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.
Leanne Shapton’s Top 10
An artist, art director, illustrator, and publisher based in New York City, Leanne Shapton designed the covers of the Criterion releases Kicking and Screaming and Cría cuervos . . . , and is the author of Was She Pretty?
David and Nathan Zellner’s Top 10
Austin-based duo David and Nathan Zellner, whose new film Damsel is now in theaters, share a list of favorites that run the gamut from genre provocation to lyrical humanism.