Sweet Smell of Success
This film, along with Expresso Bongo, for good or bad, helped shape my life into what it became. At the time I had no idea of the significance of it being filmed in the Brill Building. Suddenly, thanks to Sidney Falco, it was okay to hustle, it was okay to try and find a way out.
Army of Shadows
Our parents never explain the war. We are asked without words to pay lip service to their sacrifice. Army of Shadows puts a face on the story. Never mind the long tracking shots; Melville takes you there.
We should all be this alone. Alone as a way of life, a forecaster of how life finally works out. Delon is the practice run. Pay attention!
Another life changer. I first saw this at the Everyman Cinema in Hampstead, London, when I was sixteen. Jean-Claude Brialy had verve, and an English sports car. I wanted both!
A great example of cinema-to-be. The nonchalance, the free form. So much cinema from so many decades owes a nod to the tricks in this one.
Touchez pas au grisbi
I just like the night, the mood, Sami Frey, the cars, Gabin, the double-breasted suits, the quiet urgency and . . . the night.
Le cercle rouge
Classic noir droll flick.
The Battle of Algiers
I was watching a geezer on Charlie Rose last night. John something, lectures in universities on war, uprisings, terrorism, torture, how governments become the terrorists, the pendulum of life and death. John something still uses this film to explain all before they discuss waterboarding. This film is the guv’ner.
A more realistic now Clockwork Orange.
The wonderful fragility of civility and feelings.
Kevin Macdonald’s Top 10
Kevin Macdonald is the grandson of the filmmaker Emeric Pressburger. Macdonald’s directorial credits include 2000's Academy Award–winning One Day in September, about the killing of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, and 2003's Touching…
James Schamus’s Top 10
James Schamus is the former CEO of Focus Features; the producer of, among other films, Ride with the Devil (1999) and Brokeback Mountain (2005); the screenwriter and producer of The Ice Storm (1997); and a professor of professional practice at Columb…
Whit Stillman’s Top 10
“In trying to come up with a ten best list from the Criterion Collection I thought first of Trouble in Paradise and decided to go online to find the rest. But after only seven pages of Criterion’s online list I already had more than enough for te…