Martin Botha

Professor of Film Studies, University of Cape Town

South Africa

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Apocalypse Now


Francis Ford Coppola

Barry Lyndon


Stanley Kubrick

Cries and Whispers


Ingmar Bergman

Days of Heaven


Terrence Malick

Death in Venice


Luchino Visconti

Fanny and Alexander


Ingmar Bergman



Andrei Tarkovsky



Akira Kurosawa

Thin Red Line, The


Terrence Malick

Three Colours: Blue


Krzysztof Kieslowski


Lists are ultimately subjective. I initially considered a list of films that would represent the ‘most important’ in film history, such as great work from the silent era by Eisenstein and/or Chaplin; features such as Citizen Kane, Rules of the Game, and the other titles that have dominated Sight & Sound polls since 1952. I am teaching international film history and have studied these films. Many of them do represent the aesthetic pinnacles of achievement, but in a strange way my admiration for Welles, Renoir and Eisenstein remains purely cognitive. The ten films in my list had the biggest impact on my view of cinema as an artform, as a means for directorial self-expression, in essence a cinema of auteurs that moved me on an intellectual and emotional level. I would have loved to add a few more: The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (Werner Herzog), The Tree of Wooden Clogs (Olmi), Hyenas (Mambety), Mother and Son (Sokurov) and the wonderful Apu Trilogy (Satyajit Ray).

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