IONCINEPHILE of the Month: Travis Gutiérrez Senger’s Top Ten Films of All Time List

Travis Gutiérrez Senger Desert Cathedral

Have you ever wondered what are the films that inspire the next generation of visionary filmmakers? As part of our monthly IONCINEPHILE profile, we ask the filmmaker (in this case, American indie filmmaker Travis Gutiérrez Senger) to identify their all time top ten favorite films. Senger’s Desert Cathedral receives its VOD release this September 27th and just prior to that, there’ll be special theatrical events in NY, LA, and Seattle. In no particular order, here is his top ten as of September 2016.

2001: A Space Odyssey– Stanley Kubrick (1968)
The colors, the design, the photography and the trippy handling of the material and the marketing materials make this one of my top 3 films of all time. Kubrick and Clarke’s imagination are pushed to the limits in this film, which I think is Kubrick’s most human film and his masterpiece.

8 1/2 – Federico Fellini (1963)
Saw this the other night on 35MM and it is still my favorite film; it’s structurally so strong, has an incredible sense of movement both with camera and the players and penetration into the male director’s psyche is confessional, sad and hilarious. The design is as cool today as it was then.

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 (2014)
Everything is firing on all four cylinders here–the acting, photography, direction, music and design. The script is one of the best that has been written in many years with incredible comic wit, timing and a surprising degree of emotional depth. Like 8 1/2 we are taken on a journey through the psyche of the main character; this along with the contemporary and timeless themes give it repeat viewing pleasure.

 – Stanley Kubrick (1999)
One of Kubrick’s best. a psycho sexual odyssey that is
probably more relevant today as the film explores the underworld of the uber rich in NYC. The master’s compositions, pacing and music asserts him as one of the true greats.

 (1999)
Saw this in High School and the film along with a wired PT Anderson on the Magnolia Diary made me want to be a filmmaker. The language of the film and lack of a single protagonist make it a Hollywood rarity and gem.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Milos Forman (1975)
The naturalistic photography, extraordinary acting and sublime portrait of mental illness make this one of the best pictures ever made. Nicholson is galvanic and at his best here. Forman may be the greatest actor’s directors of all time.

Paris, Texas – Wim Wenders (1983)
Definitely an inspiration for Desert Cathedral. The man lost in the desert and a re-imagining of the west for the 20th century really hit me. The emotional layers to the film that peel back so subtly are rewarding and not too sentimental.

style-wars-poster

Style Wars – Tony Silver (1983)

“The best documentary film ever made about Hip-Hop, captured on beautiful 16mm in both color and B/W, the film has an incredible plot and the subjects are young, ambitious and fighting against the gritty streets of the Bronx, trying to find a way to express themselves.”

There Will Be Blood – Paul Thomas Anderson (2007)
From the opening score (Greenwood is a murderer here) and Plainview crawling out of a hole like a snake to the ending where Plainview beats the preacher to death, the film took my breath away. It’s one of the best psychological journeys through the heart of American greed and capitalism where oil and religion create a very strange brew.

In Vanda’s Room – Pedro Costa (2000)
I watched this after the first part of the Letters to Fontainhas, Ossos, and there is a point where you realize the non-actors from the first film are now the main focus and we’ve jumped from 35MM to SD. The impression was unforgettable. The two sisters smoking heroin in the favelas and Costa’s Vermeer like handling burnt these images into my brain.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, editor-in-chief and film critic at IONCINEMA.com (founded in 2000). Eric splits his time between his home base in Montreal, NYC, and is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. Top Films From Contemporary Film Auteurs: Almodóvar (Talk to Her), Coen Bros. (Fargo), Dardennes (La Promesse), Haneke (Caché), Hsiao-Hsien (Three Times), Kar-wai (In the Mood for Love), Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry), Lynch (Mulholland Dr.), Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho), von Trier (Breaking the Waves)