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Aaron Katz’s Top 10 Films of All-Time

Have you ever wondered what are the films that inspire the next generation of visionary filmmakers? As part of our monthly IONCINEPHILE profile (read here), we ask the filmmaker the incredibly arduous task of identifying their top ten list of favorite films. This month we feature Aaron Katz [Cold Weather 02.04]. Here are his Top 10 Films of All Time as of February 2011.

Have you ever wondered what are the films that inspire the next generation of visionary filmmakers? As part of our monthly IONCINEPHILE profile (read here), we ask the filmmaker the incredibly arduous task of identifying their top ten list of favorite films. This month we feature Aaron Katz [Cold Weather 02.04]. Here are his Top 10 Films of All Time as of February 2011.

A Night at the Opera – Sam Wood (1935)
My favorite movie. Great scene follows great scene. The state-room, the contract, the Russian aviators, and my all-time favorite, the bed moving scene. From that scene:

Detective: You live here all alone?
Groucho: Yes. Just me and my memories. I’m practically a hermit.
Detective: Oh. A hermit. I notice the table’s set for four.
Groucho. That’s nothing, my alarm clock is set for eight. That doesn’t prove a thing.

Alien – Ridley Scott (1979)
By far my favorite science fiction and my favorite horror movie. The build in the first half is terrifying and it’s one of the rare horror movies that gets scarier once you know what’s going on. Also, why are the effects in a 30+ year old movie more convincing than any movie in the last 15 years?

Hud – Martin Ritt (1963)
My favorite Paul Newman performance. Also, probably my favorite use of 2.35 ever.

Il Posto – Ermanno Olmi (1961)
Quiet, gentle, and funny. Amazing performances and beautifully shot. This movie is to humanism as A Night at the Opera is to comedy.

The Last Days of Disco – Whit Stilman (1998)
The Last Days of Disco brilliantly explores how relationships shift, things change, people move on, and before you know it the life you thought you were leading — the life that seemed so important at the time — has become something completely different. Also, amazing use of music.

M. Hulot’s Holiday – Jacques Tati (1953)
Again, hard to pick just one Tati, but I have to go with M. Hulot’s Holiday for the jokes. The “funeral wreath” and drooping taffy alone make it hard to beat.

The New World – Terrence Malick (2005)
My favorite Terrence Malick movie. I very rarely see movies two times in the theater when they first come out, but I did with The New World. There’s no other movie like this.

Tokyo Story – Yasujirô Ozu (1953)
It’s hard to pick just one Ozu movie, but I think Tokyo story is my favorite. Despite being of a completely different time and culture the relationships couldn’t feel more familiar or truthful.

Unfaithfully Yours – Preston Sturges (1948)
I thought Unfaithfully Yours was only okay for the first hour. I was confused about why people like it so much until I realized that the entire movie is a set up for one 20 minute comedy sequence. I was uncontrollably laughing for the entire 20 minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard for such a sustained period. By the end I was hoping there weren’t any more jokes, because I was in intense physical pain from laughing.

***

US Go Home (Tous les garçons et les filles de leur âge…) – Claire Denis (1993)
Speaking of music, here’s a movie that makes incredible use of music. To me there’s no one who uses music better than Claire Denis. She does it in this movie and also in 35 Shots of Rum and Beau Travail. I like this movie best though because it captures being young better than just about anything else.

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and 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 3 from 2016: Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt), Things to Come (Mia Hansen-Løve), Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade)

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