Despite the rather harsh criticism for his latest film Downsizing, director Alexander Payne has built his career with Oscar-worthy films like Sideways, The Descendents, and Nebraska. Criterion even chose one of his most loved films, Election, starring Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon, to be shelved in their illustrious library beside some of history's greatest and most important films.

Payne was invited to peruse Criterion's closet to name some of his most favorite films in their collection. Here's what he chose:

Here is the list of films chosen by Payne:

  • Salò, or the 120 Days in Sodom (dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1977)
  • Ace in the Hole (dir. Billy Wilder, 1951)
  • 3 Women (dir. Robert Altman, 1977)
  • Le Plaisir (dir. Max Ophüls, 1954)
  • ¡Alambrista!  (dir. Robert M. Young, 1977)
  • The Breaking Point (dir. Michael Curtiz, 1950)
  • Speedy (dir. Ted Wilde, 1928)
  • Red Beard (dir. Akira Kurosawa, 1965)
  • A Special Day (dir. Ettore Scola, 1977)
  • The Executioner (dir. Luis García Berlanga, 1965)

First of all, was 1977 a good year in cinema, or what? I suppose Payne would say it was. The director provides a fantastic sampling of some great filmmaking, from Wilder's Ace in the Hole to Scola's A Special Day; all superb classics that should definitely be studied. Also, in light of the current political climate, Payne was urged to re-watch another classic, Pasolini's Salò, a terrifyingly brilliant film if you have the stomach for it.

How many films from Payne's list have you seen? What are your favorite Criterion films? Let us know down in the comments.


Source: Criterion Collection