Every once and a while the legendary Criterion Collection gets filmmakers to pick their top 10 Criterion films. And now they’ve got the people’s director, Christopher Nolan, to submit his top 10. Here’s his top 10, complete with his explanations.
The Hit by Stephen Frears
That Criterion has released this little-known Stephen Frears gem is a testament to the thoroughness of their search for obscure masterworks. Few films have gambled as much on a simple portrayal of the dynamics between desperate men . . .
12 Angry Men by Sidney Lumet
. . . except perhaps this Sidney Lumet classic.
The Thin Red Line by Terrence Malick
What better than Malick’s extraordinary vision of war to demonstrate the technical potential of a carefully mastered Blu-ray? Projecting this disc comes close to the original print quality, and it’s hard to imagine a superior consumer format coming along anytime soon.
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse by Fritz Lang
Lang at his most wicked and entertaining. Essential research for anyone attempting to write a supervillain.
Bad Timing by Nicolas Roeg
Nic Roeg’s films are known for their structural innovation, but it’s great to be able to see them in a form that also shows off their photographic excellence.
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence by Nagisa Oshima
Few films have been able to capture David Bowie’s charisma, but Oshima’s wartime drama seems tailor-made for his talents. Tom Conti has rarely been such a sympathetic guide for the audience’s emotions.
For All Mankind by Al Reinert
An incredible document of man’s greatest endeavor.
Koyaanisqatsi by Godfrey Reggio
An incredible document of how man’s greatest endeavors have unsettling consequences. Art, not propaganda, emotional, not didactic; it doesn’t tell you what to think—it tells you what to think about.
The Complete Mr. Arkadin by Orson Welles
No one could make much of a case for Welles’ abortive movie overall, but the heartbreaking glimpses of the great man’s genius preserved here are the most compelling argument for the value of Criterion’s dedication to cinema.
Greed by Erich von Stroheim
Which brings me to Greed, von Stroheim’s lost work of absolute genius. Which is not available on Criterion. Yet. Here’s hoping.
Not bad, Mr. Nolan! He kind of cheated on the last one because Criterion doesn’t have it available yet, but who’s counting? You, yes you, can check out Nolan’s favorite Criterion films on Hulu Plus. If you don’t know what the Criterion Collection is, here’s a primer: They go and find films that become cultural touchstones and make them available for a wider audience. The widest audience actually: everyone. [Criterion]