A film that rhythmically moves like its characters: fractured, expressive, grown-up. Its emotional hues are completely original, yet it feels like a friend. This was Rowlands and Cassavetes at their most developed, and the ending is something like pure expression. I try to understand its structural and performative mysteries every time I sit down to edit something.
News from Home
This is a film of few elements and infinite layers, a structural, poetic, and observant masterpiece. Primarily, this is just a great idea for how to reveal the excitement and loneliness of a place. Its radical style slowly reveals itself to be expressive and deeply meaningful.
Written on the Wind
Maximum emotional output: pushes past irony, through the screen, through your heart and your head to show you the seductive power of images and empathy, while always forcing you to think about what you’re watching and how you’re seeing. Melodrama is a self-revealing organism. Every time I’m taking half measures with my work, I call on Father Sirk. Honorable mention goes to Todd Haynes’s Safe, a glorious Sirkian melodrama.
Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin
Nothing can prepare a young cinephile for the thrill of Direct Cinema. What you’re expecting to see (voice-over, explanation, facts, message) is replaced with plain-note observation of the human creature, which is the most dramatic and psychologically charged thing. Salesman is the uncle who gave me my first baseball mitt.
Taste of Cherry
The ending takes a concern at the heart of cinema—the relationship between the real world and the director impulse—and turns it into a self-aware narrative climax, which opens the iris of the film dramatically. This is moving, strange, captivating stuff. Like an old friend once told me, in order for an organism to grow, it must be aware that it is alive.
Nicolas Winding Refn’s Top 10
Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn is the director of the Pusher Trilogy, Fear X, Bronson, Valhalla Rising, and Drive, for which he won the best director prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
Nathan Lee’s Top 10
Nathan Lee is a critic, curator, and unrepentant champion of Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. A former film critic for the New York Times, the Village Voice, and NPR, he is a contributing editor of Film Comment and member of the National Society of…