(Editor’s note: Sight & Sound magazine recently published the newest edition of their esteemed poll of the “greatest films of all time” and we thought it will be interesting to ask our own writers about which ten films they consider as the greatest. Personal favorites? Most Influential? There is no criterion for their choices. Here is the top 10 list from our former writer David Stiles.)
These are not in any particular order. (David Stiles)
A Separation (2011, dir. Asghar Farhadi, Iran)
The “separation” in the film’s title is merely one instance in a profound meditation on all kinds of separation.
The Headless Woman (2008, dir. Lucrecia Martel, Argentina)
Seldom have I seen a film with such subtlety. It is a devastating critique of both class society and bourgeois culture yet abstains from self-righteousness.
The Bad Sleep Well (1960, dir. Akira Kurosawa, Japan)
An intricate and flawlessly plotted revenge film against a backdrop of corporate malfeasance.
Branded to Kill (1967, dir. Seijun Suzuki, Japan)
I love action films but they rarely rise to such a level. This film demonstrates that an excellent action film does not require a large budget and digital animation.
Wild at Heart (1990, dir. David Lynch, USA)
A road movie that critiques a peculiarly American individualism. It is also hilarious.
The Match Factory Girl (1990, dir. Aki Kaurismaki, Finland)
A comedy of genuine seriousness that portrays the beauty of an ordinary life.
A Man Escaped (1956, dir. Robert Bresson, France)
Simply the best prison escape movie.
M (1931, dir. Fritz Lang, Germany)
No film better captures the paranoia of the interwar period in Germany. I feel ill at ease just remembering this film.
In the Mood for Love (2000, dir. Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong)
A tale of unrequited love unlike our home-grown saccharine variety.
Breathless (1960, dir. Jean Luc Godard, France)
I am always impressed by how this film shot in 1959 Paris never seems dated. Though Godard has made many better and more complex films, this is one to which I continually return.