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Here are ten Criterion titles that, in my humble opinion, are absolutely essential to own.
The greatest horror film ever made, the greatest film ever made about the Holocaust, and Pasolini's magnum opus. May he rest in peace.
Are you a fan of The Hit, The Killer, The American, or Drive? Then you'll love this film, the granddaddy of the stoic assassin subgenre.
The best adaptation of Orwell's 1984 that we will ever see.
The ending brings me to tears every time. One of the finest bromances and a beautiful "bullet ballet". Definitely worth paying $20-40 for the OOP DVD.
Another OOP title, this one among the finest science fiction films of the 1980s and full of merciless, mirthful satire and gun-blazing violence. The epitome of Verhoeven's American films.
The best film ever made about mothers, by the pioneering Chantal Akerman, a Belgian lady who helped invent contemplative cinema and gave Delphine Seyrig arguably her best role. Long and slow, yes, but never boring.
Chaplin's finest hour and thirty-six minutes. Very funny and with a love story that will melt your heart.
Lang's best film, with the definitive Lorre performance as the paranoid, perverse, persecuted Hans Beckert. Otto Wernecke gives a stellar supporting performance as Lohmann, and the climax with the kangaroo court is unforgettable.
Worth owning for L'Atalante alone, as it's among the finest and most influential of pre-war French films. The other films aren't bad either - I've not seen A Propos de Nice, but Jean Taris is a cool curiosity and Zero de Conduite is a delightful entry in the subgenre of subversive cinema.
While the main feature is wonderful - a post-Hitchcock psychological thriller - the real gem here is The Fat and the Lean, one of Polanski's student films and the one that most accurately captures, through the use of metaphor, his sexuality and his feelings about it.