What does the director of Inception and The Dark Knight like to watch? What may have inspired some of his visual and storytelling cues? Well, Christopher Nolan has just made a list of his top ten Criterion titles, including one that may be a hint as to what’s to come.
I have included his rankings below along with his brief thoughts as well as a link to buy each. Personally, of those he chose I personally love 12 Angry Men and The Thin Red Line and also enjoyed both The Hit and The Testament of Dr. Mabuse enough to purchase each.
I have never, however, seen Bad Timing, The Complete Mr. Arkadin or Greed the latter of which was directed by Erich von Stroheim who may, now, best be remembered as first husband and butler to Norma Desmond in Sunset Blvd. I have never seen any of the films he directed, unfortunately. Greed, however, is not yet part of the collection, which makes me wonder if this may be a less-than-subtle hint of what may be around the corner.
1.) The Hit (dir. Stephen Frears) ([amazon asin=”B001PYD0L6″ text=”buy it here”])
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 . . .
2.) 12 Angry Men (dir. Sidney Lumet) ([amazon asin=”B005HK13P4″ text=”buy it here”])
. . . except perhaps this Sidney Lumet classic.
3.) The Thin Red Line (dir. Terrence Malick) ([amazon asin=”B003KGBIRA” text=”buy it here”])
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.
4.) The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (dir. Fritz Lang) ([amazon asin=”B0001UZZS6″ text=”buy it here”])
Lang at his most wicked and entertaining. Essential research for anyone attempting to write a supervillain.
5.) Bad Timing (dir. Nicolas Roeg) ([amazon asin=”B00005JMVQ” text=”buy it here”])
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.
6.) Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (dir. Nagisa Oshima) ([amazon asin=”B003UM8T3K” text=”buy it here”])
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.
7.) For All Mankind (dir. Al Reinert) ([amazon asin=”B0026VBOIS” text=”buy it here”])
An incredible document of man’s greatest endeavor.
8.) Koyaanisqatsi (dir. Godfrey Reggio) ([amazon asin=”B009D004MC” text=”buy it here”])
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 thinkâ€”it tells you what to think about.
9.) The Complete Mr. Arkadin (dir. Orson Welles) ([amazon asin=”B000E1OI80″ text=”buy it here”])
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.
10.) Greed (dir. 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.