This is, by far, one of my all-time favorite films of all time bar none. I have seen the film well over one hundred times, and I am always trying to get people to watch it with me. Funny enough, as I type this, I am in Bordeaux, France, at the first ever Bordeaux International Independent Film Festival. I was asked to pick one film that I loved that I could talk about, and, of course, it was 3 Women. The screening is tonight, and I am seeing if for the first time on 35 mm. I had seen VHS copies of the film prior to the wonderful Criterion version coming out, and, of course, I now see and hear things in the film that I have never known before Criterion brought that all in. The film has a magical quality. I experience new things and information about the film every time I see it. It’s like a recurring dream that I don't mind redreaming over and over. It’s my favorite film in the world. I would love to do a one-off film festival somewhere called The Identity Crisis Film Festival . . . and show all films that I feel are similar to 3 Women, such as That Obscure Object of Desire, Persona, and Mulholland Drive.
Au revoir les enfants
This is a heart-wrenching film. It’s one of about three films that exist that truly still make me cry. I saw this at our local art-house cinema in Texas when it came out, and it was one of the first films that I saw that made me want to be a filmmaker in a real way.
I saw this recently for the first time, per Xan Cassavetes’s recommendation. The flashback sequences are painstaking. This is a kind of cinema that is rare and beautiful.
Carnival of Souls
Thank you, Criterion, for putting this amazingly creepy film out into the world in such a beautiful, definitive way. This is by far one of my favorite psychological horror films of all time. The Criterion version was an unbelievable step up from the VHS copy I had of this for years, when the film was strangely titled Corridors of Evil, for some reason. Carnival of Souls is like a fever-dream-elongated Twilight Zone episode. It’s a masterpiece, and I love falling asleep to the film as well. It induces great, strange dreams.
Days of Heaven
This is one of the most gorgeously shot films ever made. The plot is masterful, and it has all the qualities I love about Americana.
David Maysles, Albert Maysles, Ellen Hovde, and Muffie Meyer
One of the most terrifying and beautiful films ever.
Harold and Maude
This is the film that turned me on to Cat Stevens, Bud Cort, and Ruth Gordon, all simultaneously. The film never gets old, and the extras on the Criterion version are amazing. I had no idea that Hal Ashby was such a hippie.
Gus Van Sant
My Own Private Idaho
This film is my church. It’s the first Gus Van Sant film I saw, and I was blown away. He zeroed in on a subculture that I thought only I knew about. MOPI is a very ahead-of-its-time film, and I felt privileged to be able to participate with even a small commentary on the Criterion release. The film has never been more gorgeous than it is on the Criterion release.
One of the most horrifying films ever. A nightmare transposed into cinematic form. A rare thing. I hope to achieve making a film like this one day. The restoration that you all did is amazing. Bravo.
A Woman Under the Influence
This is a film that I could deeply personalize with. When making my films Tarnation and the follow-up, Walk Away Renee, I easily recalled this amazing film in my mind’s eye. I have never seen a film depicting mental illness so raw and pure as this. The film is so real that one often feels that they are really, really eavesdropping on something. Amazing.
Michael Barker’s Top 10
Michael Barker and his copresidents at Sony Pictures Classics, Tom Bernard and Marcie Bloom, have brought out some of the best and most successful independent and international films of the last two decades, from Women on the Verge of a Nervous Break…
John Bailey’s Top 10
About selecting his favorites from the collection, world-class cinematographer John Bailey (Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters) says, “One of the greatest challenges in trying to compile a list like this is to separate the objectively ‘great’ fil…
Julia Cafritz’s Top 10
At the beginning of Julia Cafritz’s senior year of high school, she saw Peter Weir’s The Last Wave and decided to drop out of high school, skip college, move to Australia, marry Mr. Weir and devote her life to filmmaking. Her parents said no. Two…