Martin Koolhoven

Bonkers; Winter in Wartime

Netherlands

Voted in the directors’ poll

Voted for

Amarcord

1972

Federico Fellini

Blade Runner

1982

Ridley Scott

Citizen Kane

1941

Orson Welles

Duck You Sucker

1971

Sergio Leone

Once Upon a Time in America

1983

Sergio Leone

Once Upon a Time in the West

1968

Sergio Leone

Seven Samurai

1954

Akira Kurosawa

Some Like It Hot

1959

Billy Wilder

Thing, The

1982

John Carpenter

Touch of Evil

1958

Orson Welles

Comments

It was very, very hard to narrow it down to a top ten. And the nearer I got, the less exotic the list became. I had to fight my ego; did I want to look original (and put in a poliziesco or a giallo) or was I going to be truthful? In the end my conscience won. Only one really surprising title, I guess. Some will frown at the choice of A Fistful of Dynamite but no matter what people can say against it, I love the film. It speaks to me. I don’t care what the best movies are, I am giving a list of the movies that I love most.

Amarcord: Fellini is walking on sunshine in this perfect celebration of his youth. I saw the movie for the first time as a young boy and, phew, those enormous breasts of the buxom tobacco saleswoman (played Maria Antonietta Beluzzi) made an impression.

Blade Runner: After this movie, every science-fiction filmmaker had to ask himself, do I want my movie to look like Blade Runner or do I go a completely different way? A hinge movie in terms of style, then, but one that intelligently talks about the great questions of life. Rutger Hauer was never better than here. This is one of those rare movies that make you cry for the villain.

Once Upon a Time in the West: Sergio Leone set out to make the western to end all westerns and he succeeded. Recently people have started to think that television series can be as great as cinema. Sure, I like Deadwood, but it’s Sesame Street compared to this. Recently somebody told me that good television is about the small things in life and good cinema is about the great things. I think he is right. This movie is about the great and important things in life, in a grandiose way. Ambition is good.

Citizen Kane: It’s hard to grasp how shockingly original this movie must have been back in ’41. But even without the shock value this movie is a tour de force by the ridiculously young Orson Welles.

Giù la testa: Leone did not necessarily want to direct this one himself and some of the stories about the troubled production made it far too easy to dismiss the movie as one of his minor works. At first the movie seems political, but it is more a movie about friendship. And no matter what the stories are, to me it feels like a labour of love, a movie from the gut. I saw it many times, but when I showed the new, restored and uncut (!) 35 mm print to an audience I realised that this was probably the most underrated film of all time.

Once Upon a Time in America: I did not set out to put three Leone movies in the top ten (and I should be scorned for omitting Hitchcock, Peckinpah and Kubrick) but I just couldn’t let go of his so called ‘America Trilogy’. The word ‘epic’ is being used very easily nowadays, but these movies truly are. Robert de Niro and James Woods are electric, Ennio Morricone brilliant, and one weeps for what Leone could have done with Stalingrad, the movie he was planning to make when he died.

Seven Samurai: Kurosawa has influenced many great directors and this particular movie has been the blueprint of many action adventure films. Alas, most of them lack the intelligence of this one.

Some Like it Hot: The best comedy of all time. I don’t know how often I have seen it, but it is impossible not to see the whole thing when you accidentally come across it on TV. Anybody who does not like this movie has to be a sour individual with serious issues. A psychiatrist is probably too late, I’m afraid. Billy Wilder was one of the greatest ever. He could do it all.

The Thing: The proof that remaking a classic masterpiece does not necessarily have to be bad news. Carpenter went back to the original story by John W. Campbell and made this smart, macho horror movie filled with paranoia.

Touch of Evil: The second Orson Welles movie in my list. Citizen Kane is his most acclaimed work but personally I love this one even more. The story has its wonderful pulpy aspects but Welles gives it tremendous ambivalence and depth. Directed with great gusto, awesome photography and wonderful music by the great Henry Mancini.

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