The more I rewatch it, the more I love cinema, and the less I understand it. Few films have managed to morph into cinema itself. Contempt is cinema found, it’s cinema experienced like a sunset on the world.
The Magnificent Ambersons
The Magnificent Ambersons is the most important of films for a director. It’s because of Welles, because he repeats to us, again and again, that cinema and childhood go hand in hand. And that theater is the birth of cinema.
Wong Kar Wai
The film that was my youth. That looked upon it, initiated it, comforted it. It’s Chungking Express that taught me to love badly. And to eat canned pineapples.
I fell in love with Lola when I was twelve. I fell in love with Anouk Aimée, with all the characters, with Nantes, with Jacques Demy, with cinema. Lola isn’t anything much, just a woman who walks the streets of a ghost town. But that walk speaks of beauty, and the end of beauty. That walk says everything about the vain effort of filming.
Jules and Jim
Truffaut is French cinema all by himself. He is Renoir, Vigo, Guitry. He is also Balzac, Stendhal, Proust. He is the true Eiffel Tower of France.
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom
Perhaps that which we called modernity in Europe died here, in this film in ruins. In any case, modern cinema certainly did. Afterward, we had to make do with the shadow that film cast.
The Awful Truth
Grant, money, and adultery: the American trinity.
Gus Van Sant
My Own Private Idaho
Characters and film alike seem to search for masters over which to reign. Everything is at once soft and poisonous, clear and uncertain. Sensual and cold. It is all irresistible.
A film to live in. A film in which I can spend evenings and afternoons smoking, reading and sleeping. I’ve tried a hundred times to remake a Jarmusch tracking shot, I’ve never gotten close. They move at a speed that belongs only to him. Jarmusch is the metronome of a precious melancholy.
I dream to one day succeed at making a film as profound, nonchalant, intelligent, and delicate as Yi Yi. A film like the end of an afternoon observed and imagined behind the windowpane of a mall café.
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…
Al Reinert’s Top 10
Writes Al Reinert, director of For All Mankind: “Having your film in the Criterion Collection is like marrying your daughter into an old distinguished family that intimidates and humbles you. She might feel at home there, but I am inclined to stand…