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Tilda Swinton Recommends ‘Stranger by the Lake,’ ‘M,’ and 9 More Favorite Films

"It implicates us all," Swinton says of Fritz Lang's 1931 drama. "Mercilessly tough and unforgettably wise."

"Stranger by the Lake"

“Stranger by the Lake”

Strand Releasing

Tilda Swinton has arrived just when we need her most to share a list of 11 favorite movies. The Oscar winner teamed up with the British Film Institute this month to list a selection of films she wants every moviegoer to see. Even better news is that Swinton’s list is accompanied by captions in which the actress shares some personal thoughts on each of her selections. Topping the list is Yasujiro Ozu’s 1932 drama “I Was Born But…,” which Swinton hailed as “a beautiful silent masterpiece about childhood, brotherhood, and learning about how to negotiate fathers and learn the rules of the game.”

The most recent entry on the list is Alain Guiraudie’s 2013 gay romance thriller “Stranger by the Lake,” about a young man who falls in love with a mysterious stranger at a gay cruising beach in France. Swinton said of the movie, “Exquisitely atmospheric summer cruising. Boys looking for boys and the idyll of abandon. A breathtakingly swoony study in wicked tension, the romance of danger, and real erotic yearning.”

Another entry from the last decade is Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s 2010 Palme d’Or winner “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.” Swinton recently worked with Weerasethakul on the drama “Memoria,” which many suspect will show up at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival if the event runs on schedule. “It’s slow cinema at its most immersive, lateral and resonant,” the actress raves. “It’s possible to believe you dreamed Apichatpong’s films after you see them…they certainly take you somewhere you’ve never been before on this earth. Don’t hurry back!”

Other Swinton favorites include Robert Rossellini’s “Journey to Italy” (1954), Jean Cocteau’s “Beauty and the Beast” (1946), Fritz Lang’s M” (1931), Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “Medea” (1970), three Bill Douglas movies (“My Childhood” (1973), “My Ain Folk” (1974), and “My Way Home” (1979)), and Yasujiro Ozu’s “Tokyo Story” (1953).

Of “Journey to Italy” she wrote, “One of the most elliptical and mesmerising films I know. George Sanders and Ingrid Bergman caught in a landscape of alienation — from each other, from southern Italy: a study in inarticulacy, loneliness and longing, built on a radiant belief in miracles.”

For Fritz Lang’s “M,” Swinton said, “Fritz Lang’s first sound film. The German Expressionist cine-temple. Peter Lorre as a child-murderer, Berlin 1931. A chase. A capture. Maybe the original psychological thriller: it implicates us all. Mercilessly tough and unforgettably wise.”

Visit the BFI website for all of Swinton’s thoughts on her favorite films.

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