991), Platform (Jia Zhangke, 2000), still/here (Christopher Harris, 2001), La Flor (Mariano Llinás, 2018).

Agarrando Pueblo


Cinema is what remains when we try (hard enough) to destroy cinema. A toast to the remnants of the work of those who interrogated the very core of this colonial weapon in order to burn it and then set the ashes on fire: Rien Que Les Heures (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1926), Un Muelle del Sena (Horacio Coppola, 1934), Los Olvidados (Luis Buñuel, 1950), Moi, un Noir (Jean Rouch, 1958), Carlos: Cine-retrato de un Caminante en Montevideo (Mario Handler, 1965), Le Retour d'un Aventurier (Moustapha Alassane, 1966), Colombia 70 (Carlos Álvarez, 1970), Black Film (Želimir Žilnik, 1971), Jardim Nova Bahia (Aloysio Raulino, 1971), Triste Trópico (Arthur Omar, 1974), A Idade da Terra (Glauber Rocha, 1980), Het dak van de walvis (Raúl Ruiz, 1982), Nuestra Voz de Tierra, Memoria y Futuro (Marta Rodríguez y Jorge Silva, 1982), Reassemblage (Trinh T. Minh-ha, 1982), Os Arara – Part 3 (Andrea Tonacci, 1983), Zama (Lucrecia Martel, 2017), Luz nos Trópicos (Paula Gaitán, 2020).


1989 Iran

Cinema is what happens when we are busy trying to make art or other stuff. Cinema is the only kind of miracle we can still believe in. A toast to those that opened up for the possibility to host a miracle while their makers were trying to build something else: Stromboli (Roberto Rossellini, 1950), Ordet (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1955), La Canta delle Marane (Cecilia Mangini, 1961), Pour la Suite du Monde (Pierre Perrault, Michel Brault, 1963), Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1964), High School (Frederick Wiseman, 1968), La Reprise du Travail aux Usines Wonder (Jacques Willemont, 1968), Ryan’s Daughter (David Lean, 1970), Numéro Zéro (Jean Eustache, 1971), El Espíritu de la Colmena (Víctor Erice, 1973), Professione: reporter (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975), Diario Inacabado (Marilú Mallet, 1982), Innisfree (José Luis Guerín, 1990), Salaam Cinema (Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1995), Compañero Cineasta Piquetero (anonymous, 2002), Hannah Takes the Stairs (Joe Swanberg, 2007), Mille Soleils (Mati Diop, 2013), Camera falls from airplane and lands in pig pen (anonymous, circa 2014), La Cabeza Mató a Todos (Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, 2014), Lighting Dance (Cecilia Bengolea, 2018), NoirBLUE – Desclocamentos de uma Dança (Ana Pi, 2018).

Further remarks

Those ten films were real milestones in my life. I remember exactly when, where and with whom I watched them for the first time. They had the power to entirely change the way I used to look at cinema – past, present or future. They opened up new, once hidden continents. And for different reasons: each of these films pointed out a distinct possibility of conceiving what cinema can be.

Each film immediately suggested some others (that are also very important for me), so I decided to follow that trace and pay an homage to each of these gestures, creating a small itinerary based on the sparks those films generated in my cinephilia.

Every list is a personal, secret map. That’s why they look unbalanced and arbitrary. But since I believe that film criticism always starts with a strong encounter between a work and a spectator, and the more personal this encounter is, the more relatable it can be, I decided to rely on passion rather than in reason.