Top 10s

Stephen Cone’s Top 10

Stephen Cone’s Top 10

Stephen Cone is a Chicago-based filmmaker whose films Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party and The Wise Kids are available on DVD and VOD. His latest, Princess Cyd, premiered at Maryland Film Festival, was an official selection of BAMcinemaFest and Frameline, and will be theatrically released by Wolfe Releasing. In November 2017, he will be the subject of a career retrospective at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image. Stephen also teaches acting and filmmaking at Northwestern University and Acting Studio Chicago.

  • Shadows

    1.
    Shadows

    John Cassavetes

  • Faces

    (tie)
    Faces

    John Cassavetes

  • A Woman Under the Influence

    (tie)
    A Woman Under the Influence

    John Cassavetes

  • The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

    (tie)
    The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

    John Cassavetes

  • Opening Night

    (tie)
    Opening Night

    John Cassavetes

  • Love Streams

    (tie)
    Love Streams

    John Cassavetes

    I’m not the first person who felt he’d found a soul mate upon first encountering Cassavetes’s work, but it’s a testament to how immensely personal and humane his cinema is that it seems to be speaking directly to the soul of whoever is taking it in. I will carry this astounding body of work in my heart until the day it stops beating. My hero.

  • The Long Day Closes

    2.
    The Long Day Closes

    Terence Davies

    The layering here of religious imagery, domesticity, sexuality, pop and classical music, mid-century cinema, and poetry into one expressive, experimental tapestry of adolescent struggle and joy moves me to no end. What a special filmmaker.

  • Shoah

    3.
    Shoah

    Claude Lanzmann

    Quite possibly the key visual-historical document of the twentieth century, and a monumentally great movie to boot. Inexhaustible, simultaneously ephemeral and eternal, investigative and meditative, but always with two sturdy feet on this horrific and beautiful earth.

  • Mulholland Dr.

    4.
    Mulholland Dr.

    David Lynch

    The Great American Movie.

  • French Cancan

    5.
    French Cancan

    Jean Renoir

    Renoir is in my holy trinity of filmmakers. How rare for an artist’s love of people and performance to be matched by his or her sense of craft, curiosity, experimentation, and adventure. French Cancan is my favorite of his, the most joyous, celebratory, wondrous thing.

  • Broadcast News

    6.
    Broadcast News

    James L. Brooks

    This movie is perfect.

  • Days of Heaven

    7.
    Days of Heaven

    Terrence Malick

  • The Thin Red Line

    (tie)
    The Thin Red Line

    Terrence Malick

  • The New World

    (tie)
    The New World

    Terrence Malick

    Malick is the last of the American transcendentalists. We need him, we need him, we need him . . .

  • Day of Wrath

    8.
    Day of Wrath

    Carl Th. Dreyer

  • Ordet

    (tie)
    Ordet

    Carl Th. Dreyer

  • Gertrud

    (tie)
    Gertrud

    Carl Th. Dreyer

    Discovering Dreyer in my early twenties opened my eyes to what narrative could be.

  • To these eyes, it’s become increasingly apparent that this is a major twenty-first-century masterpiece. No film that I can think of more achingly evokes the melancholy march of time.

  • Close-up

    10.
    Close-up

    Abbas Kiarostami

  • A Christmas Tale

    (tie)
    A Christmas Tale

    Arnaud Desplechin

  • Something Wild

    (tie)
    Something Wild

    Jonathan Demme

  • My Darling Clementine

    (tie)
    My Darling Clementine

    John Ford

  • News from Home

    (tie)
    News from Home

    Chantal Akerman

    Impossible to choose a tenth.

    Close-up was my introduction to cinematic humanism and secular grace.

    A Christmas Tale is the ultimate cinematic feast, endlessly nourishing.

    Something Wild is a pop masterpiece from a man who was, until recently, my favorite living filmmaker, Jonathan Demme. Rest in peace.

    My Darling Clementine is my favorite John Ford—so beautiful it hurts.

    News from Home justifies a personal cinema. The loneliest movie.