Christopher Nolan And His Favorite Criterion Titles
by Travis Leamons on January 30, 2013

Christopher Nolan, the acclaimed director of Memento, The Prestige and The Dark Knight Trilogy, recently revealed his favorite Criterion titles. In a list that includes works by Orson Welles, Terrence Malick, and Nicolas Roeg, his tastes are eclectic to say the least.

Here is Nolan’s list with his comments (all info courtesy of Criterion):

1. The Hit (Stephen Frears, 1984)

“That Criterion has released this little-known Stephen Frears gem is a testament to the thoroughness of their search for obscure masterworks. Few films have gambled as much on a simple portrayal of the dynamics between desperate men . . .”

2. 12 Angry Men (Sidney Lumet, 1957)

“. . . except perhaps this Sidney Lumet classic.”

3. The Thin Red Line (Terrence Malick, 1998)

“What better than Malick’s extraordinary vision of war to demonstrate the technical potential of a carefully mastered Blu-ray? Projecting this disc comes close to the original print quality, and it’s hard to imagine a superior consumer format coming along anytime soon.”

4. The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (Fritz Lang, 1933)

“Lang at his most wicked and entertaining. Essential research for anyone attempting to write a supervillain.”

5. Bad Timing (Nicolas Roeg, 1980)

“Nic Roeg’s films are known for their structural innovation, but it’s great to be able to see them in a form that also shows off their photographic excellence.”

6. Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (Nagisa Oshima, 1983)

“Few films have been able to capture David Bowie’s charisma, but Oshima’s wartime drama seems tailor-made for his talents. Tom Conti has rarely been such a sympathetic guide for the audience’s emotions.”

7. For All Mankind (Al Reinert, 1989)

“An incredible document of man’s greatest endeavor.”

8. Koyaanisqatsi (Godfrey Reggio, 1982)

“An incredible document of how man’s greatest endeavors have unsettling consequences. Art, not propaganda, emotional, not didactic; it doesn’t tell you what to think—it tells you what to think about.”

9. The Complete Mr. Arkadin (Orson Welles, 1955)

“No one could make much of a case for Welles’ abortive movie overall, but the heartbreaking glimpses of the great man’s genius preserved here are the most compelling argument for the value of Criterion’s dedication to cinema. ”

10. “Which brings me to Greed, von Stroheim’s lost work of absolute genius. Which is not available on Criterion. Yet. Here’s hoping.”

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Travis Leamons

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