If one wishes to highlight what made Jacques Rivette a significant figure in the cinematic landscape, it’s key that they cite his cinephilia — the rabid sort that is uncommon in even our smartest voices, filmmaking or otherwise. More than one who saw a bunch of movies, though, the late, great director maintained a critical fashioned at Cahiers into our contemporary day, sharing a wide, sometimes unexpected range of thoughts on what made works of all kinds stand tall or fall apart.
All of which is to say that his list of favorite films should come from a wellspring of knowledge and passion. In any case, his selection, shared by critic Samuel Wigley — rather a selection, being that it’s from the 1962 Sight & Sound ballot — is a fine one for spanning from the form’s earlier days to its then-contemporary masters, and perhaps as an immediate window into the Cahiers critical mindset. (That’s what I’m inclined to think when there are three overlaps with Eric Rohmer’s entry into the same countdown.) Whether or not it’ll reveal new corners of Rivette’s mysterious filmography is for you to find out.
See samples of all below:
1. The Life of Oharu (Kenji Mizoguchi)
2. Germany, Year Zero (Roberto Rossellinni)
3. True Heart Suzie (D.W. Griffith)
4. Sunrise (F.W. Murnau)
5. The River (Jean Renoir)
6. Ivan the Terrible (Sergei Eisenstein)
7. L’Atalante (Jean Vigo)
8. Day of Wrath (Carl Theodor Dreyer)
9. Monsieur Verdoux (Charles Chaplin)
10. Mr. Arkadin: Confidential Report (Orson Welles)
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