“Snowpiercer” director Bong Joon-ho’s brainy bunch of Criterion Collection faves, below, runs the gamut from the canonical to the obscure to the cultish. Who knew the director of a gruesomely violent dystopian sci-fi allegory about the 99% had a soft spot for Mike Leigh? “Rushmore”?
In any case, here are Bong’s top ten favorite Criterion films, with his commentary. It’s more of a Blu-ray wish list:
1. “The 400 Blows” (Dir. Francois Truffaut) The most beautiful feature film debut in the history of cinema. I’m extremely curious about the abundant special features on the Blu-ray. I wish to explore every single one.
2. “Fanny and Alexander” (Dir. Ingmar Bergman) The most beautiful ending to a feature film career in the history of cinema. And the most beautiful DVD box set in the history of mankind. I’m keen to find out who the designer of the box set was.
3. “The Ballad of Narayama” (Dir. Keisuke Kinoshita) I would like to compare the film to “The Ballad of Narayama” by Shohei Imamura and “Goryeojang” by Kim Ki-young. I wish to fully experience and appreciate Keisuke Kinoshita’s bold colors through Blu-ray.
4. “Things to Come” (Dir. William Cameron Menzies) I’m anxious to find out if I will be as thoroughly excited by the film as I was by H. G. Wells’s science fiction novels when I read them as a youth.
5. “Lola Montes” (Dir. Max Ophüls) It’s Max Ophüls!
6. “Nashville” (Dir. Robert Altman) There have been many “tapestry films,” including Altman’s own Short Cuts and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia. But I believe Nashville will always be the best in the class.
7. “Life Is Sweet” (Dir. Mike Leigh) The actors/characters in Mike Leigh’s films are always shockingly vivid and alive.
8. “The Man Who Fell to Earth” (Dir. Nicolas Roeg) Nicolas Roeg’s films never cease to be fresh and youthful.
9. “Rushmore” (Dir. Wes Anderson) Wes Anderson’s films are delightfully strange and endearing.
10. “Being John Malkovich” (Dir. Spike Jonze) A few days ago, I had a chance to meet Spike Jonze, and we talked briefly. The meeting left me with a strong impulse to go inside his head and explore the corners of his mind.
Also, below, watch as Bong peruses the Criterion closet and cherry-picks more favorites. One of TOH!’s favorite films of the year so far, “Snowpiercer” is now in theaters and hits VOD tomorrow, Friday July 11, via RADiUS-TWC.