Michael Semoff's Top 10

by Michael_Semoff

Created 07/02/12

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Ok, this is extremely difficult and that ofcourse means some ground rules have to be made. First off, I'm only going to include one film per director... and secondly, I'm only going to include titles that I own. Well, here they are:

  • This was a fairly easy decision to make because this set harbors three of my favorite films of all time... and in the best quality imaginable. There's films I love and then there's films that completely change the way I look at cinema; these three Kieslowski masterpieces did just that.

  • "Do the Right Thing" was one of the first Criterions I ever purchased. I watched it about 10 times that summer and I still watch it on a regular basis. Spike Lee created a rarity; a film that is entertaining, funny, sweet, visually stylish, and also the most powerful and incendiary statement on race relations ever committed to film. Timeless.

  • Jean-Pierre Melville proved that style-over-substance is nothing to scoff at. In fact he made cinematic style an art form. "Le Samourai" is his best film, featuring an unforgettable performance from Delon. Still the coolest movie ever.

  • There are few films I like more than those of the dark, british underworld variety, and "Mona Lisa" is one of my favorites. It's brooding and atmosphereic sure, but also filled with a dank authenticity and honest emotion. Bob Hoskins is outstanding.

  • A film with a lot to say about a certain place at a certain time (Paris in the 90s), but at face value it's a terrific and hip character drama with wide appeal that will never age. Kassovitz set out to make a small black and white film about a group of misfits and with that shoe-string budget created a landmark of international cinema.

  • "Fish Tank" became an instant favorite of mine, right from the first viewing. It's an unflinching, intense character study, but one riddled with hope. It's pretty much perfect. Also included on the disc are some great short films by Andrea Arnold that are worth a look (most notably the Oscar winning "Wasp").

  • I had seen a few Fellini's beforehand, but it was upon watching "Amarcord" that Fellini became one of my favorite all-time filmmakers. The colors, the sets, the cinematography; Fellini was a true visionary and "Amarcord" is the height and epitome of his excess. It's also a lot of fun.

  • Few films have affected me on such a personal level. I went through a very (re: eerily) similar situation to that of the characters in "Summer Hours," and as such it has taken a life of it's own in my Collection. As a film, Assayas has created one of best meditations on family and loss I've ever seen... but my personal attachment to it is much greater.

  • I love Wes Anderson and I love "Rushmore." I usually go back and forth on which of his films is my favorite, but since "Rushmore" has the single best character in any of his films... I'll go with that.

  • Jim Jarmusch makes films like no one else. His brand of layed-back, leisurely pacing should feel slow and plodding, but he always makes every frame pulse with energy even when his characters are doing... nothing at all. I find "Night on Earth" fascinating in every way. The simple interactions between these ordinary people, within the confines of taxi cabs around the globe, are as involving as anything else cinema has to offer. Most importantly, this is the one Jarmusch I could watch all the time and not get tired of.