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.
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.
Gary Giddins’s Top 10
In honor of his participation in our release of Louis Malle’s jazzy noir classic Elevator to the Gallows, we invited music critic Gary Giddins to contribute a list of his ten favorite Criterion films.
Chuck Klosterman’s Top 10
Chuck Klosterman is the author of seven books (most recently, The Visible Man and Eating the Dinosaur) and serves as an accidental narrator of the LCD Soundsystem documentary Shut Up and Play the Hits.
William Friedkin’s Top 10
“I discovered Criterion in the late eighties with the laserdisc of Citizen Kane, which I still watch,” writes director William Friedkin, whose films include The French Connection, The Exorcist, Sorcerer, and 2011’s Killer Joe.
Lev Kalman’s Top 10
In this list selected with his filmmaking partner Whitney Horn, the codirector of L for Leisure and Two Plains & a Fancy lingers on the weird and wonderful details in some favorite movies.