Ozu’s beautiful wee silent masterpiece about childhood, brotherhood and learning about how to negotiate fathers and learn the rules of the game.
Roberto Rossellini, Italy 1954
One of the most elliptical and mesmerising films I know. George Sanders and Ingrid Bergman caught in a landscape of alienation – from each other, from southern Italy: a study in inarticulacy, loneliness and longing, built on a radiant belief in miracles.
Jean Cocteau, France 1946
Cocteau’s resplendent fairy tale. Images you will never forget. The chandelier arms, the transcendent beauty of Jean Marais, the pearl of a drop of dew on a rose. Pure magic.
Fritz Lang, Germany 1931
Fritz Lang’s first sound film. The German Expressionist cine-temple. Peter Lorre as a child-murderer, Berlin 1931. A chase. A capture. Maybe the original psychological thriller: it implicates us all. Mercilessly tough and unforgettably wise.
Pier Paolo Pasolini, Italy 1970
For Pasolini’s monumental/barbaric/visionary touch, for Cappadocia’s timelessly savage landscape, for Piero Tosi’s jaw-dropping primeval costumes, for Maria Callas’s profile. A film inspired by Euripides that feels like it was dug up from inside an ancient tomb, shot in 1968. Wild.
6. My Childhood / My Ain Folk / My Way Home
Bill Douglas, UK 1973 / 1974 / 1979
The masterpiece that is Bill Douglas’s autobiographical trilogy – a proper Scottish cultural treasure.
I once heard that Scots politicians took it abroad with them as their diplomatic gift. If that’s not true, it’s certainly an idea.
Alain Guiraudie, France 2013
Exquisitely atmospheric summer cruising. Boys looking for boys and the idyll of abandon. A breathtakingly swoony study in wicked tension, the romance of danger and real erotic yearning.
8. Tokyo Story
Ozu Yasujiro, Japan 1953
Possibly Ozu’s most famous work. Magisterial. The final journey of elderly parents to each of their grown children in turn. The heartbreak of generational disconnection and the inescapable tenderness of familial bonds, the comfort of human ritual and the inevitable turn of the Great Wheel. Profoundly moving.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand et al 2010
Apichatpong’s Palme d’Or-winning dream of ghosts and monkey spirits in the Thai jungle. Slow cinema at its most immersive, lateral and resonant. It’s possible to believe you dreamed Apichatpong’s films after you see them… they certainly take you somewhere you’ve never been before on this earth. Don’t hurry back!