Top 10s

Neil LaBute’s Top 10

Neil LaBute’s Top 10

Neil LaBute, director of In the Company of Men, Your Friends and Neighbors, and Nurse Betty, has contributed supplemental interviews to two Criterion DVD editions: Mike Leigh’s Naked and Eric Rohmer’s Love in the Afternoon, the latter available in our deluxe box-set edition of Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales.

  • Grey Gardens

    1.
    Grey Gardens

    Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Ellen Hovde…

  • Salesman

    (tie)
    Salesman

    Albert Maysles, David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin

    The brothers Maysles offer up two of their most stunning documentaries, and, frankly, I can’t choose between them. Beautiful essays on what it is to be American and, more importantly, human; visually hypnotic and oddly life affirming. Did I mention that they’re also, by turns, hilarious and heartbreaking?

  • Loves of a Blonde

    2.
    Loves of a Blonde

    Miloš Forman

    One of my favorite films by Milos Forman and so bittersweet as to leave an aftertaste. Glorious in black and white and poignant as hell, it’s one of those films that reminds you why you fell in love with cinema in the first place.

  • Scenes from a Marriage

    3.
    Scenes from a Marriage

    Ingmar Bergman

    Quite simply the best there is: Ingmar Bergman at the height of his powers and two of the fiercest performances captured on camera. This offers one the chance to compare the theatrical and television versions—two chances to be completely blown away. It’s unmissable.

  • A Story of Floating Weeds

    4.
    A Story of Floating Weeds

    Yasujiro Ozu

  • Floating Weeds

    (tie)
    Floating Weeds

    Yasujiro Ozu

    Ozu in stunning color and black and white. One of the many great Criterion packages that offer two films together for the viewer to admire. The theatrical aspects of this set appealed to me, but I was ultimately won over by the heartbreaking simplicity of Ozu’s aesthetic.

  • I vitelloni

    5.
    I vitelloni

    Federico Fellini

    A film that continues to grow in my estimation every time I see it, and one that laid the bedrock for the Fellini explosion that was about to take place. So alive and spilling over with character and incident, it feels like a peek into the filmmaker’s own diary. It also features an amazing Nino Rota score and performances to die for.

  • Eyes Without a Face

    6.
    Eyes Without a Face

    Georges Franju

    Georges Franju created a one-of-a-kind horror film that moves you more than it scares you. It has some of cinema’s most potent images and a score that haunts you for days. The Criterion extra of his short documentary Blood of the Beasts is spectacular beyond words—beautiful and disturbing in equal measure.

  • Mamma Roma

    7.
    Mamma Roma

    Pier Paolo Pasolini

    A great picture by Pasolini that really swept me away. I remain a passionate admirer of his Accattone!, but I was unprepared for the ferocity of Anna Magnani’s performance here: it’s like watching the birth of something that is actually new and completely wild, right before your eyes. A stunner.

  • Contempt

    8.
    Contempt

    Jean-Luc Godard

    I can’t get enough of this film, and it is so cleanly presented here that the famously malcontented Godard himself must be proud of the results. The great film about film, this disc is perfect, from the amazing cover art to the short documentaries that show the difficulties of shooting a film with an icon like Bardot in tow. And if you aren’t swept away by the Georges Delerue score, you really need to check your pulse.

  • Black Narcissus

    9.
    Black Narcissus

    Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

    The most purely beautiful film I can think of and done up in a pristine transfer here; the fact that the film was shot at Shepperton Studios, in England, actually blows the mind. The acting is impeccable, and the fevered colors and close-ups are as close to a cinematic wet dream as I ever need to have. Powell and Pressburger in the throes of a most singular cinematic vision.

  • Kind Hearts and Coronets

    10.
    Kind Hearts and Coronets

    Robert Hamer

    A perfect black comedy with one of the most underappreciated central performances in film history, by Dennis Price (and a handful of genius ones by Alec Guinness). Truly funny and as dark as sin, this is a film that still feels ahead of its time. The attached “American” ending helps remind us just how annoyingly safe and predictable American tastes can be—did we really need to be reminded?