Paul Greengrass has spent the past twenty-plus years crafting lean, energetic action films such as his Bourne entries — a franchise he returns to this Friday with Jason Bourne — and equally taut docudramas such as Captain Philips and United 93. His staging and editing of action has become a seminal staple of modern cinema, though it has proven hard to properly imitate as the coherence he often achieves is lost on his imitators. His films explore national paranoia and wounded heroes (often Matt Damon), while his style focuses on kinetic, intimate, and spur-of-the-moment action and storytelling.
Thanks to BFI‘s most recent Sight & Sound poll, Greengrass has compiled a list of his ten favorite films, many of which globe trot outside of the U.S. to everywhere from France (Godard), to Japan (Kurosawa), and Russia (Eisenstein), among others. There’s a clear connective thread between the French New Wave style of editing found in Godard’s seminal Breathless and Greengrass’ own frenetic style, as well as the hastened action of Ken Loach‘s Kes.
Check out his favorites below.
The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo)
Battleship Potemkin (Sergei M Eisenstein)
The Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio de Sica)
Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard)
Citizen Kane (Orson Welles)
The Gospel According To Matthew (Pier Paolo Pasolini)
Kes (Ken Loach)
Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa)
The War Game (Peter Watkins)
Z (Costa Gavras)
Jason Bourne hits theaters on Friday.