Briony Hanson

Director of film, British Council


Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Arbor, The


Clio Barnard

Don't Look Now


Nicolas Roeg

Far From Heaven


Todd Haynes



Joel & Ethan Coen



Thomas Vinterberg



Charles Vidor

Hannah and Her Sisters


Woody Allen

In The Mood For Love


Wong Kar Wai

Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles


Chantal Akerman



Ken Loach


In an effort to combat the rabbit-in-the-headlights effect of trying to compile such a list, I opted to go for films that have had the biggest impact on me. All of them have hit me at a seminal moment and helped to suck me into a life in film that I have not been able to walk away from. Gilda was one of so many late-night secret TV viewings as a teen, but was the one that introduced me to real star power from the second that Rita Hayworth flung her hair into the frame; Jeanne Dielman, first seen at college, shocked me with a new language and showed me the power of a form that could make me literally shout out just because someone hadn’t flicked a light switch; Todd Haynes’ entire output – even when it’s flawed – has somehow altered my very core, never more so than in Far From Heaven, with the audacity of dressing a group of characters as autumn leaves (with help from the brilliant Brit costumier Sandy Powell); films from Thomas Vinterberg, Woody Allen, the Coens and Wong Kar Wei have almost killed me with beauty, emotion, wit and an ability to take me out of myself and catapault me into a whole new world. My current job is focused entirely on British films – the three I’ve chosen here show the span of what we can do when we really want to: Ken Loach, never better than when ripping our heart out with that kid and that kestral; Nik Roeg making the link between the real and the surreal seem perfectly natural; and Clio Barnard, one of the greatest new voices of UK cinema, turning all our expectations on their heads and making me so excited about what might come next.

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