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The Criterion Crush

by matt kivel

Created 05/22/13

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This is a list of 9 ladies (and 1 man) in ten different Criterion films that I have a crush on.

Heartbreakers.

  • Sandrine Bonnaire appears in a few Criterion titles, but this film captures her at just the right moment— playing just the right part. I am aware that she was incredibly young when this was filmed, but taboos be damned, this is as sensual and challenging as coming-of-age stories get. Bonnaire has the attitude and style to match her utterly unique on-screen presence.

  • Laurence de Monaghan is enchanting and unknowable in "Claire's Knee" as the titular character. She is young and beautiful and dressed in an innocent and alluring way. Sadly the main character only ended up touching her knee, which was kind of a bummer.

  • Jeanne Moreau. Perhaps my first true Criterion crush. "Jules and Jim" is such a wonderful film and she is everything in this movie. She is everything to the men in the film and she is everything to those watching the film. Beautiful, vivacious, wild, yet with an old soul— a thoughtful face that is unlike any other in cinematic history.

  • Another Bergman leading lady, Liv Ullman is clever, emotional, intriguing and unique in so many ways. She is not really the sex symbol that many of these other selections have been, but she is wonderful and wise and unquestionably attractive.

  • Harriet Anderson is dark, disturbed, and gorgeous. Bergman unflinchingly captures a torturous period of time in her life spent on an island as she descends into the desolate realms of mental illness. She hallucinates and ultimately gets it on with her brother. For some reason this makes her all the more intriguing.

  • So here it is. Alain Delon. I am a straight man, but I am not blind to beauty. In fact, I appreciate it whenever I see it. And that is why Alain Delon makes the list. If you are a straight man you may come away from this film asking yourself a few questions. If you are a gay man, well, how could you not dig this?!

  • Claude Jade is the object of Antoine Doinel's often-confused affection. She is studied, well-mannered and prude— shirking many of his sexual advances. But it makes her all the more intriguing. There are layers to her that are undoubtedly implied. Her violin case, her large overcoat, her mysterious departures— we can feel something else for her that isn't specified in the script, but emerges nonetheless.

  • Maggie Cheung is immaculate in every way in this film. Hair, clothing, makeup— everything is pristine and perfect, but she is tortured by her failing marriage. She casts an unforgettable on-screen image and is so reserved and restrained; feeding off of this almost inhuman state of self control. Good thing Tony Leung is hanging around to keep her company. *On a side note, Tony Leung narrowly missed making this list himself ... dude's got it goin on.

  • Francoise Dorleac thoroughly emasculates her husband throughout "Cul-de-sac" and she is that kind of wild, uncontrollable character that thoroughly demolished the archetypal feminine on-screen persona. She's gorgeous and she'll also kick your ass. A fantastic combination.

  • There is just something about Cate Blanchett in this film. She looks almost golden in this captivating way— as if she were lit from within. She actually reminds me a lot of the way my girlfriend looks— who probably is annoyed that I made this list at all. But I mean, come on. Some of these people are dead. I certainly must get a free pass on this. Anyways, I'm signing off for now. This list goes out to all the lovers out there.

21 comments

  • By futurestar
    May 23, 2013
    10:44 PM

    I like all of these films. being on a same list only raises them all to more notice and higher consideration. nice work matt.
    Reply
  • By Nathan S.
    May 24, 2013
    12:31 PM

    I love how you added Alain Delon, and rightfully so. I find Harriet Anderson to be more sensual and breathtaking in 'Summer with Monika', but you're right, she is for from ugly in 'Through the Glass Darkly'. ps- Jeanne Moreau was my first Criterion crush as well!
    Reply
  • By Kyle Edward Harris
    May 25, 2013
    04:38 AM

    What a genius idea for a list. And I love that Liv Ullman is on the list - shows that you put consideration past the skin.
    Reply
  • By Stroszek
    May 25, 2013
    05:06 AM

    Juliette Binoche in 'Blue' and every single female in a Godard film.
    Reply
  • By twballew
    May 26, 2013
    11:46 PM

    Nastassja Kinski from Paris, TX; Oja Kodar from F for Fake; and BOTH the lead actresses from That Obscure Object of Desire...
    Reply
    • By un_samourai
      September 25, 2016
      10:06 PM

      Here here to Oja Kodar (and Bonnaire, and Moreau)! Kinski in Tess, Anna Karina in Pierrot Le Fou/Vivre Sa Vie, Ulla Jacobsson in Smiles of a Simmer Night, Ingrid Thulin in Wild Strawberries, I could go on and on...
  • By matt kivel
    May 29, 2013
    02:14 PM

    Anna Karina in Pierrot very nearly made my list. it was a hotly contested race!
    Reply
  • By Mary1
    May 29, 2013
    02:38 PM

    What an excellent idea for a list. I may have to borrow the idea, but change it to 9 men and 1 women.
    Reply
  • By Cole Amundson
    May 29, 2013
    04:02 PM

    Surprised by the lack of Monica Vitti, Irene Jacob, and Anna Karia. Obvious choices maybe, but dayum.
    Reply
    • By matt kivel
      May 29, 2013
      07:41 PM

      vittti and karina were right on the edge of cracking the top ten. but each was supplanted by another with some mystical quality that i can't quantify in words. thus liv ullman and sandrine bonnaire
  • By Rogerio
    June 02, 2013
    10:50 PM

    What about Death in Venice and Malena?
    Reply
  • By Colin A. Ybarra
    June 02, 2013
    11:08 PM

    Maggie Cheung would be my number one.
    Reply
  • By ggfanjase
    June 04, 2013
    04:07 AM

    I love how you couldn't deny Alain Delon. 'Straight but not blind' is right. I mean, c'mon, look at him. As a gay dude, my female equivalent of this is Maggie Cheung. I mean, c'mon, look at her. And Liv Ullmann. Because Liv Ullmann is always the correct answer for everything.
    Reply
    • By Henrique Balthazar
      June 15, 2013
      09:22 PM

      "Liv Ullmann is always the correct answer for everything" - precisely.
  • By fran_kie
    June 13, 2013
    01:17 PM

    I agree with you on all. I would add Irene Jacob of The Double Life of Veronique.
    Reply
  • By HUSKY
    June 14, 2013
    12:15 AM

    I Have The Same Crushes
    Reply
  • By Henrique Balthazar
    June 15, 2013
    09:26 PM

    Jeanne Moreau is always amazing. But in "Elevator to the Gallows" she is just special.
    Reply
  • By Eric R.
    July 14, 2013
    01:57 AM

    Not that I'm necessarily disagreeing with the above, but for me, the one glaring omission would be Faye Wong in Chungking Express.
    Reply
    • By matt kivel
      September 29, 2013
      01:27 AM

      that would have been an excellent pick as well. it's hard to choose only 10!
  • By Wayne O'Brien
    July 14, 2013
    04:16 PM

    Jenny Agutter in anything, but let's say, Walkabout (1971).
    Reply
    • By matt kivel
      September 29, 2013
      01:27 AM

      great call!
  • By Greg W. Locke
    August 11, 2013
    06:23 AM

    Good list. Irene Jacob would probably top my list, if I were to make one. Or Lena Dunham. JK.
    Reply