Sansho the Bailiff
A strong candidate for Greatest Film Ever Made. A perfect and profound masterpiece, rivaled only by its near companion Ugetsu.
The Complete Mr. Arkadin
The critics of Cahiers du cinéma once chose this over Citizen Kane for their “Ten Best Ever” list. I am inclined to agree. The three versions suggest an endless, fascinating “work in progress.”
For me, three films stand out in Kurosawa’s uneven career (the other two being Ikiru and High and Low): one of the cinema’s greatest “action” movies, thrilling and sublime. (Beware the dread Hollywood remake!)
Pickup on South Street
Mistakenly seen as a crude anticommunist movie, Pickup juxtaposes the commies with an America in which the only characters are criminals or dropouts. The death of Moe, sacrificing herself for a country that abandoned her, is heartbreaking. Arguably Fuller’s best film.
The Lady Eve
Sturges’s masterpiece, from the long buildup to the most hilarious and brutal payoff in the history of Hollywood comedy.
Influenced by (but in some respects transcending) Leo McCarey’s Make Way for Tomorrow, this is perhaps the greatest film about the Family and its degeneration under the stresses of capitalism.
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
I Know Where I’m Going!
My favorite Powell and Pressburger movie. It’s eternally fresh, unpredictable, yet perfect in its apparent digressions.
Band of Outsiders
Godard at his freshest, most spontaneous and improvisatory. Inexhaustably captivating.
Arguably Hitchcock’s most perfect (but not necessarily most profound) movie, in which every shot, every look counts, and Grant and Bergman achieve sublimity.
Jennifer Reeder’s Top 10
Jennifer Reeder’s award-winning personal fiction films, which explore relationships, trauma, and coping, have screened at Sundance, Berlin, Rotterdam, and several other festivals.
James Schamus’s Top 10
James Schamus is the former CEO of Focus Features; the producer of, among other films, Ride with the Devil (1999) and Brokeback Mountain (2005); the screenwriter and producer of The Ice Storm (1997); and a professor of professional practice at Columb…
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.”