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I’ll put my essay on essential films here when I move everything. Meanwhile, there are rules: no more than two a year and no more than two per filmmaker. The judgement is made independently of the folding characteristics and simply has to do with craft, effectiveness, and/or significance.

(I may add pages for my special studies outside of the folding dynamics: filmmakers and actors as lovers; redheads as iconic of something notable; Holmes, Alice, and Shakespeare; architectural form.)

2016Kubo and the Two Strings
2011The Tree of Life=196
2010Room in Rome
2009Broken Embraces
2009The Limits of Control
2009Enter the Void
2008Synecdoche, New York
2008Tropic Thunder
2007Across the Universe
2007I’m Not There
2006Blood Tea and Red String
2006Inland Empire
2005The Pianotuner of Earthquakes
2004Tanner on Tanner
200321 Grams
2003The Saddest Music in the World
2002Talk to Her
2001Moulin Rouge!
2001Sex and Lucia
2000In the Mood for Love=95
1999Marcel Proust’s Time Regained
1999Sweet and Lowdown
1998Snake Eyes
1998The Thin Red Line
1997Oscar and Lucinda
1996Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream that One Calls Human Life
1996The Pillow Book
1994Three Colors: Red
1994Vanya on 42nd Street
1993Short Cuts
1993Three Colors: Blue
1992Oedipus Rex
1991Prospero’s Books
1990Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
1987King Lear
1986The Singing Detective
1983Three Crowns of the Sailor
1982Blade Runner=62=54177
1981The French Lieutenant’s Woman
1980Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession
1979My Brilliant Career
1979The Muppet Movie
1977Annie Hall=243
1976Heart of Glass
1976The Tenant
1975Picnic at Hanging Rock
1973Day for Night
1972Aguirre, the Wrath of God=118
1971A Clockwork Orange=243104
1971The Last Movie
1969Fellini: A Director’s Notebook
19682001: A Space Odyssey1690
1968Death by Hanging
1967Japanese Summer: Double Suicide
1966Andrei Rublov=26=67
1965The Saragossa Manuscript
1964I Am Cuba
1964Red Desert=169
19638 1/2=6=31
1962Laurence of Arabia=62=13395
1962The Pier=35=67
1961Last Year in Marienbad=169
1959Hiroshima My Love=169
195712 Angry Men5
1957The Seventh Seal=72=136204
1956Forbidden Planet
1954Rear Window=3850
1953Duck Amuck
1953Tales of Ugetsu
1952Singin’ in the Rain
1952The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice
1951A Streetcar Named Desire
1948The Red Shoes=72=67
1947The Lady from Shanghai
1941Never Give a Sucker and Even Break
1941Sullivan’s Travels=243
1937Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
1936My Man Godfrey
1935The Phantom Empire
1933The Old Man and the Mountain
1933The Testament of Dr. Mabuse
1932The Mask of Fu Manchu
1931City Lights=523652
1930The Bishop Murder Case
1929Diary of a Lost Girl
1924Sherlock, Jr.=54196
1920The Golem
1902Jack and the Beanstalk
1895Lumiere: Painted Dancer

I’ve made this list with only passing reference to the narrative folding study. These are films that I think for me were influential, potentially life-altering, or transcendental in some way. The list was motivated by people asking me for film recommendations beyond those that are ‘worth watching’, being what I will guide my children through as part of their discovering the world. I expect it to grow as my life improves. Nothing has been added for more than a decade during my break.

I’ve recently looked at other lists but will note only three here:
The Sight and Sound top 100 influential films as judged by a number of filmmakers, 2022. Their rankings are entered in the S-S Flmkr column. Their values will differ. I’m interested in what changed my life, where they will vote for those that changed their craft. The S-S Critic column is from a group that largely writes for a popular audience. The final column is the rankings from IMDB (as of June 2023), so from the world of viewers.

I’ve gotten a lot of comments on my choices from major filmmakers:

Those with two, listed in order of the director’s birth year:

Alfred Hitchcock’s (b 1899) two are ‘Rear Window’ and ‘Vertigo’

Akira Kurosawa’s (b 1910) two are ‘Rashômon’ and ‘Ran’

Orson Welles’ (b 1915) two are ‘The Lady from Shanghai’ and ‘Othello’

Frederico Fellini’s (b 1920) two are ‘8 ½’ and ‘Fellini: A Director’s Notebook’

Alain Resnais‘ (b 1922) two are ‘Hiroshima Mon Amore’ and ‘Last Year at Marianbad’

Robert Altman’s (b 1925) two are ‘Short Cuts’ and ‘Tanner on Tanner’

Stanley Kubrick’s (b 1928) two are ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’

Andrey Tarkovskiy‘s (b 1931) two are ‘Andrei Rublov’ and ‘Nostalghia’

Nagisa Oshima’s (b 1932) two are ‘Death by Hanging’ and ‘Double Suicide: Japanese Summer’

Woody Allen’s (b 1935) two are ‘Annie Hall’ and ‘Sweet and Lowdown’

Krzysztof Kieslowski‘s (b 1941) two are ‘Three Colors: Red’ and ‘Three Colors: Blue’

Raoul Ruiz‘s (b 1941) two are ‘Three Crowns of the Sailor’ and ‘Marcel Proust’s Time Regained’

Werner Herzog’s (b 1942) two are ‘Heart of Glass’ and ‘Aguirre, the Rath of God’

Peter Greenaway’s (b 1942) two are ‘Prospero’s Books’ and ‘The Pillow Book’

Terrence Malick’s (b 1943) two are ‘The Thin Red Line’ and ‘The Tree of Life’

Pedro Almodóvar’s (b 1949) two are ‘Talk to Her’ and ‘Broken Embraces’

Gillian Armstrong’s (b 1950) two are ‘My Brilliant Career’ and ‘Oscar and Lucinda’

Julie Taymor’s (b 1952) two are ‘Oedipus Rex’ and ‘Across the Universe’

Kar Wai Wong’s (b 1956) two are In the ‘Mood for Love’ and ‘2046’

Julio Medem’s (b 1958) two are ‘Sex and Lucia’ and ‘Room in Rome’

Christopher Nolan’s (b 1970) two are ‘Memento’ and ‘Inception’

Notable others with one, expected to deliver a second:

Roman Polanski‘s (b 1933) two are ‘The Tenant’ and …

Ridley Scott‘s (b 1937) two are ‘Blade Runner’ and …

Brian De Palma’s (b 1940) two are ‘Snake Eyes’ and …

David Lynch’s (b 1948) two are ‘Inland Empire’ and …

Guy Maddin’s (b 1956) two are ‘The Saddest Music in the World’ and …

Charlie Kaufman‘s (b 1958) two are ‘Synecdoche, New York’ and …

Baz Luhrmann’s (b 1962) two are ‘Moulin Rouge!’ and …

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s (b 1963) two are ’21 Grams’ and …

With no surprise, many of the actors we admire feature in some of these:

Cate Blanchett (‘Heaven’, ‘Oscar and Lucinda’, ‘I’m Not There’)

Philip Seymour Hoffman (‘Synecdoche, New York’)

Julianne Moore (‘Vanya on 42nd Street’, ‘Short Cuts’)

Sean Penn (‘The Tree of Life’, ’21 Grams’, ‘Sweet and Lowdown’, ‘The Thin Red Line’)

Interesting Cinematographers:

Christopher Doyle (‘In the Mood for Love’, ‘2046’, ‘The Limits of Control’)

Sacha Vierny (‘Hiroshima mon amour’, ‘L’année dernière à Marienbad’, ‘Prospero’s Books’, ‘The Pillow Book’)

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