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TIFF List: Essential 100 Films

TIFF List: Essential 100 Films

Thompson on Hollywood

The Toronto International Film Festival posts “The Essential 100,” a list of must-see films that merges two lists (one determined by TIFF curators, another by TIFF stakeholders). There are many obvious choices, from The Godfather, Casablanca and Gone With The Wind to Chinatown, as well as such arcane entries as the controversial Salo, or The 120 Days of Sodom from director Pier Paolo Pasolini.

More recent films include: Slumdog Millionaire, Pan’s Labrynth, In The Mood For Love, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Amelie.

The top five are as follows:

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)

As a critic and grad of NYU’s department of cinema studies, one would hope that I would have seen all of these “essential” films. Alas, I have missed the following nine, which I will made a point of viewing ASAP:

1. Panther Panchali (Satyajit Ray)
2. La Jetee (Chris Marker)
3. Through the Olive Trees (Abbas Kiarostami)
4. Dust in the Wind (Hou Hsiao-Hsien)
5. Chronique d’un Ete (Morin and Rouch)
6. La Noir de (Ousmane Sembene)
7. Andrei Rublev (Andrei Tarkovsky)
8. A Nos Amours (Maurice Pialat)
9. Oldboy (Park Chan-Wook)

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I’m sorry Viridiana is on there.
Definitely one of Buñuel’s greatest.
Very very good.

Still want to see the top 1000.


Slumdog Millionaire over the Conformist is absolutely uncalled for. Quite honestly, whether you like Slumdog or not, that movie doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near that list.
There are more Bergman, Dryer, Passolini, Bresson, etc. films that could be above Slumdog. There are actual Bollywood films that he ripped off that could be above Slumdog.
And where is Do The Right Thing or There Will Be Blood?
Where is Luis Buñeul?
These lists are ridiculous. If you truly want to understand film and film history, you have to watch thousands of films. This list is for the person who wants to feel like they can get a grasp on film history by watching a few hand picked “greats” by “people in the know.” Also it is genre skewed half the time. (for example Satyajit Ray who makes films that are more like the Western mode is more legit than Yash Chopra or any number of Bollywood directors – I’m not saying Satyajit is “bad” or “good” but these lists turn it into that) I want to see the essential 1000.


slumdog = crap


jl = idiot


The fact that Benigni’s LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL is on this list and Elem Klimov’s COME AND SEE is not makes me want to track down every member of this “panel of experts” and slap them silly.


Anne, Panther Panchali is magnificent.

A Balehead

I just don’t understand how Slumdog Millionaire makes it into the Top 100 and above City of God and Taxi Driver. Are these critics insane! I can think of 100 better films to choose.

I also think Battleship Potemkin should be in the Top 10. It is simply a work of art and should be appreciated and watched by all film lovers.


long time listener, first time caller…

Watch La Jetee ASAP.

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