Stephen Cone’s Top 10

Stephen Cone’s Top10

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.

Oct 24, 2017
  • 1 (tie)

    John Cassavetes


  • John Cassavetes


  • John Cassavetes

    A Woman Under the Influence

  • John Cassavetes

    The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

  • John Cassavetes

    Opening Night

  • John Cassavetes

    Love Streams

    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.

  • 2

    Terence Davies

    The Long Day Closes

    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.

  • 3

    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    Quite possibly the key visual-historical document of the twentieth century, and a monumentally great movie to boot.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.

  • 4

    David Lynch

    Mulholland Dr.

    The Great American Movie.

  • 5

    Jean Renoir

    French Cancan

    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.

  • 6

    James L. Brooks

    Broadcast News

    This movie is perfect.

  • 7 (tie)

    Terrence Malick

    Days of Heaven

  • Terrence Malick

    The Thin Red Line

  • Terrence Malick

    The New World

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

  • 8 (tie)

    Carl Th. Dreyer

    Day of Wrath

  • Carl Th. Dreyer


  • Carl Th. Dreyer


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

  • 9

    David Fincher

    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    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.

  • 10 (tie)

    Abbas Kiarostami


  • Arnaud Desplechin

    A Christmas Tale

  • Jonathan Demme

    Something Wild

  • John Ford

    My Darling Clementine

  • Chantal Akerman

    News from Home

    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.