Bruce's Favorite Films

These are the films that made me <3
Insta @thedanceofcinema / @bruce_tetsuya
www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhgmQ4vZ8v8

  • Maborosi

    1.Maborosi

    ★★★★★

    Cinema is nothing more than light. And for my entire life, I have been drawn to it. Hypnotized, awed, and beckoned by it. It is an elusive power, and still a relatively young medium - films with sound haven't even existed for 100 years yet. But for as long as it has been around, we have been utterly transfixed by it. An illusion, to be sure - how can flickering images from projected light cause such emotional responses? reactions that have the ability to move us, to change us... Maborosi translates literally to "phantasmic light", or more accurately in Japanese, "a trick of the light". In the film, it is about a strange light phenomenon, but to me, it is about the art of moving image itself. Cinema, a trick of the light.

    Maborosi is like a film I've dreamed of making before. Watching it for the first time, was a religious experience for me. The only times before this, when my definition for what cinema could be, was shaken so radically, was with entries 2 & 3: Seven Samurai, and The Tree of Life. And while yes, those two have been a formative part of my life for longer, I…

  • Seven Samurai

    2.Seven Samurai

    ★★★★★

    Formerly (and could be again) my number one film. The first and greatest action film ever made. Objectively perfect. Every single frame is crafted with the utmost amount of passion and love for cinema. akira Kurosawa, the greatest director of all time, showcases his mastery for the arts of composition, movement, and power in the edit. Toshiro Mifune became my favorite actor of all time because of this single role as Kikuchiyo, and he remains to be one of my greatest heroes.

    Seven Samurai was one of the first movies to lead me into a career in filmmaking. Growing up the only Japanese kid at my school in the midwest US, it was imperative for me to have films like this in my life, and in the cultural zeitgeist, which reassured me of my own voice. Seven Samurai has remained in the cinematic conversation for 7 decades for a reason. This is a timeless story of Human Nature, Resilience, & Self-Sacrifice. The films Kurosawa produced in this post-WWII era alongside Kobayashi, Mizoguchi, Ozu, and Honda, were all radical statements in world cinema - taking strong political stances against the war, which was forbidden during the US occupation (ended in 1952). Kurosawa…

  • The Tree of Life

    3.The Tree of Life

    ★★★★★

    Until only a few months ago, my favorite film of all time. Honestly, these final three entries might as well be tied though, as each of them represents an absolutely immovable piece of my being & soul.

    On a technical and historical level, The Tree of Life is the culmination of the innovations in cinematography, scale, and direction in cinema before it. On a personal level though, this film represents everything I've ever needed to hear / learn about grief. memories, childhood, parenthood, religion, science, love, hate, life, death, darkness, light, creation, destruction, nature, and grace...

    This film could only ever exist as a film, and to me, that’s the true purpose of cinema. To tell a story or illustrate a feeling that can’t be told any other way.

  • Spirited Away

    4.Spirited Away

    ★★★★★

    The greatest animated film ever made (undoubtedly in my opinion). Miyazaki's magnum opus. Everything about this film is endlessly imaginative, beautiful, and ultimately significant, for lack of a better term, in my life. I grew up watching this film, most weekends at my grandparents' house, and on certain afternoons when my existential 10 year old self desired to transcend to a higher plane of reality lmao. there is something so utterly magical about the painstaking hand drawn animation, and fever dreamish characters / settings. I always loved it for its concept and gorgeous aesthetics, but rewatching it as I grew up made me realize I also loved it for its depth and symbolic weight just as much. I used to be pretty terrified of this movie actually, but in a fascinated / morbid curiosity type of way, more so than pure fear itself. the idea of losing my parents (or having them turned into pigs) and being lost in an unknown world was pretty much the scariest thing I could imagine. It still is. Spirited Away is one of the single greatest coming of age films ever made. I owe a lot to this movie.

  • Tampopo

    5.Tampopo

    ★★★★★

    A love letter to epicures; an ode to both the culinary arts, and the medium of filmmaking (which happen to be the two things dearest to my heart). Tampopo has no limitations in its creativity, and it's very clear upon a second watch that director Juzo Itami knew he could make whatever he wanted; take any liberties with conventions, throw genre clichés into the mix while still coming off as utterly original, yet still end up with a final product that feels whole and true. The direction is easy to look past with all the beautiful sound design and full color palette to take in, but the use of hidden long takes and blocking is actually quite masterful. Every role is perfectly cast. Especially Koji Yakusho as the Man in the White Suit. Tampopo cannot be confined by genre. It's a comedy, it's a romance, it's action, drama, adventure, noir, western, gangster, and even has a touch of jidaigeki for good measure. But somehow, no single facet takes over the balance. Like a good bowl of ramen, every scene is perfectly placed, and there isn't a single moment you can remove from the film without lessening its impact. In fact,…

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  • Frances Ha

    6.Frances Ha

    ★★★★★

    This is my go-to movie when I'm feeling blue. I'm not sure why, because at its core, it's actually kind of a sad story, but the way it's presented, makes me feel like everything will be okay. I'm pretty sure i watched this like 20 times in the year that i moved to nyc... it made me feel like i wasn't alone. Greta Gerwig embodies Frances so well, and her charisma (or lack thereof) really makes this film what it is. It's charming, awkward, sweet, and just beautiful in its minimalistic approach. Everything just feels so real, yet still maintains a sense of performative boundary, which is a testament to gerwig & Baumbach's amazing writing. It's endlessly relatable (at least to me), and while it has its serious moments, it also isn't afraid to poke fun at itself. The meandering nature of the film is a call back to french new wave, where characters are the main draw, and what they're actually doing could really be anything. But the film wouldn't work if it was simply a copy of films before it, like Jules & Jim, or mauvais sang, or manhattan (yuck). It brings its own sense of contemporary flare, and in…

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  • Landscape in the Mist

    7.Landscape in the Mist

    ★★★★★

    A slow moving, one-of-a-kind masterpiece... It cuts only when it needs to. characters speak only when they need to. the camera moves, only when it needs to. every waking second of this sprawling odyssey is natural yet absolutely intentional, making for one of the most stunning experiences i've ever had watching a film. as i've said in the past, angelopoulos is a master of the long take, in such a way where it never feels gimmicky or unmotivated. he captures the world as it was meant to be, and seemingly as a higher power willed it to be. when first recommending angelopoulos films to people, i almost want to describe him as a greek tarkovsky, for how he composes and moves the camera. but i know even that is not entirely right. theo was his own master, of the craft. instead of feeling like a dream, his films are something in between reality and that mystical space. "I'm a snail slithering away into nothingness... I don't know where I'm going. Once I thought I knew."

  • The Empire Strikes Back

    8.The Empire Strikes Back

    ★★★★★

    Everything I need to say about this film, I've either already said iN previous posts, stemming back far before the top 200 list began... It would take days upon days to explain what this saga truly means to me... so i'll keep it brief. i love star wars because of what it means in my family. these original 3 films were some of the very first films I saw, and all thanks to my dad. this is a generational story, which i'm sure so many of you relate to as well. more about family, star wars is an allegory. it's the prodigal son, and for lack of a better term, vader is kind of like space jesus... there is so much imagery about sacrifice and rebirth ingrained in this film. it comes full circle, from episode 1, where a son is taken from his mother, to episode 9, where a son is returned to his mother, albeit, in the afterlife. this entry is just as much an entry for a new hope and return of the jedi... The characters, the vast and expansive story... It's all become part of who I am. Star Wars, having come from Lucas' love for Japanese cinema / culture, also invests me further, in my more recent years. Star Wars is in my blood, and forever it shall remain.

  • Children of Men

    9.Children of Men

    ★★★★★

    Cuarón's masterpiece. The dream-like camera work and impeccable direction makes this one of the most technically impressive films I've ever seen. I revisit this film every time I'm about to direct a new project, just to see all the intricacies and masterful components of movement and composition that go into each shot. this film was a spiritual awakening for me. the first friend i ever met at film school showed me this, in my dorm room, on a tiny screen. but i was utterly transfixed. children of men shook my very definition of what cinema could be. with its mix of long take and borderline documentary handheld style in the third act... This is a perfect film, and similar to my Number 10 entry yesterday, used to hold my number one spot of all time.

  • No Country for Old Men

    10.No Country for Old Men

    ★★★★★

    One of the few films I can feel confident calling objectively perfect. Every single cut and beat are intentional; there isn't a single frame out of place. Formerly my number one film on this list, No Country for Old Men is packed to the brim with philosophies and allegories. Oddly enough, the film is very anti-violence, shown in its objective portrayal of evil through the cinematography and Chigurh's actions - never sensationalized. The performances are all perfectly cast and performed as well. There is no soundtrack because it doesn't need one. Every single breath can be heard, every stare felt, and this film is just perfection in every sense of the word.

  • Throne of Blood

    11.Throne of Blood

    ★★★★★

    Well... Not sure how exactly we're already here, at the gate of the Top 10... Tomorrow, we visit the 10 films that have meant the most to me, but today, we celebrate this masterpiece from my hero, Akira Kurosawa. Throne of Blood is Kurosawa's take on the tale of Macbeth, and is in my opinion, the greatest adaptation of any Shakespeare work to date, in any medium. This film is beautiful, and the light & shadows look absolutely amazing in black and white. Kurosawa proves again with Throne of Blood, his mastery of composition and camera movement. This film is slow burn until the very end, which stands to be one of my favorite endings in movie history, only topped by tomorrow's entry ending... Anyway, I say it every time he's in an Entry, but Toshiro Mifune is God, and I hope you all have a wonderful day.

  • Kiki's Delivery Service

    12.Kiki's Delivery Service

    ★★★★★

    My heart is full. I feel like I can take on any challenge after watching this film. One of the earliest films I remember seeing as a kid, and it's only grown more personal to me as the years have ticked on by. And the meaning it has to me has evolved too. In 2019, I moved New York City, a completely new place to me, to pursue my craft with no real plan ahead. I really relate to Kiki's spirit, determination, and also the lows of being abroad and away from home & family. I've since left that city, but Kiki's Delivery Service will always hold a special place in my heart, as a reminder for how feeling anxious and alone is a wholly universal experience when moving to a new place, pursuing your dreams. Also, the bittersweet end of Kiki no longer being able to talk with Jiji always makes me cry. Miyazaki-san, ありがと. Side note, but this is also one of the worst English dubs out of any of the Ghibli collection. If you watch the English dub, we aren't friends. Always watch films in the language they were made in. Please.

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  • Godzilla

    13.Godzilla

    ★★★★★

    Godzilla was my very first exposure to cinema. My family, coming from Japan, also had a history with the King of Monsters, before I got into it. Godzilla is a disaster movie on the surface but is a hauntingly beautiful metaphor for the people of Japan in a post-Hiroshima and Nagasaki world. The film is all about perspective; it allows the viewer to feel the post-war fears and anxieties of the ordinary people involved in these tragedies. This movie was meant to be a cathartic release, something that could allow us to reimagine our history and learn from a tragic wartime experience. This was the first movie that made me realize that film had the potential to be more than just entertainment, but could be significant both as art and a social force. Until 1952, Japan was living under post-war American occupation, which censored any media discussion about the war. The nation was being reborn as a democratic, peaceful society. In tandem with its societal rebirth, Japan also entered its “Golden Age” of cinema, with the introduction of Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, Ozu, and Ishirô Honda, who eventually made Gojira.

    “Godzilla was baptized in the fire of the H-bomb and survived. What…

  • Yojimbo

    14.Yojimbo

    ★★★★★

    Indisputably, the COOLEST fucking movie ever made. Toshiro Mifune is the GOAT. No discussion. Agh. I just can't get enough of this iconic duo, of Kurosawa & Mifune. The Emperor & The Wolf... I would give anything to see this movie for the first time again. It's simply perfect. Never tries to be anything more than it is, just a flawless Jidaigeki film. Pretty much invented the character archetype of the roaming rogue. The Ronin. I mean, there's so many things Kurosawa did first, and whose waves of sheer influence still echo throughout cinema of today. Let's be honest. Leone would not exist without this film. A lot of cinema wouldn't be the same without it. Myself included. Toshiro, as a symbol for Japanese Strength and worldwide respect, has always meant a great deal to me. He's always been the one figure who I am reminded by, that I too deserve to have a presence in film, even if that's behind the camera.

  • Grave of the Fireflies

    15.Grave of the Fireflies

    ★★★★★

    Out of all the entries so far, this is the one I've been dreading. Had an immensely hard time even putting my feelings of this incredible film into words... Grave of the Fireflies is one of, if not the most depressing films I've ever seen. Being an older brother to a little sister, seeing this film and putting myself into their shoes makes the experience even more harrowing. When I watch this, I have to really focus on seeing the characters. If I let my mind slip, I begin to see myself. I see my little sister. My grandparents, and their parents. I see my country. The hand drawn frames fade away, and all I feel are searing heat, and tears stinging my eyes. In fact, if this film weren't animated, there's no way I'd love it the way I do. The hand drawn aesthetic creates just enough separation from reality for me to stomach the atrocities which unfold. I have seen hours of archival footage of real victims of the bombings, for my honors thesis at Uni. Obviously, my pain isn't even close to the pain felt by those immediately effected, but it's still imagery I never wish to…

  • Interstellar

    16.Interstellar

    ★★★★★

    Nolan's masterpiece. I can't understand how so many people call this movie "passable" or "average" What the fuck lol. I honestly feel sad for those who didn't take anything away from this film. Seeing it in IMAX for my first viewing definitely helped, but damn, this film just means so much to me. Zimmer's score, Hoytema's visual work, and the performances are all fantastic (McConaughey's best aside from True Detective IMO). There is so much hidden meaning packed into the film aside from it being a cautionary tale. It's about religion, purpose on an existential level, time, and about the death of film itself. I still remember the first time I saw it in theaters. After the credits rolled, I walked outside and looked up at the sky. I just remember feeling so small and almost insignificant; but somehow, that was comforting to me. My favorite detail about this, was the working title pre-release: Flora's Letter. This film was dedicated to his daughter Flora. From Father to Child. An allegory of sorts, and an apology for his distance while working on the Batman trilogy. Often it does feel like going on an odyssey when embarking on a new film.

  • Possession

    17.Possession

    ★★★★★

    What a fucking experience this was... I still don't quite have the words to describe this film. But we can start with the director Andrzej Zulawski (On the Silver Globe, The Devil, The Most Important Thing: Love). He was famous for going against totalitarism, populism, sexism and mainstream commercialism in his films. After his film The Devil was banned from his home country of Poland, he moved to France. On the Silver Globe also showed on my Top 200 list, which had its own share of controversy with Poland. I think it's pretty agreed upon that Zulawski's crowning achievement is his 1981 horror opus, Possession. This is not your typical horror film. It is genuinely terrifying, and with some Lovecraftian elements, it is a brutal and visceral examination of religion and sexuality (with political undertones of course...) The main reason I love this film so much though, is because Isabelle Adjani gives one of the GREATEST performances of all time here. Keep an eye out for her in my upcoming Greatest Performances Series... Anyway, yeah. Possession is weird, and chaotic, but ultimately, kind of cathartic...

  • Shoplifters

    18.Shoplifters

    ★★★★★

    I have never cried harder at a film. Hirokazu Koreeda solidified himself as my favorite working director with this 2019 masterpiece. I've seen it 4 times, and loved it even more with each viewing. Sakura Ando should have won Best Actress for this role, my god. The entire cast, honestly. All so real and present. Part of the reason I resonate so much with this film and story (aside from being Japanese, and loving every single food / family scene in the movie), is because the younger sister character, Yuri, reminds me SO much of my little sister. Every scene of this film is so natural, yet masterfully crafted at the same time. Koreeda's background in documentary surely informed some of the way this film was framed. But there is also an intangible air of intentionality. I am always mystified by his directing style. How on Earth is he able to create such honest portraits? The Modern GOAT.

  • Mirror

    19.Mirror

    ★★★★★

    Cue Johann Sebastian Bach's St. John Passion... This god tier work of art has already been cemented as one of THE greats of all time. Personally, my favorite Tarkovsky as of now, although Stalker often gives it a run for its money... This most personal film by the Russian Master, who I've learned so much from, is timeless. Every single moment is filled with meditative and hypnotic beauty. From a floating woman, to a burning building, to visions of the future, to the way the wind blows as a stranger approaches... I can't quite put into words how special this film really is, so I'll let Tarkovsky himself describe it: "It is about a Man. No, not the particular man whose voice we hear from behind the screen. It's a film about you, your father, your grandfather, about someone who will live after you and who is still "you". And thus, we arrive at the title. Mirror. Zerkalo. This film is a reflection.

  • The Nightmare Before Christmas

    20.The Nightmare Before Christmas

    ★★★★★

    I believe this was my FIRST "favorite movie" ever. I grew up watching this film every Halloween, every Christmas, and multiple other times in between, just because I loved it so much. I've never been into animating myself (live action filmmaking is definitely where I live...) but I've always loved and respected the medium just as much... The stop motion work in this film was so ahead of its time, and it still looks incredible even by today's standards. I still know every word to every song, and can quote nearly the entire movie verbatim. Something else that's interesting is the religious allegories within the film. The song "Jack's Obsession" dives into the ideas of spreading ones own beliefs, and also borrowing the best of others. "Just because I cannot see it, doesn't mean I can't believe it!" The film is about hope, false hope, and eventual solace. Thank you Tim Burton & team for bringing me such a large & formative part of my childhood.

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    21.Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    ★★★★★

    This film brought out the deepest love I have for cinema. The Force Awakens, so fittingly named, reminded me how much I loved the experience of cinema, as much as I love the craft. It reminded me that there is more to look forward to and love than the film itself, but as established in the landmark of filmic narrative of Episode V, there exists a story and passion for its world beyond the first and last frame. I have never been so excited to see a film in theaters, and I will never forget the feeling of pure joy I had while seeing it. TFA has been criticized for relying too heavily on fan service and nostalgia, which I couldn't disagree with more. To me, nostalgia is the most powerful feeling a human can experience, and is a concept I often explore in my own films. TFA learned from the mistakes of the Prequel Trilogy while remembering what made the originals so great. The original cast we know and love is joined by some truly fantastic new characters in Rey and Kylo Ren. This is a Hollywood blockbuster on the surface, but deep down is a heartfelt love letter…

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  • The Florida Project

    22.The Florida Project

    ★★★★★

    Going into this film, I had no idea how much it would affect me. Everything about the film is just beautiful. One of the most realistic and fantastic child performances I've ever seen from Brooklyn Prince. I love it all; the super saturated, colors (god bless that analog amirite) and the smooth, low angle shots, showing us this story from a vantage point not often explored - 90% of it is shot from a child's perspective, allowing us to reminisce about that nostalgic and romanticized view of the world. And I adore the meandering story, until the last 15 minutes, when the reality of the situation comes crashing down on all the characters we've grown to love. This film is both heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. I cry EVERY time I watch this film. It's just a beautiful sentiment about resilience and coming of age.

  • Spencer

    23.Spencer

    ★★★★★

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  • Ex Machina

    24.Ex Machina

    ★★★★★

    "God is dead. And we have killed him. What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet known has bled to death under our knives. God is dead; but given the way of men, there may still be caves for thousands of years in which his shadow will be shown." Friedrich Nietzsche. Ex Machina is, in my eyes, one of the best films of the decade, first of all, for being a top tier sci-fi, but also for the many allegories it embodies. Plato's The Allegory of the Cave is perhaps the most prevalent, especially with that unbelievable final shot... But the film also explores imagery of The Garden of Eden, and ideas of what makes us human, the place of AI, and feminine happiness.

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  • Her

    25.Her

    ★★★★★

    One of the most personal films on my list. HER was able to affect me in a way that no other film has. Technically speaking, this film is mindbogglingly good - from the simple use of voice over to deliver one of Scarjo's greatest performances, to the complex use of skyline composites to blend different types of city architecture, creating a unique yet believable vision of the future... But the film is special because of what lies beneath, despite how beautiful the film is aesthetically speaking. HER is more than just a romance film. It's a film about identity, independence, confidence, humanity, and serves as a constant reminder that building a better future, like in Her, is always possible. This is a perfect film, that helped me get through a tough long distance relationship.

  • Cure

    26.Cure

    ★★★★★

    Honestly, I don't even know where to begin with this film. It's so simple, yet somehow manages to tackle literally hundreds of different themes, and ideas about human nature, determinism, free will, psychology, our inherent fears and desires, memory, and self righteous ideologies about curing our own flaws & misguidances. If there was ever a single masterwork that embodied the idea of using the constructs of horror, and molding that framework to speak of higher concept ideas, it would be Cure. And I wouldn't even call this a horror film, really. The performances from Masato Hagiwara, and Koji Yakusho (who is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors of all time) are astoundingly complex and riveting. The chemistry and energy they bounce off one another in this mental cat & mouse just says so much about the duality of our own minds in itself. Two halves of a perfect whole - but whose ideologies are tainted by society's shortcomings. The ending of Cure is one of the most beautiful yet shocking conclusions to any film I've ever seen.

  • Marriage Story

    27.Marriage Story

    ★★★★★

  • Roma

    28.Roma

    ★★★★★

    An objectively flawless masterpiece in every sense of the word. Every lingering second, every breath, every wave... This was the first film I saw at the 2018 Telluride Film Festival, and the first ever screening in North America. There wasn't a dry eye among us after the credits rolled. Cuaron was there to speak about the film, which gave me an even greater insight as to how personal this piece actually was. It's a love letter to the time, but also a thank you to the women who raised him. The way he contextualized memories in such an objective way... it's something I've never seen before, and honestly think it was for the best that Chivo didn't shoot this one. The more objective eye really lends to the power in the frame. The perfect blend of nostalgia, and history. Roma made me cry my eyes out.

  • Ikiru

    29.Ikiru

    ★★★★★

    "Life is brief. Fall in love, maiden. Before the crimson bloom fades from your lips, before the tides of passion cool within you... For those of you, who know no tomorrow..." There is life before experiencing Ikiru, and there is life after experiencing Ikiru. One of Kurosawa's most quiet and personal films... It's full of heart, vision, and is one of the greatest films I've ever seen (obviously by its place on this list). The film is simple. It's about not taking our time on this planet for granted. Appreciating the lives that we are given, and looking past our individual misfortunes, we all have the beauty of the every day to take in, for one. I also heard once from Vince Gilligan that the themes of existential rejuvenation in Ikiru served as a principle inspiration for Breaking Bad. Takashi Shimura, regular collaborator with Kurosawa, gives his best performance here. It both breaks my heart and revives me at the same time.

  • Stalker

    30.Stalker

    ★★★★★

    Stalker was the first Tarkovsky film I experienced, and over the years, it's slowly risen on my personal favorites list. The fact that this film pre-dates the events of Chernobyl always sends a chill down my spine. The timeless relevance of Tarkovsky's work is what solidifies him still, as one of the GOATs. And where the strengths of other masters like Kurosawa in blocking, or Kubrick in composition, Tarkovsky's greatest ability lies within atmosphere. No filmmaker in history has managed to capture such depth, texture, and tangible dream spaces as Andrei has; and Stalker just might be the greatest example of this. When I watch Stalker, I can feel the dampness of the floor, smell the trees, and hear the echoes of cavernous footsteps in this enigmatic landscape of sorrow & mist he created. Stalker is a transportive masterwork for all time.

  • The Shining

    31.The Shining

    ★★★★★

    I am a strong believer that the horror genre is THE single hardest genre to do right. It's probably the most oversaturated genre, because by nature, horror films are extremely marketable. They sell tickets because of the thrill attached. This makes it incredibly hard to find the good ones... But when done right (to me, this means using the constructs of the genre to show higher concept ideas) horror films have unmatchable potential for cultural and psychological resonance. The Shining is the GOAT in this department. There are scenes where all I can do is laugh because of how fucking awesome Jack Nicholson & Shelley Duvall are. The atmosphere, cinematography, and performances cement it as a legend for good reason.

  • Ran

    32.Ran

    ★★★★★

    "Are there no gods... no Buddha? If you exist, hear me. You are mischievous and cruel! Are you so bored up there you must crush us like ants?" Considered by many to be Kurosawa's late masterpiece, RAN is an epic, gorgeous, and inspiring portrait of family, betrayal, and chaos. A spiritual sequel to Kagemusha (1980), Kurosawa once again proved with Ran that he is a master of Color, as well as the form of Black & White. Master of blocking, movement, and composition. The greatest director to ever grace this earth.

  • Days of Heaven

    33.Days of Heaven

    ★★★★★

    One of the most visually stunning pieces of cinema I've ever laid my eyes on. Former Top 10 right here. In all my years of watching and absorbing films, I’ve never gotten chills from a SINGLE frame before. Sure, entire sequences in the context of their respective films have given me goosebumps. But without words, without any explanation… just the shot of the men standing in front of the house at dusk, with the locusts rising out of the field around their silhouettes… Simply awe-inspiring. And the fire scene. Absolute madness. Terrence & the entire team truly created an artpiece for all time. And the fact that the DP was going blind during production makes the visuals even more impressive. The DP had an assistant take photographs of the compositions so he could see the framing better. Wild. This was also the first film to be shot almost entirely with natural light. Malick, you devilish pioneer, you.

  • House

    34.House

    ★★★★★

    Hands down one of the craziest and most fun movies on my entire list (and in general film history). There is no other film that evokes the feelings that this one does. Some strange kind of horror/absurdist fever dream. I adore every second of this film. The most beautiful fever dream of a film that has ever been made. Rest in peace, Nobuhiko-san. 01/09/1938 - 04/10/2020. Your legacy will live on, through love (for cinema, and otherwise). In the words of Hausu, more brilliantly articulated than I've ever heard before, "Even after the flesh perishes, one can live in the hearts of others, together with the feelings that one has for them. Therefore, the story of love must be told many times, so that the spirits of lovers may live forever." Thank you for your art.

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  • Suspiria

    35.Suspiria

    ★★★★★

    The most beautiful horror film ever made. Man, 1977 must have been a great year to be alive. Suspiria easily ranks among my favorite films for pure visuals. The use of color is both meaningful thematically, and creates a completely unique atmosphere for horror. The soundtrack is groundbreaking, and still sounds powerful and fresh over 4 decades later. This movie, despite its old fashioned vibe and camp, still holds up excellently in my opinion. I do love the 2018 remake as well for how much scarier it is, and for the integrity to do something completely different. It's both a better horror film, AND a better dance film. But there's something intangibly beautiful about the original that will always make it a favorite of mine. There is something in films of this era that simply cannot be captured anymore. Magic? Or witchcraft...?

  • Mauvais Sang

    36.Mauvais Sang

    ★★★★★

    Leos Carax... Your films are electricity. This is the role that solidified Juliette Binoche as one of my all time favorite actresses. And I thought Denis Lavant couldn't be any better than in Holy Motors - I was wrong. Modern Love, running through the streets... Frances Ha has you to thank :') And Jesus, that ending... Carax creates pure cinema. Marriage of movement, sound, and that intangible FEELING somewhere in between... The Lovers on the Bridge might have more WOW moments, and is also a 10.10 for me, but damn if Mauvais Sang isn't more personal & resonating. My favorite by the mad man Leos. This film is fucking perfect, and I love it for reminding me that we only live one time...

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  • Yi Yi

    37.Yi Yi

    ★★★★★

    A singular masterwork - the greatest possible way anyone could have started off the new millennium. Yi Yi remains to be one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen, and in more ways than one. I've highlighted another film from Yang before on the list, A Brighter Summer Day (which many could argue is his best as well). But personally, Yi Yi just resonates on a much deeper frequency. And the final eulogy scene still makes me cry to this day. The character of Yang Yang is one of my favorites in cinema, and his use of the camera in the film, "showing people what they have not seen" is one of the very reasons I wanted to become a filmmaker in the first place. Just pure, pure perfection.

  • Eternity and a Day

    38.Eternity and a Day

    ★★★★★

    My second favorite film from the Greek Master himself, Theo Angelopoulos. One of my favorite filmmakers of all time, for his use of long takes, objective wide framing, and existential ideologies. Many consider this work to be his masterpiece, and while there is still one other film by his that I have placed higher, it's hard to deny the beauty and resonance of Eternity and a Day. This film is the most poignant reminder to not take your life for granted, and to cherish those around you before it's too late. We never realize what we have, and are blessed with, until it's gone... "My only regret, Anna - but is it only one? - is to not have finished anything. I left all as a draft, shattered words here and there."

  • Thelma

    39.Thelma

    ★★★★★

    This film means a great deal to me. It impact on my first proper short film, Nightjar, and helped me get through a rough patch I was going through at the time. The music, virtuosic cinematography, and stunning lead performances all inspire me to strive for better when making my own work... Thelma's hauntingly beautiful atmosphere has not left my mind since the day I first saw it. I love the films of Joachim Trier so much, as you know, Oslo appeared on the list as well. And while Oslo might be his masterpiece, the tonal difference in Thelma, and ambitious nature of the project are just magnetic for me. I am drawn to this film like a moth to a flame.

  • Victoria

    40.Victoria

    ★★★★★

    One of the most technically impressive films I've ever seen. This film is a waking dream. Aimless, real, beautiful, and just plain impressive. Despite having fallen from my Top 10 (where it once sat), this film's influence on me still hasn't subsided. When most talk about films that feel like dreams, they mention the works of Lynch, Tarkovsky, Miyazaki... And of course I have surreal dreams like those. But the insane unbroken 2hr20min shot that is Victoria, feels like the other half of my dreams. Where the world I'm living in is indistinguishable from reality, in the moment. Inescapable, often beautiful, sometimes horrifying. I love Victoria for this feeling it gives me.

  • Ratatouille

    41.Ratatouille

    ★★★★★

    An ode to the culinary arts. Ratatouille inspires me to never let the words or opinions of others affect my dreams. The best film to come from Pixar Studio by a long shot, honestly. This film is vastly underrated, and often overlooked by Pixar's other more generally popular films. Ratatouille is heartwarming, inspiring, and just a joy to experience, no matter if it's your first watch, or your 100th. There was a period in my life (I think 2nd or 3rd Grade) when I'd wake up early and watch this movie every morning before school for almost a month straight hahaha. I love Ratatouille.

  • Fallen Angels

    42.Fallen Angels

    ★★★★★

    Maybe the "sexiest" movie ever made? At least stylistically speaking. The wild use of shutter speed, wide angle lenses, and camera movement all come together to make this film one of the most visually unique & beautiful experiences in cinema history. Takeshi Kaneshiro is a show stealer as always, but man... Everyone in this film makes themselves so effortlessly memorable. There are sequences that I literally think about daily, ever since I first saw this film. And in terms of WKW's filmography, Chungking Express used to be my favorite of his, for its more sentimental and romantic approach... But recently, Fallen Angels has become my favorite film of his, for its slightly colder, and more smokey / sensual look at loneliness. It's still cool to know that this story was originally supposed to be a chapter in Chungking Express, but they decided to make it its own thing.

  • Inglourious Basterds

    43.Inglourious Basterds

    ★★★★★

    Quentin said it himself, through the final line of the film: "I think this just might be my masterpiece." I really like all of his films, but to say any other reaches the level of Inglourious Basterds just doesn't feel right. The entire cast is on their A-Game, particularly Christoph Waltz, Melanie Laurent, & Brad Pitt. The script is picture perfect, and the chapter based structure lends so well to the pacing and organization of the film. It's darkly satirical, somehow equal parts hilarious and terrifying, but also comes from a place of passion and love for the craft. One of my all time favorites.

  • Jackie

    44.Jackie

    ★★★★★

    Jackie is a stunning portrait of grief, a haunting glimpse into one of America's defining moments, and my favorite biopic of all time. One of the best shot films of the 21st Century, with Stéphane Fontaine's career defining 16mm work, Director Pablo Larraín has created something out of the ordinary with this picture. Ultimately a collection of gorgeous & melancholic vignettes, every single frame oozes with atmosphere and intentionality. Themes of existentialism are brilliantly woven into the film, exploring the role of God, and pursuit of purpose in wake of tragedy. Natalie Portman's performance is the central thread tying all these elements together. There were more than a handful of times I got actual *chills* just from watching her become this character. The film is about the importance of legacy. Sooner or later, we're all just oil canvases lining a hallway (and that's a lucky few). Rather than use JFK's legacy as a crutch to function, the film decides to truly embrace Jackie's own legacy.

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  • A Ghost Story

    45.A Ghost Story

    ★★★★★

    Out of all the films in my Top 50, my relationship with A Ghost Story has probably the most drastic change. All the other Top 50 Entries have been love at first sight. I can't say the same with this one. When I first saw it in theaters, I remember walking out disappointed. Rated it a 7/10 and went on with my day. I was a junior in college (film school) and still a bit stubborn. A couple years ago, I lost someone in my life. I decided to revisit the film, and was completely floored by it. The way it explores grief is so subtle and poignant. I'm not saying you have to have suffered a loss to feel it. Not at all. Just that I think it's rather beautiful how context, and TIME can change our perception of things. Much like in the film. It's all about the passage of time, and how we cope.

  • Arrival

    46.Arrival

    ★★★★★

    While I believe his best work still lies ahead, Arrival is currently my favorite film from Villeneuve. Denis is a filmmaker so vital to modern cinema, and has inspired me so much, it'd be wrong to NOT include one of his films in the Top 50, even if it's just to kick off this portion of the list. The completely unique score by Johansson, incredible sound design, and use of non-linear editing are honestly all game changers. The film itself questions conventions of cinema, and our preconceived ideas of how a movie should work. I cry so hard at this film haha...

  • Pride & Prejudice

    47.Pride & Prejudice

    ★★★★★

    I'd read the book in high school, which I didn't like. I'd heard of the film adaptation, but never paid it any mind until late 2017. Having just seen Joe Wright's incredinle film Atonement, I decided to watch his take on Pride and Prejudice. I was blown away. It's simply put one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen (visually and conceptually). This film is a marvel of movement, lighting, and composition. It always bums me out a bit when people write this film off because they think because of the subject matter, it is unspecial. This is not the movie you think it is. This is pure art.

  • Blue Valentine

    48.Blue Valentine

    ★★★★★

    Heartbreaking, no matter how many times I watch it. This film is so simple on the surface, but goes far far down in meaning and emotional complexity. Layers, upon layers within the complex characters and their relationship. It's not a film you can rewatch often just because of how sad and raw it is, but it's a film that means a lot to me, because of how it displays the good times vs the bad... The structure of the film plays as our minds recount memories of past relationships. The 16mm cinematography adds a great deal to the grittiness and emotion of the film. It's so beautiful. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams both deserved Oscars for this. Small things, like the way she touches her hair in the scene below, "You Always Hurt the Ones You Love", is so genuine. I fucking love this film.

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  • The Thing

    49.The Thing

    ★★★★★

    Probably THE most engaging film I've ever seen. I got to see a special 35mm screening of this at my film school, which was also my first watch of it. And I'm pretty sure I didn't blink the entire time. John Carpenter's greatest hands down - The Thing trojan horses its audience with a scary monster movie on the exterior, but like the parasite itself, uses the shell of the horror genre to deliver true, existential themes and imagery about the SELF, identity, and trust. In a borderline Lovecraftian manner, there has been no horror film that terrified me more - not because of the body horror, which of course is some of the most incredible practical effects of all time, but rather because of its sheer existential positioning. We are not alone. In the universe surely, but even within ourselves. We are not alone...

  • The Sacrifice

    50.The Sacrifice

    ★★★★★

    Tarkovsky final film. The greatest swan song in the history of art. Not only is The Sacrifice beautiful, meditative, and emotionally resounding, but it also symbolizes the "sacrifice" he made to bring these visions to life. There's a reason the film is dedicated to his family. Tarkovsky was obsessed with his work, and often neglected his family life. And when he fell ill (thought to be due to dangerous filming conditions from Stalker), he knowingly started working on his final two films. Nostalgia, and The Sacrifice. His final 3 works are undoubtedly his finest creations, which proves to me even further that his love for the craft was too strong for even impending death to hinder. Tarkovsky lives eternal through these immortal pieces of cinema. What a way to lead us into the Top 50 (where we will see 2 more films of his)...

  • La Haine

    51.La Haine

    ★★★★★

    The cyclical nature of hatred... Ever prevalent, ever perpetuated. This film was introduced to me in sophomore year of film school, for a Narrative Structure class. I instantly fell in love with it, due to the powerful messages, amazing performances, and decision to shoot the film in monochrome. To this day, it is one of the most stunning modern day films in black and white, where the lack of color actually speaks to the film's themes. I love the meandering plot, and the structure of film by time of day. Like a ticking time bomb... And it is, til the very end.

  • The Cranes Are Flying

    52.The Cranes Are Flying

    ★★★★★

    My head is spinning from missing you - like the spiraling staircase that led up to your room. Like fires of war are the flowing veils from your wedding dress. My vow, lost to the wind, hidden in plain sight - I hope somehow it will find its way to you. Running past picket fences so fast, it's as if the frames of my life are blurring into one. The song we wrote together has echoed throughout the ruins of our old home. I know you're still out there, but it's hard to hear over the sound of reunion, everywhere but here. These flowers are for everyone now.

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  • The Lovers on the Bridge

    53.The Lovers on the Bridge

    ★★★★★

    In a word? Explosive. Every once in a while, you experience a film that shakes your definition of cinema. The Lovers on the Bridge was that kind of movie for me. Juliette Binoche is her very best in this film, and Denis Lavant is captivatingly strange & moving as always. From about 30 minutes in, to the hour mark, lies perhaps one of the two or three best sequences I've ever seen...?! Leos Carax is one of my favorite directors. Rewatching this after finally seeing Annette just reaffirmed that. Dance, NOW! Or forever hold your peace.

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  • The Thin Red Line

    54.The Thin Red Line

    ★★★★★

    Hands down one of the greatest films I’ve ever seen. The village raid sequence was actually the first time I ever cried during a film (to my recollection). Hans Zimmer’s masterpiece, Journey to the Line, along with Malick’s trademark sweeping camera, and the brutally real performances of all the actors on screen was just overwhelming. Being Japanese, it’s always difficult to watch WWII films, where the Japanese are often portrayed as one dimensional, and evil. The Thin Red Line was a revelatory experience for me, because not only did it humanize the “enemy”, but it actually gave them a voice. The enemy is not ONE country, or ONE people, but a collective evil that lives in us all. War. This film juxtaposes so many elements of nature and humanity, and it's honestly too much to put into words.

  • Paterson

    55.Paterson

    ★★★★★

    Adam Driver is my absolute favorite actor working today - but you knew that already... Everything he does is so full of emotion and a gentle strength. Even in blockbusters, his performances are never just surface level. Every single nuance comes from a genuine understanding of the films he chooses. This film is perfectly minimal... When I first watched it in the tiny indie theater, I felt refreshed. Like I'd just been awoken from a deep sleep. I see life differently after this film. It reminds me to look at the bigger picture, and cherish every small miracle of the day to day.

  • Tokyo Story

    56.Tokyo Story

    ★★★★★

    I am incredibly close to my grandparents on both my father's side, and my mother's side. Watching this film both breaks my heart, and fills it with so much gratitude for what mine have given me. Obviously, this film is considered one of the greatest ever made, for the poignant insight on the growing cultural gap between generations, about family, and about passage of time... In classic Ozu fashion, Tokyo Story is at times cynical, but heartfelt and genuine. Another director would have really milked the emotion, and made many of the sentiments sappy / melodramatic, but Ozu tells it how it is, and its honesty still makes me cry.

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  • Still Walking

    57.Still Walking

    ★★★★★

    If there was ever a perfect film to exist, it might be Still Walking. Each frame is filled with intention, yet also with subtlety and beauty. This film is the mark of a true master of the filmmaking craft, as only someone with both skill and artistic integrity could pull off, and so effortlessly... This is the film which many people base the comparison from Ozu to Koreeda. And although Koreeda denies the inspiration for the most part, it IS very reminiscent of Ozu's style. I believe the camera only moves twice during the entire film. And when it does, you feel it. You feel everything. Surely this means more to Japanese audiences just because of the subject matter, and the cultural relatability factor... But then again, maybe not. What's beautiful about Koreeda's works is that they are specific, yet contain many universal elements that can appeal to all audiences.

  • Faces Places

    58.Faces Places

    ★★★★★

    First saw this at the Telluride Film Festival. This was the year I earned a spot in their Student Symposium. So, we were supposed to speak with Agnes, but she couldn't make it due to the extreme altitude of Telluride. So we spoke to her daughter and JR, which was still such a delight. I still wish I could have gotten the chance to meet Varda, as this was one of the last festivals she screened at before she passed... She is one of my heroes. I love everything she's ever made. This film is honestly one of my ultimate comfort films. God knows how many times I've seen it. It's a very beautiful exploration of the lasting power of images, and while existential at times, somehow, that comforts me even more.

  • Tombstone

    59.Tombstone

    ★★★★★

    My favorite western. This movie admittedly has it's cheesy bits, but it's so full of heart, and the film is directed & performed with such genuine commitment, it can't help but be fucking awesome. Like The Holy Grail on this list before it, Tombstone is another one I have my dad to thank for recommending it to me. He showed me this movie at a young age, and we've been quoting it to each other ever since (and believe me, this movie has just as many incredble one liners as Monty Python... Just such a fantastic ensemble, but...) Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer both deliver the best performances of their careers here. Tombstone has so many "oh my god" moments, of just pure unapologetic Western glory.

  • There Will Be Blood

    60.There Will Be Blood

    ★★★★½

    The flawless vision from Paul Thomas Anderson. My god, this film... just perfect on all fronts. What more can I say that hasn't already been said...? Daniel Day Lewis is clearly the driving force behind majority of the film's runtime, and while it wouldn't be the same film without him. I do also think PTA's voice can be heard just as loud, even over the screaming and sounds of violence. I used to proclaim The Master as PTA's best, but over the years, the singular vision of TWBB, and just the pure iconic nature of so many of the scenes that live within the walls of the movie have put it over the edge for me. One of the all time greats, not just of the 00's, but of all cinema history...

  • The Lighthouse

    61.The Lighthouse

    ★★★★½

    One of the greatest films to ever exist about the themes of temptation, desire, and it was only made 3 years ago...? Like a blend of Persona and The Shining, with some virtuosic imagery of the Siren, and of the island, this movie is everything I fear & love, wrapped into one. The ocean is the ultimate power on this planet - it absolutely terrifies me, but at the same time, I can't help but be drawn to it... Much like moths to a flame, men to the light, there is a Siren out there, calling to all of us. Beckoning us to the beyond.

  • Burning

    62.Burning

    ★★★★★

    I haven't quite stopped thinking about this film since the very first time I watched it. As a whole, it's a hauntingly beautiful portrait of mystery, obsession, and existential dread. On a closer look, it becomes an alegory of sorts, which can be extrapolated from the short story it's based on (originally written by one of my favorite authors, Haruki Murakami). My only wish for the film is that they left certain shots out, to make the story a bit more ambiguous. Upon subsequent viewings, my love for this film has only grown. You could say I have a "great hunger" for Burning...

  • Kagemusha

    63.Kagemusha

    ★★★★★

    Kurosawa once called Kagemusha a "dress rehearsal for Ran". Smaller in scale sure, but the story and overall composure of the film feels just as powerful to me. Ran may have bigger sets, grander battles, and a more refined structure, but Kagemusha as its spiritual prequel, has a more intimate and raw feeling to it. The frame shown below is perhaps my single favorite frame in all of cinema history.

  • Sicario

    64.Sicario

    ★★★★★

    One of the best films of the decade, plain and simple. The use of color and composition in this film are amazing, but I'd expect nothing less from Deakins, the Master himself. This is not really talked about in terms of RD's best works, but in my opinion, the realist & natural tones of this + the occasional creative liberty (like the night vision sequences, and often underlighting faces) makes this a top 3 work for him. Johannsson gives perhaps the best score of his career here, and the tension it creates when paired with those visuals is just jaw dropping. Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro are at their very best, and the whole film just works like a well oiled machine. I saw this in theaters back in 2015 right after seeing Enemy (my first Villeneuve film). Sicario literally left my jaw dropped as the final scene fades into credits. One of my most memorable theater experiences.

  • Millennium Actress

    65.Millennium Actress

    ★★★★★

    Satoshi Kon's masterpiece. I would go as far to call it perhaps the best edited film of all time...? At least in the top few. Despite coming out 5 years before Paprika, to me, Millennium Actress feels like a more balanced blend of Kon's signature temporal / reality bending cinema. The way the film blurs the line between past & present, and reality & fiction is simply incredible. One of the greatest and most underrated animated films of all time. This film pays homage to so many other films I love, like 2001, Kagemusha, Godzilla, Rashomon, and so many more... It's a feast for the eyes and for the heart.

  • Akira

    66.Akira

    ★★★★★

    Finding a film that influenced modern animation more than Akira would be a difficult task... This was also the film that truly brought world wide attention to the Japanese animation industry (coming out the same year as Totoro & Grave of the Fireflies). Every frame, hand drawn, and the action is immaculate. Tetsuo as a symbol for post-WW2 Japan has echoed through my mind, in a similar was Godzilla has over the years, but more on that in a future post... Music is infectious, especially the track, Kaneda. There is a certain energy and power that surges through the frames of this film that seldom come about these days, in animation, and in film in general... Akira redefined an entire form of film, and it redefined me, the first time I saw it.

  • The Double Life of Véronique

    67.The Double Life of Véronique

    ★★★★★

    Irene Jacob can't fool me any longer. She is no mere mortal actor. With this performance of both incredible power, and beauty, she has transcended any semblance of "best actor list". Irene Jacob is goddess, confirmed. This film is my favorite from Kieslowski - but even that is not such an easy decision to make, as you've seen, the two entries before this also belong to the Polish Master. I think we've all felt such feelings of profound yet unexplainable loneliness, and connection... This movie is one of a kind. Or are there two...?

  • Three Colors: Blue

    68.Three Colors: Blue

    ★★★★★

    One of the best depictions of grief ever put to film. Blue is the my favorite film of the Three Colors Trilogy - while Red gives it a run for that spot, it's the epic musical score in Blue that breaks the tie for me. Blue is a visual & auditory experience where every single detail in each chord progression, each frame, each piece of the set design, begs a question. The theme of grief is one of my favorites to explore in films, because the way we all perceive it is unique. This film makes me feel alive.

  • Three Colors: Red

    69.Three Colors: Red

    ★★★★★

    A gorgeous window into human connection, intimacy, and consequence. To this day, Red contains some of the most incredible camera work and blocking I've witnessed. Kieslowski has always been a master in this regard, but it's perhaps never better realized than in this, his final film. It's only fitting that his last work, also contains one of the greatest endings in cinema history. The way this film explores the phenomenon of unexplainable coincidence, will always make it special to me.

  • Nostalgia

    70.Nostalgia

    ★★★★★

    Like Kubrick, Tarkovsky also has multiple films I could call his "masterpiece". Nostalgia is one of them (although currently there are two I have ranked even higher). This film is a meditative experience unlike anything I've experienced before. Knowing Tarkovsky's style, I was able to fully allow myself to become immersed. The cinematography and slow methodical pacing of the film are infinitely captivating. This film feels like a dream, or a hazy memory. A true masterpiece.

  • Black Swan

    71.Black Swan

    ★★★★★

    A stunning portrait of inner darkness, duality, and sacrifice for love of craft. An ode to the physicality of dance, and to the desire to move. It's hard to sum up exactly what I love about this film, because its experience is so fragmented and disorienting. It's shot and performed so perfectly. This film showed the dangers of ambition before Whiplash (which I also love, obviously), but Black Swan's ending hits me just a bit harder. This severance from mother & child. A literal swan song for Nina's innocence, and piece on growing up.

  • Mad Max: Fury Road

    72.Mad Max: Fury Road

    ★★★★★

    One of the only films to physically make my jaw drop from sheer cinematic beauty. The sequence where they drive into the storm, and the music swells quite literally makes me cry... If you know my taste, you know I love the long-take aesthetic, and really cherish moments in film where I'm given a chance to sit with the image. But this film has an average shot length of 2 seconds, and truly made me appreciate the other end of the scale. It's typically a criticism that Mad Max's plot is too simple, but I think the story is perfect. With all the visual chaos going on in every waking second of the movie's runtime, a complicated script would have just taken away from what Miller wanted to show. This is what awaits if we don't face climate change head on.

  • The Turin Horse

    73.The Turin Horse

    ★★★★★

    The fact that this movie was made in 2011 blows my mind. It truly feels like a lost masterpiece, from the 50s/60s era of cinema. But that's just the magic of Bela Tarr. His staggeringly beautiful long take aesthetic fully drew me in from the first frame, to the last.There is a certain simplicity, riding on the line of banality, within the scenes of this film. It is 2hr26min, just 1min longer than Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies, yet is a lifetime shorter than Tarr's most acclaimed film Satantango, which clocks in at 7hrs30min. The Turin Horse, for me, is Tarr's finest film. It is repetitive by nature, and in a strange trance-like experience, I have never felt anything like it, after its final scene.

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  • An Elephant Sitting Still

    74.An Elephant Sitting Still

    ★★★★★

    This film is like Werckmeister Harmonies, except in place of The Whale, there is... An Elephant Sitting Still. One of the most recent films to enter the Top 100, this film left me speechless. Its massive 4 hour runtime never felt like a set back for the movie. I knew it would be an all-day event, watching this, so I made sure to set enough time aside to process. The truth is, no matter how much you prepare for this experience, you will never be able to collect yourself. I still haven't, and it's been almost a year. I don't want to make this review "about" this, but I do feel it's important to the film's legacy, for you to know, before watching. After the film's completion, the director, Hu Bo ended his life, making this his only feature film. He was 29. Rest in peace, to this beautiful soul, and prodigal talent.

  • Eureka

    75.Eureka

    ★★★★★

    I’ve mentioned in the past how films about mass shootings and gun violence in general are some of the most difficult films to get “right” - simply because there is no “right” way to go about telling a story like this. Films like Elephant and Dark Night (2016) make an embarrassing mockery of the subject matter, offering nothing to the conversation, and only using the topic as a vehicle for self righteous means. Films like Vox Lux and Polytechnique get closer to a more respectful and introspective viewpoint, but still don’t quite achieve it. Now, we arrive at Eureka. In my opinion, the only film that tackles the subject well. Without getting too far into why (since in its nearly 4hr runtime, the very discovery of this aspect of the film is what makes it so good), Eureka should be considered essential contemporary Japanese cinema. It’s not an easy watch, but if you’ve also been in search of something that pays more respect to this modern crisis, I urge you to give it a watch.

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  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    76.Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    ★★★★★

    One of the most visually and emotionally arresting films of the decade. You've seen Sciamma appear earlier on the list with another masterpiece, Tomboy, but Portrait of a Lady on Fire truly blows everything else in her filmography out of the water. It's incredible how almost transcendent this film is / has become... I saw this at a live Q&A with Sciamma, and hearing her speak about her intentions with the film - especially the final scene, was sheer inspiration. She is a genius.

  • Porco Rosso

    77.Porco Rosso

    ★★★★★

    The perfect film to kick off the Top 75... This movie has an especially sentimental place in my heart. One of my earliest memories... I was probably 3 or 4. I was visiting my grandparents' house in Monterey. I had gone to see what my grandpa was doing, and saw him lounging on the couch, watching TV. He used to watch Japanese dramas, and the occassional samurai film. But this time, I saw a cartoon on screen. A pig in a plane. I sat down, and we watched the rest of the film together. Years later when I revisit Porco Rosso, I love it even more for its maturity and simple beauty. Miyazaki is the Master.

  • Violet

    78.Violet

    ★★★★★

    A relatively recent entry to the list (circa. 2017), yet somehow still maintains its high af rank, whereas other films I saw around the same time, have fallen from the Top 100... I haven't been able to get this film's visuals out of my mind ever since I first watched it. This film is meditative, haunting, and ambiguous in nature. Many of this movie's mysteries still elude me, but I honestly think it's a masterpiece of modern indie cinema. One of my favorite endings of all time. A delicate and somber exploration of tragedy and grief.

  • Son of Saul

    79.Son of Saul

    ★★★★★

    The most realistic, grounded, real-life horror film I've ever seen. This film uses shallow depth of field, close-ups, long takes, and exquisitely choreographed sequences, often with over 20 extras at once, to immerse you into its world. This film is disturbing, yet extremely gripping and in a way, very beautiful in the way it was so meticulously crafted. The director once studied under the wing of film master, Bela Tarr, and it's clear, through this film what Nemes learned from that experience... How this is a directorial debut, I will never understand. A masterpiece for all time.

  • La La Land

    80.La La Land

    ★★★★★

    I first saw this film for the world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival. 4 hours before the screening, I met Damien Chazelle at a bakery. He was with his girlfriend, and they sat right next to our bench. We spoke briefly, he asked to read my film schedule, then gave my friends and I the rest of his pizza... Needless to say, the whole experience (including of course, the film itself) was overwhelming. I'm willing to admit the film isn't perfect, but to me, it may as well be. Here's to the ones who dream <3

  • Rashomon

    81.Rashomon

    ★★★★★

    Master Kurosawa graces the list once again, with perhaps his most influential film, which is saying a lot, from his massively genre defining catalog of works... Rashomon, as you know, was a huge pioneer film, in terms of story structure, and the unreliable narrator concept. Filmmakers like Tarantino, or Nolan would simply not exist in the same way without this film, and the way it challenged audiences. Also, goes without saying, but Toshiro Mifune is the GOAT.

  • Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

    82.Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

    ★★★★★

    Like my previous entries on Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, this entry stands to represent the entire Prequel Trilogy. In my opinion, all prequels are all great, and add so much to the lore, world building, and history to the Star Wars story. But although equally important to me, neither Episode 1 or 2 quite match up to Revenge of the Sith. The final act of the this film is fucking operatic, fantasy gold. Cue Battle of the Heroes, and let John Williams take over.

  • The Witch

    83.The Witch

    ★★★★★

    6 years ago, when I first saw the trailer for this film, I never would have imagined it'd end up in my Top 100. I've never been so wrong to have grouped this film in with all the other awful modern horror films. The VVitch is an atmospheric masterpiece. A slow burn well worth the pay off for some of the most haunting last minutes I've ever seen. The levels of detail in this film are terrifying and impressive, as parts of the script are taken directly from manuscripts from the time - people actually turned on one another back then, because of things they feared. Good thing people are different now, right...? Ugh. This film is about faith, evil, and desire. I fucking love it.

  • Chungking Express

    84.Chungking Express

    ★★★★★

    One of the movies I hold dearest to my heart. Does part of me wish the entire film was about Cop 223? Yes. But that doesn't change the fact that this entire film resonates on an entirely other level from most cinema. So many quotes from Chungking Express feel like they were written specifically for me. And that's the magical thing about it; everyone who loves this film, feels that same sense of oneness with the movie. One of the dreamiest looking films ever made, and the kinetic pacing of everything is simply intoxicating, to every sense. Let's move onto the visuals now. But I have one more question to ask you. Do you... like pineapple?

  • The Triplets of Belleville

    85.The Triplets of Belleville

    ★★★★★

    This is one of the strangest films I've ever seen. But also one of the most heartwarming. My family had a tradition to rent a new film at Blockbuster every week, to expand our cinematic taste... One week, my mom chose this movie, thinking it was a fun animated kids movie from France. Little did we know, it was low key about human trafficking. But, for whatever reason, we both were blown away. At the time (I was in third grade), it became my #1 favorite film. The music in this movie is god-tier, and I am blessed to have seen it Live in Concert...

  • Our Little Sister

    86.Our Little Sister

    ★★★★★

    Another film from Koreeda... Probably his least recognized film, at least publicly, despite the fact that it actually competed for the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 2015. This is Hirokazu at his most tender. Every moment of this movie is just so pure, and wholesome. Each sister brings a gentle love to the family dynamic, and unlike some of Koreeda's other films, like Nobody Knows, this detached family structure, is less the focal point, and the focus shifts more towards the positives that come from familial rifts such as the catalyst in Our Little Sister. I love this movie so much.

  • Ida

    87.Ida

    ★★★★★

    I often juggle between this film and Pawlikowski’s other recent masterwork Cold War, as to which one I actually prefer. It’s not such a simple question. Both his recent works are filmed in such cold and steely exteriors - the objective framing, black and white cinematography, and somewhat detached perspectives are juxtaposed with the emotional and subjective views of his protagonists. The simple use of handheld camera in the final moment is enough to make me cry, simply because of the sense of freedom that comes with its liberation from stasis.

  • Blade Runner

    88.Blade Runner

    ★★★★½

    Ridley Scott's masterpiece. An atmospheric wonder. This film is intoxicating in its moody, rich tones, accompanied by a revelatory soundtrack by Vangelis... I love what the film asks of us, about memory, dreams, identity, and everything in between... I still prefer this film to the much adored sequel, although both are immensely respectable in what they've defined for their respective decades.

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey

    89.2001: A Space Odyssey

    ★★★★★

    Kubrick's magnum opus (though not my favorite film of his). Still more technically impressive than many films coming out today; that's how well the effects hold up. The star gate sequence is one of the most surreal experiences I've ever had in the theater, and this movie as a whole is just a completely unique experience. This is the perfect film from Kubrick, because it totally leans into his inclination to favor visual storytelling over character & emotion. And in doing so, through this tangible lack of soul, we are ironically given one of the most introspective pieces of art about humanity.

  • The Dark Knight

    90.The Dark Knight

    ★★★★★

    I still remember the energy circulating the theater when I first saw this film back in 2008. I remember how silent the audience was during the opening bank heist scene. The rising score, the slowly building action, and the character reveal that would change modern cinema's standard for villains. This film has stayed with me since the very first time I saw it, and it's definitely one of the most important movies to me, for what it meant to me back then... And yes, I'm totally willing to admit, 99% of why this movie is still in the Top 100, is because of Heath Ledger. Legend.

  • Se7en

    91.Se7en

    ★★★★★

    My favorite film from David Fincher. Back when I first watched this in high school, Se7en played a huge part in peaking my interest in filmmaking as a career. The three leads, Pitt, Freeman, and Spacey are out of this world in Se7en. Such meticulous use of camera movement, and blocking, especially in the climactic scene, are always memorable. Within the walls of this twisted film, lie countless incredible attentions to detail, both in focus, and in the background. The last lines uttered in this film still remain with me, after all these years.

  • The Fall

    92.The Fall

    ★★★★★

    One of the more unknown / underrated films on my list, The Fall is another one of the most beautiful films ever made in my book. The two leads are incredible, and their performances along with the stunning cinematography truly make this film of of my all time favorites. It's imaginative, bizarre, self reflexive, and unforgettable. You won't regret seeing it.

  • Inside Llewyn Davis

    93.Inside Llewyn Davis

    ★★★★★

    One of the Coens' more personal films, or at least sentimental... While I obviously love their more objective feeling dramas, the heart within Inside Llewyn Davis does set it apart, and has brought me back time and time again to watch it. What's truly impressive is how they managed to make it feel so heartfelt (I suppose Fargo does too in the end), without sacrificing any of their overarching trademark satirical tone and dry, witty humor. There is a certain extra bit of life breathed into every frame. That glow (surprisingly, one of their best shot films is not from frequent collaborator Deakins, but instead, from the DP of Amélie, Bruno Delbonnel). The warmth of the music, and each character's voice... Oscar Isaac gives the performance of the year. To me, this film is about the trials of creative success, and pursuing a career in a world that makes it hard to continue. A message I think we can all resonate with.

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  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

    94.Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

    ★★★★★

    I believe Iñárritu's best work still lies ahead. But currently, Birdman is his masterpiece, at least in my eyes... In a time of passable, unambitious cash grabs, Birdman comes along, to show everyone that artistic integrity is COOL. The film is one of the most accurate takes on passion, criticisms of criticism itself, and existential dread for self relevancy. This is one of the most technically impressive film I've ever seen, and I love it. In 2014, I was a junior in high school. I had recently got my drivers license, and Birdman was the first movie I ever drove myself to see, alone :)

  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail

    95.Monty Python and the Holy Grail

    ★★★★★

    One of my earliest favorite films. The Holy Grail has been on my faves list since I was in elementary school. It's hysterically funny, maybe the best comedy ever made. The script is endlessly quotable, the cast all have great chemistry, and comedic timing. Admittedly a huge reason I love this film so much is because of how much my dad loved it before me. Luckily, we share pretty similar taste in movies, so all the jokes here always hit twice as funny because of how many times we've referenced it. This movie is a time capsule.

  • Pulp Fiction

    96.Pulp Fiction

    ★★★★★

    Is Pulp Fiction "overrated"? If you're someone who calls it the greatest achievement in cinema, absolutely. But that doesn't stop it from being one an iconic staple of the 90s, which admittedly did influence a lot of what indie film evolved from, going into the 2000s... But more importantly, Pulp Fiction was one of the first films that initially got me into filmmaking back in high school. The spit-fire dialogue, snappy editing / pacing, characters, and nostalgic vibes all come together to make it one of the most important films to me, even if it's not exactly my "taste" anymore.

  • The Social Network

    97.The Social Network

    ★★★★★

    God, where to begin... This film is absolute god-tier, on so many fronts. Most people jump straight to the screenplay when praising this film, and of course, Sorkin deserves it. But when I first think of this film, I think of these performances... Andrew Garfield, Jesse Eisenberg, Rooney Mara, and Armie Hammer x2... And just the pacing of everything. The music in harmony with the editing. This movie never feels dull for even a milisecond. Every frame is perfectly placed. I love everything about this movie...

  • Prisoners

    98.Prisoners

    ★★★★★

    I've seen many people group this film in with so many other sub-par movies of the same genre and similar plot. But make no mistake: Prisoners is in a class of its own. In many ways, this film redefined the crime / thriller genre. Brilliant direction from Denis Villeneuve, flawless cinematography by Roger Deakins, and a masterful score by Johann Johannsson, this film should be classified alongside the best crime / mysteries of all time. How the fuck do they make a simple dolly in of a tree trunk so ominous??? There are several moments within the walls of this film, that I honestly think about on a weekly basis. The race to the hospital sequence is one of my all time favorite scenes. Also should be worth noting, I only recently dropped this film from the Top 100. It might rise back eventually. I love this film so much.

  • The Revenant

    99.The Revenant

    ★★★★★

    There's a demographic of cinephiles who call this film overrated... And I'll never understand that. The Revenant is one of the most ambitious, well directed & shot films of the decade. When judging films, I weigh visual elements and artistic integrity the highest. The form of magical realism has sort of faded away in recent years of cinema - but filmmakers like Iñárritu are making sure it stays around. It was sheer cinematic bliss to behold a film like The Revenant on the big screen. I can't even imagine the pains of production hell making this movie was...

  • Silence

    100.Silence

    ★★★★★

    My favorite film from Martin Scorsese. He waited three decades to make this film, because he felt he wasn't ready to tell this story in the earlier years of his career. The restraint shown in its aesthetics and direction make it hands down the best directing from the legend - nothing is stylized or in your face. Contrary to most of his more explosive films like Goodfellas or Taxi Driver, Silence is very distant and objectively framed. It could definitely rise higher on my list in the future. Pure mastery of the craft.