Samuel Wigley

Samuel Wigley

Film critic; online news editor, BFI
Voted in the critics poll

Voted for:

Blissfully Yours 2002 Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Lady from Shanghai, The 1947 Orson Welles
Late Spring 1949 Ozu Yasujirô
Lola 1961 Jacques Demy
Out 1 1990 Jacques Rivette
Partie de campagne 1936 Jean Renoir
Passenger, The 1974 Michelangelo Antonioni
Pierrot le Fou 1965 Jean-Luc Godard
Rio Bravo 1958 Howard Hawks
Vertigo 1958 Alfred Hitchcock


For Late Spring’s heartbreakingly simple inevitability: time passes, things change. For the sublimely strange fusion of noir tropicalia in Orson’s rapt but recriminatory home movie of his then wife Rita Hayworth. For Demy taking Ophülsian romanticism to the streets for his spontaneous nouvelle vague fairytale – not yet a musical but alive to melody and rhythm on France’s Atlantic coast. For the way narrative, conspiracy and game slowly seep in at the edges of docudrama normality in Rivette’s fabulous and frightening half day. For the airy mystery of Antonioni’s globetrotting ‘thriller’, in which Jack Nicholson’s jaded political reporter loses himself between the treacherously beguiling folds of a narrative. For Renoir’s immortal exploration of light, depth, changing weather and the sensuous heaviness of bodies – so casual, tender and tragic. For Pierrot le fou’s doomed utopianism, its yearning referentiality, its blithe incursions into musical or slapstick in the South of France; for ideas going off like firecrackers; for its space, sound and colour. For the Tex-Mex melodies swelling up out of the desert, for Dean Martin pouring the liquor back into the bottle; for its jailhouse singalong; for the eternally appealing Hawksian view of friendship. For Apichatpong’s updated day in the country, the cinema’s newest deadly strain of vaccine-less intoxication. And Vertigo for its endlessly rewatchable mystery, its excavation of an old, weird San Francisco and the oneiric pull of its misty light; for the admission that we remake the ones we love to match our desire; for Scotty insisting that one shouldn’t be so sentimental. Most wrenching exclusions: Chinatown, Robert Altman, I Know Where I’m Going!, Gertrud, Max Ophüls, Shanghai Express, The Portuguese Nun, Nicholas Ray, L’Atalante, Rohmer, Mulholland Dr., L’eclisse, James Mason, Landscape in the Mist, Five Easy Pieces, Le Temps retrouvé, Kiarostami, Dr. No, Le Mépris, Claude Rains, Edvard Munch, Notorious, Les Demoiselles de Rochefort, Toni, Sunrise…