Guy Lodge

Freelance critic; screenwriter, Variety

UK/South Africa

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

400 Blows, The


François Truffaut

Bonnie and Clyde


Arthur Penn

Gone with the Wind


Victor Fleming

Hannah and Her Sisters


Woody Allen



Ingmar Bergman

Red Shoes, The


Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger

Spirit of the Beehive, The


Víctor Erice

Three Colours: Red


Krzysztof Kieslowski



Alfred Hitchcock

White Material


Claire Denis


Just this morning I was amused by a reader’s punctuation-challenged comment after a film review: “If critics cant give objective reviews what is the point?” I imagine anyone who presumes subjectivity has no place in film criticism would feel more entitled to name The Ten Greatest Films Of All Time than I do. All I can offer is ten films that, on first acquaintance, showed me something in the medium I hadn’t seen before – and that continue to surprise and excite upon multiple revisits. Whittling the list down to its present form was troubling enough; ranking them any further proved impossible. I’ve long said that Gone With the Wind, an unmatched feat of sustained storytelling, is my favourite film, though it probably has the least claim to singularly astonishing filmmaking of any title on this list. How could one rank it above or below the immaculate likes of Persona and Vertigo, an oddly ideal double-bill I arrived at only after agonising consideration of both directors’ filmographies? How can one compare the jangly candour of Truffaut’s child’s-eye view with the hushed spirituality of Erice’s? And how can one pit either of these finely tuned, eternally expanding miniatures against the novelistic bustle of Allen’s finest hour, or the gasping sensual explosion of Powell and Pressburger at their most romantic? Is it too soon to include White Material, a film whose tingly, tactile construction stunned me as much as its politics reached unnervingly into my own African childhood? Possibly, but after a handful of canon titles reached stalemate for the final spot, I reached for Claire Denis’ film as an investment pick of sorts: if I had no belief in contemporary cinema’s ability to produce films to last, I’d find another line of work.

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