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Sean Byrne’s Top Ten Films of All Time

Have you ever wondered what are the films that inspire the next generation of filmmakers? As part of our monthly IONCINEPHILE profile, we ask the filmmaker the incredibly arduous task of identifying their top ten list of all time favorite films. This month, Sean Byrne (the filmmaker behind The Loved Ones) gave us his top ten (as of September 2009).

Have you ever wondered what are the films that inspire the next generation of 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 all time favorite films. This month, Sean Byrne (the filmmaker behind The Loved Ones) gave us his top ten (as of September 2009).


Barton Fink
“Not only a brilliant satire on Hollywood but a funny and frightening insight into madness. I can’t think of another film that so successfully allows us to see the world through a distorted mind.”


Evil Dead 2
“Pure, inventive, gleefully demented fun. The work of a brilliant filmmaker letting his instinct run free.” 


The Exorcist
“This was the first film I can remember disturbing me. It’s a horror film but it’s really about a mother desperate to protect her child. When you think back to some of the things Linda Blair’s character says and does it’s hard to deny this film really pushed the envelope.”


Lost Highway
“A haunting, hilarious and titillating nightmare. Forget answers and just sit back and take the trip.”


Pulp Fiction
“Has there ever been a cooler film? It’s somehow all that we’d seen boldly presented in a way we’d never seen. The juxtaposition of violence and humor is ingenious. It plays like a great album, with each scene working in isolation and as part of the whole.”


Punch Drunk Love
“Paul Thomas Anderson is consistently great. Romantic comedy is my least favorite genre but this turned the genre on its head. It’s oddball, damaged and heartfelt without ever feeling contrived. Tonally it’s a major high wire act and helped pave the way for dysfunctional comedies like Little Miss Sunshine, another wonderful film.”


Requiem for a Dream
“Darren Aronofsky is a fearless director and this film goes for the jugular. It’s a super stylish descent into hell that proves serious subject matter doesn’t need to be treated like a kitchen sink drama. Clint Mansell’s score is my all time favorite.” 


Se7en
“Brilliant, artful, millimeter perfect direction that spawned a thousand imitators and made nihilism mainstream.” 


Taxi Driver
“It’s stylish, incredibly disciplined and genuinely in touch with the gutter. I love the fact it never begs to be liked. I always re-watch this film before starting a project to remind myself what great, brave filmmaking is.”


Trainspotting
“Set to a brilliant soundtrack Danny Boyle’s film is dazzling, manic, audacious, desperate and poignant all at the same time. It’s electric, virtuoso, low-budget filmmaking.”

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury 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 was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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