Best films to win Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival

The July/August 2009 issue of Film Comment polled several critics on the best films to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Taxi Driver placed first, ahead of films such as Il Gattopardo, Viridiana, Blowup, The Conversation, Apocalypse Now, La Dolce Vita, and Pulp Fiction. Votes were cast by Melissa Anderson, Geoff Andrew, Richard Brody, Michael Chaiken, Chris Chang, Chris Darke, Scott Foundas, J. Hoberman, Alexander Horwath, Kent Jones, Laura Kern, Nathan Lee, Elisabeth Lequeret, Adrian Martin, Olaf Möller, James Quandt, Jonathan Romney, Gavin Smith, Chuck Stephens, and Amy Taubin.

1. Taxi Driver Martin Scorsese, 1976
2. The Leopard Luchino Visconti, 1963
3. Viridiana Luis Buñuel, 1961
4. The Conversation Francis Ford Coppola, 1979
5. The Third Man Carol Reed, 1949
6. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg Jacques Demy, 1964
7. Rosetta Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 1999
8. Blow-Up Michelangelo Antonioni, 1967
9. Apocalypse Now Francis Ford Coppola, 1979
10. The Wages of Fear Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1953
11. La Dolce Vita Federico Fellini, 1960
12. Othello Orson Welles, 1952
13. Under the Sun of Satan Maurice Pialat, 1987
14. Taste of Cherry Abbas Kiarostami, 1997
15. If… Lindsay Anderson 1969
16. The Tree of Wooden Clogs Ermanno Olmi, 1978
17. The Cranes are Flying Mikhail Kalatozov, 1958
18. Kagemusha Akira Kurosawa, 1980
19. Padre Padrone Paolo & Vittorio Taviani, 1977
20. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days Cristian Mungiu, 2007
21. The Ballad of Narayama Shohei Imamura, 1983
22. Brief Encounter David Lean, 1946
23. The Working Class Goes to Heaven Elio Petri, 1972
24. The Go-Between Joseph Losey, 1971
25. The Eel Shohei Imamura, 1997
26. Pulp Fiction Quentin Tarantino, 1994
27. The Tin Drum Volker Schlöndorff, 1979
28. Wild at Heart David Lynch, 1990
29. Underground Emir Kusturica, 1995
30. L’Enfant Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2005

Film Comment (1 year subscription)
Film Comment Magazine March April 2019
Film Comment Digital Anthology – Rainer Werner Fassbinder (kindle)
Film Comment Volume 7 Number 1 Spring 1971




Taxi Driver (1976)

Director: Martin Scorsese Cinematographer: Michael Chapman
 Taxi Driver (1976) on IMDb

Leading on from the critical acclaim of Mean Streets, Martin Scorsese continued further into the darker side of New York City with a film set soon after the Vietnam War. Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) is a lonely and depressed young man and former Marine living in Manhattan who becomes a night time taxi driver in order to cope with his chronic insomnia. Bickle becomes attracted to a young woman (Cybill Shepherd), shows concern for a child prostitute (a disturbingly precocious turn from Jodie Foster), and becomes progressively more troubled over what he sees as the city’s filth and human scum. His compressed anger finally erupts into a rage focused simultaneously on Foster’s pimp and Shepherd’s boss, a political candidate. Brilliant and  controversially violent, the film features an alarming psychological atmosphere (enhanced by a jazzy and eerie music score by Bernard Hermann), a remarkable central performance from De Niro and established Scorsese as one of the great talents of the New Hollywood era.

Buy or Rent (watch online) Sundance Now (free trial followed by subscription)
40th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray]
Original Soundtrack Recording
Steve Schapiro: Taxi Driver (book)
(24×36) (Two Guns, Smiling) Poster Print
Movie Poster featuring Robert Deniro and Jodi Foster 8 x 10 Inch
You Lookin’ At Me? Bundle (Mastered in 4K) with Travis Bickle Action Figure



  • Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle

While preparing for his role as Bickle, De Niro was filming Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1900 in Italy. According to co-star Peter Boyle, he would “finish shooting on a Friday in Rome … get on a plane … [and] fly to New York”. De Niro obtained a taxi driver’s license, and when on break would pick up a taxi and drive around New York for a couple of weeks, before returning to Rome to resume filming 1900. De Niro apparently lost 35 pounds and listened repeatedly to a taped reading of the diaries of Arthur Bremer (who attempted to assassinate presidential candidate George Wallace). When he had time off from shooting 1900, De Niro visited an army base in Northern Italy and tape-recorded soldiers from the Midwestern United States, whose accents he thought might be appropriate for Travis’s character.

  • Jodie Foster as Iris
  • Harvey Keitel as Sport
  • Cybill Shepherd as Betsy
  • Albert Brooks as Tom
  • Leonard Harris as Charles Palantine
  • Peter Boyle as Wizard
  • Steven Prince as Andy, Gun Salesman

Directed by Martin Scorsese
Produced by Julia Phillips, Michael Phillips
Screenplay by Paul Schrader
Music by Bernard Herrmann
Cinematography Michael Chapman
Edited by Tom Rolf, Melvin Shapiro
Running time 113 minutes
Country United States
Language English

TIFF’s Essential 100

In 2010, the Toronto International Film Festival released its “Essential 100” list of films, which merged one list of the 100 greatest films of all time as determined by an expert panel of TIFF curators with another list determined by TIFF stakeholders. The list reads like a definitive guide to the best of world cinema.

1 THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (Carl Theodor Dreyer)
2 CITIZEN KANE (Orson Welles)
3 L’AVVENTURA (Michaelangelo Antonioni)
4 THE GODFATHER (Francis Ford Coppola)
5 PICKPOCKET (Robert Bresson)
6 SEVEN SAMURAI (Akira Kurosawa)
7 PATHER PANCHALI (Satyajit Ray)
8 CASABLANCA (Michael Curtiz)
10 BICYCLE THIEVES (Vittorio De Sica)
11 ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL (Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
12 8 ½ (Federico Fellini)
13 BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN (Sergei Eisenstein)
14 RASHOMON (Akira Kurosawa)
15 TOKYO STORY (Yasujiro Ozu)
16 THE 400 BLOWS (François Truffaut)
17 UGETSU (Kenji Mizoguchi)
18 BREATHLESS (Jean-Luc Godard)
19 L’ATALANTE (Jean Vigo)
20 CINEMA PARADISO (Giuseppe Tornatore)
23 PERSONA (Ingmar Bergman)
24 GONE WITH THE WIND (Victor Fleming)
25 SUNRISE (F.W. Murnau)
26 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (Stanley Kubrick)
27 VOYAGE IN ITALY (Roberto Rossellini)
28 AMÉLIE (Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
29 CITY LIGHTS (Charlie Chaplin)
30 STAR WARS (George Lucas)
31 SHERLOCK JR. (Buster Keaton)
32 RULES OF THE GAME (Jean Renoir)
33 THE LEOPARD (Luchino Visconti)
34 LA DOLCE VITA (Federico Fellini)
35 L’ARRIVÉE D’UN TRAIN À LA CIOTAT (Frères LumiereLouis Lumière and Auguste Lumière)
36 THE WIZARD OF OZ (Victor Fleming)
37 LA JETÉE (Chris Marker)
38 VERTIGO (Alfred Hitchcock)
39 NIGHT AND FOG (Alain Resnais)
40 PULP FICTION (Quentin Tarantino)
41 THE SEARCHERS (John Ford)
43 THE CONFORMIST (Bernardo Bertolucci)
44 CITY OF GOD (Fernando Meirelles)
45 TAXI DRIVER (Martin Scorsese)
46 APOCALYPSE NOW (Francis Ford Coppola)
47 SALÓ, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM (Pier Paolo Pasolini)
48 THE SEVENTH SEAL (Ingmar Bergman)
49 LE VOYAGE DANS LA LUNE (Georges Méliès)
50 METROPOLIS (Fritz Lang)

51 THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS (Gillo Pontecorvo)
52 IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (Wong Kar Wai)
53 VIRIDIANA (Luis Buñuel)
54 LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL (Roberto Benigni)
55 THE SORROW AND THE PITY (Marcel Ophüls)
56 PAN’S LABYRINTH (Guillermo del Toro)
58 BLADE RUNNER (Ridley Scott)
59 THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES (Abbas Kiarostami)
61 BRINGING UP BABY (Howard Hawks)
62 SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (Stanley Donen)
63 JOHNNY GUITAR (Nicholas Ray)
64 A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (Stanley Kubrick)
66 M (Fritz Lang)
67 SCORPIO RISING (Kenneth Anger)
68 PSYCHO (Alfred Hitchcock)
69 DUST IN THE WIND (Hou Hsiao-Hsien)
70 SCHINDLER’S LIST (Steven Spielberg)
71 NASHVILLE (Robert Altman)
73 WAVELENGTH (Michael Snow)
74 JULES ET JIM (François Truffaut)
75 CHRONIQUE D’UN ÉTÉ (Edgar Morin and Jean Rouch)
76 THE LIVES OF OTHERS (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck)
77 GREED (Erich von Stroheim)
78 SOME LIKE IT HOT (Billy Wilder)
79 JAWS (Steven Spielberg)
80 ANNIE HALL (Woody Allen)
81 THE BIRTH OF A NATION (D.W. Griffith)
83 LA NOIRE DE… (Ousmane Sembene)
84 RAGING BULL (Martin Scorsese)
86 CHINATOWN (Roman Polanski)
87 ANDREI RUBLEV (Andrei Tarkovsky)
88 WINGS OF DESIRE (Wim Wenders)
89 VIDEODROME (David Cronenberg)
90 WRITTEN ON THE WIND (Douglas Sirk)
91 THE THIRD MAN (Carol Reed)
92 BLUE VELVET (David Lynch)
94 BREAKING THE WAVES (Lars von Trier)
95 A NOS AMOURS (Maurice Pialat)
96 CLEO DE 5 A 7 (Agnès Varda)
97 ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER (Pedro Almodóvar)
98 EARTH (Aleksandr Dovzhenko)
99 OLDBOY (Park Chan-wook)
100 PLAYTIME (Jacques Tati)

Michael Mann (Sight & Sound) Top 10 Films

Michael Kenneth Mann is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer of film and television who is best known for his distinctive brand of stylised crime drama. For his work, he has received nominations from international organisations and juries, including those at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Cannes and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His most acclaimed works are the crime film Heat (1995) and the docudrama The Insider (1999). Total Film ranked Mann No. 28 on its list of the 100 Greatest Directors Ever, Sight and Sound ranked him No. 5 on their list of the 10 Best Directors of the Last 25 Years, and Entertainment Weekly ranked Mann No. 8 on their 25 Greatest Active Film Directors list. Below are his top 10 choices for Sight & Sound’s Director film poll for 2012.

Apocalypse Now 1979 Francis Ford Coppola
Avatar 2009 James Cameron
Battleship Potemkin 1925 Sergei M Eisenstein
Biutiful 2009 Alejandro González Iñárritu
Citizen Kane 1941 Orson Welles
Dr. Strangelove 1963 Stanley Kubrick
My Darling Clementine 1946 John Ford
Passion of Joan of Arc 1927 Carl Theodor Dreyer
Raging Bull 1980 Martin Scorsese
The Wild Bunch 1969 Sam Peckinpah

Heat (BFI Modern Classics) Paperback
Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (BFI Film Classics) Paperback





Béla Tarr (Sight & Sound) Top 10 Films

Béla Tarr is a Hungarian film director. His body of work consists mainly of art films with philosophical themes and long takes. Tarr began his directorial career with a brief period of what he refers to as “social cinema”, aimed at telling mundane stories about ordinary people, often in the style of cinema vérité. Over the next decade, the cinematic style and thematic elements of his films changed. Tarr has been interpreted as having a pessimistic view of humanity; the characters in his works are often cynical, and have tumultuous relationships with one another in ways critics have found to be darkly comic. Almanac of Fall (1984), his only colour film, follows the inhabitants of a run-down apartment as they struggle to live together while sharing their hostilities. The drama Damnation (1988) was lauded for its languid and controlled camera movement, which Tarr would become known for internationally. Satan’s Tango (1994) and Werckmeister Harmonies (2000) continued his bleak and desolate representations of reality, while incorporating apocalyptic overtones; the former sometimes appears in scholarly polls of the greatest films ever made, and the latter received wide acclaim from critics. Below are his top 10 choices for Sight & Sound’s Director film poll for 2012.

Alexander Nevsky 1938 Sergei M Eisenstein
Au Hasard Balthazar 1966 Robert Bresson
Berlin Alexanderplatz Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Frenzy 1972 Alfred Hitchcock
M 1931 Fritz Lang
Man with a Movie Camera 1929 Dziga Vertov
Passion of Joan of Arc 1927 Carl Theodor Dreyer
The Round Up 1966 Miklos Jancso
Tokyo Story 1953 Ozu Yasujirô
Vivre sa Vie 1962 Jean-Luc Godard

Tarr Bela: I Used to Be A Filmmaker (Buy or Rent, watch online)
Béla Tarr, the Time After (Univocal) Paperback
The Cinema of Béla Tarr: The Circle Closes (Directors’ Cuts) Paperback
Béla Tarr Collection – 5-DVD Box Set ( Kárhozat / Sátántangó / Panelkapcsolat ) ( Damnation / Satantango / The Prefab People ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.0 Import – France ]
Organic Cinema: Film, Architecture, and the Work of Béla Tarr (Hardcover)

Walter Salles (Sight & Sound) Top 10 Films

Walter Moreira Salles, Jr. is a Brazilian filmmaker and film producer of international prominence. In 1998 he released Central do Brasil (Central Station) to widespread international acclaim and two Academy Awards nominations, for Best Actress in a Leading Role and Best Foreign Language Film. Salles won a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, becoming the first Brazilian to win a Golden Globe. In 2001, Abril Despedaçado (Behind the Sun), starring Rodrigo Santoro, was nominated for the Best Foreign Film Golden Globes. In 2003, Salles was voted one of the 40 Best Directors in the World by The Guardian. His biggest international success has been Diarios de Motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries), a 2004 film about the life of young Ernesto Guevara, who later became known as Che Guevara. Below are his top 10 choices for Sight & Sound’s Director film poll for 2012.

1963 Federico Fellini
Andrei Rublev 1966 Andrei Tarkovsky
Apocalypse Now 1979 Francis Ford Coppola
City Lights 1931 Charles Chaplin
Memories of Underdevelopment 1968 Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
Passenger, The 1974 Michelangelo Antonioni
Passion of Joan of Arc 1927 Carl Theodor Dreyer
Pierrot le Fou 1965 Jean-Luc Godard
Barren Lives 1963 Nelson Pereira dos Santos
Hour of the Wolf 1968 Ingmar Bergman

Walter Salles 8 Inch x10 Inch PHOTOGRAPH Dark Water (2005) Giving Direction to Bill Mechanic & Ashley Kramer kn
Walter Salles 8 Inch x10 Inch PHOTOGRAPH Dark Water (2005) Laughing w/John C. Reilly & Pete Postlethwaite kn
On the Road 8Inch x 10Inch Photo Walter Salles Giving Direction to Viggo Mortensen kn

Tsai Ming-Liang (Sight & Sound) Top 10 Films

Tsai Ming-liang is a Taiwanese filmmaker. He has written and directed ten feature films and has also directed many short films and television films. Tsai is one of the most celebrated “Second New Wave” film directors of Taiwanese cinema. His films have been acclaimed worldwide and have won numerous awards at film festivals. Below are his top 10 choices for Sight & Sound’s Director film poll for 2012.

400 Blows, The 1959 François Truffaut
L’Eclisse 1962 Michelangelo Antonioni
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul 1974 Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Goodbye, Dragon Inn 2003 Tsai Ming Liang
Mouchette 1966 Robert Bresson
The Night of the Hunter 1955 Charles Laughton
The Only Son 1936 Ozu Yasujirô
Passion of Joan of Arc 1927 Carl Theodor Dreyer
Spring in a Small Town 1948 Fei Mu
Sunrise 1927 F. W. Murnau

Tsai Ming-liang and a Cinema of Slowness (Hardcover)
Tsai Ming-Liang (Paperback)
The River by Ming-liang Tsai (DVD)
The Hole by Ming-liang Tsai (DVD)
Ming-liang Tsai Films 1992-1997 (Rebels of the Neon God / The River / Vive l’amour) [Blu-ray]
Cinematic Absence: An Analysis of Tsai Ming-liang’s “Goodbye Dragon Inn” (Paperback)


Atom Egoyan (Sight & Sound) Top 10 Films

Atom Egoyan is a Canadian stage and film director, writer, and producer. Egoyan made his career breakthrough with Exotica (1994), a film set primarily in and around the fictional Exotica strip club. Egoyan’s most critically acclaimed film is the drama The Sweet Hereafter (1997), for which he received two Academy Award nominations, and his biggest commercial success is the erotic thriller Chloe (2009). Below are his top 10 choices for Sight & Sound’s Director film poll for 2012.

2001: A Space Odyssey 1968 Stanley Kubrick
1963 Federico Fellini
Bicycle Thieves, The 1948 Vittorio de Sica
Breathless 1960 Jean-Luc Godard
Godfather: Part I, The 1972 Francis Ford Coppola
Metropolis 1927 Fritz Lang
Passion of Joan of Arc 1927 Carl Theodor Dreyer
Persona 1966 Ingmar Bergman
Pulp Fiction 1994 Quentin Tarantino
Vertigo 1958 Alfred Hitchcock

The Atom Egoyan Collection (7 Disc Set) [DVD]
Speaking Parts by Zeitgeist Films by Atom Egoyan (DVD)
Adoration / While She Way Out / Nothing but the Truth by Atom Egoyan (DVD)
Where the Truth Lies (Rated Edition) by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment by Atom Egoyan (DVD)
Adoration by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment by Atom Egoyan (DVD)

Manoel de Oliveira (Sight & Sound) Top 10

Manoel Cândido Pinto de Oliveira was a Portuguese film director and screenwriter born in Cedofeita, Porto. He first began making films in 1927 and 1931 he completed his first film Douro, Faina Fluvial, a documentary about his home city Porto made in the city symphony genre. He made his feature film debut in 1942 with Aniki-Bóbó and continued to make shorts and documentaries for the next 30 years. In 1971 Oliveira made his second feature narrative film Past and Present, a social satire that both set the standard for his film career afterwards and gained him recognition in the global film community. He continued making films of growing ambition throughout the 1970s and 1980s, gaining critical acclaim and numerous awards. Beginning in the late 1980s he was one of the most prolific working film directors and made an average of one film per year past the age of 100. In March 2008 he was reported to be the oldest active film director in the world. He was also the only filmmaker whose active career spanned from the silent era to the digital age. Below are his top 10 choices for Sight & Sound’s Director film poll for 2012.

Battleship Potemkin 1925 Sergei M Eisenstein
Gertrud 1964 Carl Theodor Dreyer
Gold Rush, The 1925 Charles Chaplin
Informer, The 1935 John Ford
Ivan the Terrible 1945 Sergei M Eisenstein
Journey to Italy 1954 Roberto Rossellini
Mouchette 1966 Robert Bresson
Passion of Joan of Arc 1927 Carl Theodor Dreyer
Playtime 1967 Jacques Tati
Ugetsu Monogatari 1953 Mizoguchi Kenji

Manoel de Oliveira 100 years 22-DVD Anniversary Box Set [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import – Portugal ] [DVD]Manoel De Oliveira (Contemporary Film Directors) (book)

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1927)

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer Cinematographer: Rudolph Maté
 The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) on IMDb

Dreyer’s last silent film, The Passion of Joan of Arc was shot in France with massive technical and financial resources and in conditions of great creative freedom. Having spent over a year researching Joan of Arc (played here by stage actress Renée Jeanne Falconetti, in her only major film role), Dreyer forgoes medieval pageantry or Joan’s military exploits, instead using the records of the Rouen trial to focus on the spiritual and political conflicts of her last day as a captive of England. Instantly acclaimed by critics as a masterpiece (although it was a commercial failure), the film is probably most notable for the symbolic progression of close-up faces that reaches an apotheosis in the long sustained sequence of Joan’s interrogation against a menacing architectural backdrop. Despite French nationalists’ scepticism about whether a Danish person could be in charge of a film that centred on one of France’s most revered historical icons, it’s Dreyer’s brilliant direction, particularly the unconventional emphasis on the actors’ facial features, that along with Falconetti’s unforgettable performance, gives the film its immense emotional power.

Buy or Rent (watch online)
The Criterion Collection [Blu-ray]
The Criterion Collection (DVD)
Maria Falconetti As Joan Of Arc 1928 Photo Print (16 x 20)
Paper Poster, 18″ x 27″
Movie Poster 1928 Vintage
The New Filmgoer’s Guide to God: From The Passion of Joan of Arc to Philomena (kindle)
The Passion of Joan of Arc Screenplay by Carl Theodor Dreyer Translated by Oliver Stallybrass [Student Loose Leaf Edition]



      • Renée Jeanne Falconetti as Jeanne d’Arc

    • “That shaven head was and remains the abstraction of the whole epic of Joan of Arc.” Jean Renoir
  • Dreyer was initially unimpressed with seeing Falconetti perform in an amateur theatre but saw something in her he thought he could bring out. With a reputation as a tyrannical director, the filmmaker reportedly treated her harshly (although the rumours are disputed).  The film was instantly acclaimed by critics as a masterpiece although Falconetti, who always preferred the art of theater to cinema, said she never understood the positive reaction to the film’s acting. However, her iconic performance, often listed as one of the finest in cinema history, and her devotion to the role during filming, are considered legendary among film scholars.
    • Eugène Silvain as Évêque Pierre Cauchon
    • André Berley as Jean d’Estivet, the prosecutor
    • Maurice Schutz as Nicolas Loyseleur, a canon
    • Antonin Artaud as Jean Massieu, the Dean of Rouen
    • Gilbert Dalleu as Jean Lemaitre, the Vice-Inquisitor
    • Jean d’Yd as Nicolas de Houppeville
    • Louis Ravet as Jean Beaupère (as Ravet)
    • Michel Simon as a Judge
    • Paul Fromet as a Judge
    • Armand Lurville as a Judge
    • Camille Bardou as Lord Warwick, the English Captain in Rouen
    • Jacques Arnna as a Judge
    • Alexandre Mihalesco as a Judge
    • Raymond Narlay as a Judge
    • Henry Maillard as a Judge
    • Léon Larive as a Judge
    • Henry Gaultier as a Judge
    • Paul Jorge as a Judge

Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer
Screenplay by Joseph Delteil, Carl Theodor Dreyer
Cinematography Rudolph Maté
Edited by Marguerite Beaugé, Carl Theodor Dreyer
Running time 110 minutes
Country France
Language Silent film, French intertitles


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