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IONCINEPHILE: Tim Sutton’s Top Ten Films of All Time List

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. Tim Sutton (Pavilion), provided us with his all time top ten film list (dated: March 2013).

Ballast – Lance Hammer (2008)
“A film of strung-together moments that make up a whole becomes not only mesmerizing, but truly sublime. I saw Ballast and decided not to give up on making a feature. The fact that people in the industry refer to this film as a cautionary tale rather than as a masterpiece is sad to me.”

Beau Travail poster

Beau Travail – Claire Denis (1999)
“Simply, Clair Denis and Agnes Godard are one of the sweetest director/cinematographer teams in cinema, and this is their masterpiece – effortless in its rhythm and sun-baked imagery, with an ending that makes you think for days.”

Bright Future – Kiyoshi Kurosawa (2003)
“This is such a strange and cool film but not a ton of people know about it or else they think I’m talking about the more famous Kurusawa. It just sticks with me. He shot video when video didn’t look good but this film looks incredible. And the last shot elegantly and without fanfare makes a definitive cinematic statement on the idea of youth.”

Contempt Jean Luc Godard Poster

Contempt – Jean Luc Godard (1963)
“The most effective love letter to a failing marriage ever filmed. It’s Godard’s Blood on the Tracks. The fact that he forced Bridget Bardot – the hottest woman alive – to wear a brown wig so that she resembled his wife is both hysterical and heart-wrenching. Fritz Lang plays himself, Jack Palance threatens to beat Godard up, the studio calling from Hollywood every day, Raoul Coutard’s eye on the rocks of Capri…its a masterpiece crumbling into the sea.”

Goodbye South, Goodbye – Hou Hsiao-hsien (1996)
“The length of the shots and the fluidity of the camera within the quiet and the sense that the story is less story and more of a world is astounding. Hard to choose this over The Puppet-Master, Millennium Mambo, and Three Times, but it is a film I could watch a million times.”

Gummo – Harmony Korine (1997)
“This is a film that can go anywhere and be anything at any one moment. It is so alive its as if it was born into theaters rather than produced. Those kids riding around the town are like myths – a direct influence on Pavilion – and the chair-fight scene is one of the most intense and unobstructed looks into reality that it is able to simultaneously define surrealism. Gummo is America.”

The Passenger – Michelangelo Antonioni (1975)
“Antonioni at his most daring and controlled, Jack Nicholson’s most desperate performance, the most challenging end-sequence in cinema history and we haven’t even brought up Romy Schneider.”

The Sweet Smell of Success – Alexander Mackendrick (1957)
“Odets’ dialogue is without equal. I love this dirty town.”

Taxi Driver – Martin Scorsese (1976)
“The underbelly of urban existence shot with candy coating. It is a gorgeous and elegant cinematic language and, to me, Scorsese’s deepest and most effective film and Deniro’s greatest dive into the abyss. And process is product – Scorsese’s coke dealer as the gun salesman, Peter Boyle’s Wizard having nothing to say, and Bernard Herman’s score is like a silk sledge hammer. And two words left: Cybill. Shepard.”

La Vie De Jesus – Bruno Dumont (1997)
“I saw this film at the New York Film Festival when it came out and people were really visibly angry during the Q & A. it was the first time I thought that it doesn’t matter if everyone likes your film. Dumont’s long takes and use of nonactors while telling a very simple but existential story influences almost everything I write.”

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric 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. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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