David Maysles, Albert Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin
Perhaps my favorite documentary. In its thematic consistency and sense of narrative it works almost like an ancient myth, but with the added bonus of utter spontaneity—and Mick Jagger in a ridiculously long scarf.
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
I Know Where I’m Going!
My wife fell for me when she realized that my grandfather wrote this one. Some of that romantic spirit must have been genetic, she hoped.
Murmur of the Heart
I don’t quite understand how this film does what it does—make you understand the powerful, quasi-incestuous relationship between mother and son, without making it seem the least bit abnormal or reprehensible—but that’s what I love about it. That and the jazz soundtrack and the semipsychotic older twin brothers.
The Lady Eve
All the brilliance and laughter of any Sturges film, but with romance too.
The Wages of Fear
Desperate men who will do anything to earn a buck. It’s the tensest film I know.
The Complete Mr. Arkadin
A film that could have been as good as The Third Man—if Welles had had a bit more money and a more charismatic leading man. But the unpolished nature of the endeavor gives it a certain mystique.
The best British film of the 1970s. I love the symbolism and camera work.
Fanny and Alexander: Theatrical Version
I love to luxuriate in this film and imagine what it would be like to be part of this extraordinary extended family. A great double bill with The Royal Tenenbaums!
The Battle of Algiers
The way that Gillo Pontecorvo makes his political points without resorting to propaganda—while always being truthful to the characters—is utterly brilliant. It’s a true-life thriller that doesn’t resort to a single cliché. The music is also unequaled in film.
My favorite Fellini—maybe because it’s one of his most modest and endearing. The depiction of friendship always touches me.
Bill Hader’s Top 10
In compiling his top ten Criterion editions, Hader says, “I couldn’t pick ten . . . sorry. So I programmed Criterion double features, which is what I tend to do on Sunday nights anyway.”
Guy Maddin’s Top 10
Canadian filmmaker and writer Guy Maddin’s Brand Upon the Brain!, featuring Isabella Rossellini as the narrator, was released on DVD from the Criterion Collection in 2008. Maddin also contributed an essay on Kirk Douglas for our release of Billy Wi…