The more I rewatch it, the more I love cinema, and the less I understand it. Few films have managed to morph into cinema itself. Contempt is cinema found, it’s cinema experienced like a sunset on the world.
The Magnificent Ambersons
The Magnificent Ambersons is the most important of films for a director. It’s because of Welles, because he repeats to us, again and again, that cinema and childhood go hand in hand. And that theater is the birth of cinema.
The film that was my youth. That looked upon it, initiated it, comforted it. It’s Chungking Express that taught me to love badly. And to eat canned pineapples.
I fell in love with Lola when I was twelve. I fell in love with Anouk Aimée, with all the characters, with Nantes, with Jacques Demy, with cinema. Lola isn’t anything much, just a woman who walks the streets of a ghost town. But that walk speaks of beauty, and the end of beauty. That walk says everything about the vain effort of filming.
Jules and Jim
Truffaut is French cinema all by himself. He is Renoir, Vigo, Guitry. He is also Balzac, Stendhal, Proust. He is the true Eiffel Tower of France.
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom
Perhaps that which we called modernity in Europe died here, in this film in ruins. In any case, modern cinema certainly did. Afterward, we had to make do with the shadow that film cast.
The Awful Truth
Grant, money, and adultery: the American trinity.
Gus Van Sant
My Own Private Idaho
Characters and film alike seem to search for masters over which to reign. Everything is at once soft and poisonous, clear and uncertain. Sensual and cold. It is all irresistible.
A film to live in. A film in which I can spend evenings and afternoons smoking, reading and sleeping. I’ve tried a hundred times to remake a Jarmusch tracking shot, I’ve never gotten close. They move at a speed that belongs only to him. Jarmusch is the metronome of a precious melancholy.
I dream to one day succeed at making a film as profound, nonchalant, intelligent, and delicate as Yi Yi. A film like the end of an afternoon observed and imagined behind the windowpane of a mall café.
Johnnie To’s Top 10
Prolific Hong Kong filmmaker Johnnie To has directed more than forty films, including Election, Exiled, and Mad Detective. His latest, Vengeance, is currently in some North American theaters, from IFC Films.
André Gregory and Wallace Shawn’s Top 10
Theater directors, filmmakers, writers, actors, and longtime friends André Gregory and Wallace Shawn have collaborated on three movies together: My Dinner with André (1981), Vanya on 42nd Street (1994), and A Master Builder (2014).
James Schamus’s Top 10
James Schamus is the former CEO of Focus Features; the producer of, among other films, Ride with the Devil (1999) and Brokeback Mountain (2005); the screenwriter and producer of The Ice Storm (1997); and a professor of professional practice at Columb…