My (Criterion) Top 10 List

The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that publishes “the greatest films from around the world.” (In DVD and Blu-ray formats.)
In other words, if a film gets a “Criterion treatment” then it must be great. Every month, Criterion asks “a friend — a filmmaker, a programmer, a writer, an actor, an artist — to select their ten favorite movies available from the Criterion Collection and jot down their thoughts about them.”

I love their Top 10 Lists, which include lists by Steve Buscemi, Jane Campion, James Franco, Guy Maddin, Paul Schrader, etc. Criterion doesn’t even know I exist so I made my own Top 10 List. I wrote it in alphabetical order, so I wouldn’t have to go insane thinking which film is my most favorite.

#1
CHARADE

Stanley Donen

From Maurice Binder’s glorious title sequence (accompanied by Henry Mancini’s gorgeous music) to the clever denouement; everything about Charade is pure entertainment. And then there’s Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant, two of the classiest actors in the history of cinema. Hepburn’s beauty is enchanting. Most critics call this film as “the best Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never made.”

#2
CHUNGKING EXPRESS
Wong Kar-wai

This film is an enduring favorite of mine. Wong Kar-wai is (probably) the most sentimental filmmaker around. He is such a romanticist. If you love love, Chungking Express is a film for you to see.

#3
CRÍA CUERVOS
Carlos Saura



THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE
Victor Erice



I’ve recently become a fan of Cría cuervos. And the more I think about The Spirit of the Beehive, the more mesmerizing it becomes. Both films captured a different side of childhood most adults don’t (or care not to) know. And both also featured the girl with soulful eyes, Ana Torrent. She’s remarkable in both films.

#4
DIABOLIQUE
Henri-Georges Clouzot

Forget the crappy 1996 remake, this one’s way better. Like 100% better. Hitchcock vied for the right to turn Boileau-Narcejac’s novel into a film, but Clouzot eventually bought the rights.

#5
A GENERATION
Andrzej Wajda

The ending still touches me. Wajda’ feature film debut is a World War II drama. It is also a profoundly moving portrait of youth fighting for freedom in Nazi-occupied Poland.

#6
MODERN TIMES
Charlie Chaplin

Before Mr. Bean there was The Tramp. Charlie Chaplin’s The Tramp is one of the most adorable characters to emerge onscreen. And Charlie Chaplin is undeniably a comedic genius. There are a lot of hilarious moments in this film; my most favorite is the roast duck scene. And the flag scene too!

Modern Times is actually Chaplin’s last “silent” film. This is where the song Smile came from; Chaplin composed the music (which can be heard by the end of the film), then John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons added the lyrics and title in 1954. Watch this and you’ll see why Charlie Chaplin is Charlie Chaplin.

#7
REPULSION
Roman Polanski

Through the eyes of Catherine Deneuve’s Carol, Polanski showed claustrophobia, menace, and sexual repression. Along with The Pianist, Chinatown, and The Ghost Writer, Repulsion is my favorite Polanski film.

#8
SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE
Ingmar Bergman

THE SEVENTH SEAL
Ingmar Bergman

Persona, Scenes from a Marriage, and The Seventh Seal are my top three films by Bergman. Scenes from a Marriage is quite reminiscent of John Cassavetes’ films, most especially Faces. Mainly because it was shot in cinéma vérité style, a filmmaking technique that is usually associated with Cassavetes. I guess Bergman used this method of filmmaking to emphasize the authenticity of his actors’ emotions. And he succeeded in doing so.

Before Sven Nykvist, Bergman worked with Gunnar Fischer. Nykvist was a great cinematographer, so was Fischer. The Seventh Seal is one of Fischer’s finest works. It is also a great example of Bergman’s genius.

#9
SHADOWS
John Cassavetes

Cassavetes’ directorial debut signaled the birth of American indie cinema. Shadows is a heavily improvised film. It was shot on a tight budget, and the audio is not that good; but I love how it captured the candidness of Manhattan. And the scene wherein we see Tony’s true color is, for me, one of cinema’s most intense moments.

#10
Z
Costa-Gavras

Z is one of the bravest films I’ve ever seen. It is not afraid to say, “Any resemblance to real events, to persons living or dead, is not accidental. It is INTENTIONAL.” How I wish Filipino filmmakers can be as fearless as Costa-Gavras.

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