This trilogy was rereleased at Film Forum in the summer of 2015, right before we started shooting Menashe. I went once a week and cried in the theater by myself. A universal story of birth, death, love, and coming of age. So many moments I can never forget: the joy of the school montage, and the famous scene in which the children see a train for the first time, a symbol of the arrival of modernity.
Before the Rain
I mainly work as a cinematographer, and I recently had the opportunity to shoot a new film for Milcho Manchevski. It was like being paid to attend a master class in filmmaking. I love this film not just because of its innovative structure but because of the way it transported me to a war-torn country I’d only heard about in the news.
Do the Right Thing
This was one of my favorite films when I was in high school. It’s funny and has a great soundtrack. Sal reminded me of my grandfather in his Canarsie store. The film helped humanize the perspective from both sides of the counter. It was the first film I saw that shed light on the African-American experience in a changing New York City.
Inside Llewyn Davis
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
How do you make a movie where so little happens? Only the Coens know. They care so little about basic structure that they actually make fun of it by adding a plotline early on in which Llewyn has to rescue a cat. It’s a running joke that references a famous screenwriting technique called “save the cat,” a simple device that’s supposed to make protagonists likable. And we all know how much the Coens care about making people likable.
Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin
This might have been the first film that made me realize what type of filmmaker I was going to be. The faces and personalities are so vivid. I always wonder if people would care about this simply observed masterpiece if it were produced today, after the advent of reality TV and YouTube.
Steve Buscemi’s Top 10
Steve Buscemi is an actor who has appeared in such films as Mystery Train, Fargo, Reservoir Dogs, and Armageddon. He also also directed such films as Trees Lounge, Animal Factory, and Interview.
Adam Yauch’s Top 10
Adam Yauch is a founding member of the Beastie Boys. Recently he created a new division of his company Oscilloscope Laboratories called Oscilloscope Pictures (oscilloscopepictures.com) for the sole purpose of distributing films. He even hired two guy…
Tracy Letts’s Top 10
Tracy Letts is an American playwright, screenwriter, and actor. He received the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for drama for August: Osage County and a Tony Award for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Richard Hell’s Top 10
Richard Hell was a founding member of the early CBGB bands Television, the Heartbreakers, and Richard Hell & the Voidoids. His Voidoids album Blank Generation (Sire, 1977) is generally acknowledged as seminal to “punk.”