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Gaspar Noé : "10 films that have had the greatest impact on me"

24 août 2012

Sight & Sound The Greatest Films of All Time 2012 (source)

This is the list of films that have had the greatest impact on me or influenced me the most in my life. Against my will, I had to leave out films by Murnau, Lang, Von Stroheim, Browning, Dreyer, Belson, Pontecorvo, Wakamatsu, Fassbinder, Eustache, Cavalier, Cronenberg and Mungiu which all featured in my much more extensive initial list. 2001: A Space Odyssey: This is the film I've seen more than any other in my life – 40 times or more. My life altered when I discovered it when I was about seven in Buenos Aires. It was my first hallucinogenic experience, my great artistic turning point and also the moment when my mother finally explained what a foetus was and how I came into the world. Without this film I would never have become a director.

Un Chien Andalou: If there's one premiere I would dream of attending, it’s this film which was decades ahead of its time. There are many directors whose films inspire envy, but in the case of Buñuel, it’s also his life that does it. More of a cry of happiness than a call to murder.

Scorpio Rising: A a film as unique as it is perfect. Much like with Un Chien Andalou, I can watch it on repeat and never get bored. A great aesthetic experience that can only be compared to Anger’s other masterpiece, Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome.

King Kong: Another film as perfect as it is extraordinary. I wish I could have been at the first screening in 1993! That must have been pure magic for contemporary spectators. With 2001 and Metropolis, it's one of the three most ambitious films of all time and the greatest spectacle of entertainment that I know of.

Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom: The film that my mother considered it essential to take me to see on the eve of my 18th birthday. I was old enough to learn the torture and the reptilian nature of human relationships. To this day, I continue to consider it as the most educational film about man’s domination by man.

Eraserhead: This film is the second reason why I wanted to learn how to make films. For me it’s the film that best reproduces the language of dreams and nightmares. Apparently Kubrick once said that he regretted not having directed it himself.

Angst: A great lesson in visual imagination but also in psychopathology. This film, still poorly known film in Anglo-Saxon countries, was my perpetual point of reference while shooting Seul Contre Tous. It’s the most emotional film about a murderer that I’ve ever seen. I had a VHS dubbed into French that I showed my friends about 50 times.

Taxi Driver: If there's a cinematic hero I dream of being, it’s Travis Bickle. This film fills me with joy at De Niro’s charisma and Scorsese’s amphetaminic staging. He’s the kindest and most cinephilic film director I’ve ever had the luck of meeting. With Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver, this is the film that seems to best represent the dirty New York of the ’60s and ’70s as the centre of the world in which I partly grew up.

Soy Cuba: A revolutionary and lyrical film where the movements turn the camera into a symphonic instrument, and one of the principal sources of inspiration for my long sequence shots in Irreversible and Enter the Void.

Amour: I hesitated to put this on the list because the emotions are still so raw. I saw it this year in Cannes while my mother was approaching the end of her life as painfully as the film’s heroine. I cried more than in perhaps any other film in my life as a cinephile. Haneke brought to the screen suffering linked to illness and old age exactly as it exists in every family, as it must have existed for a very long time.

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