Due no doubt to a bureaucratic oversight I was not invited to send my top ten favourite films to Sight & Sound's decennial poll. But I can still share that list here, for all the world to read.
In order to make this project manageable I made a short lost of 30 films, and from these 30 I tried to pick out ten. That was hard. I had no problems making it a top 13 list but that would be cheating, and so three of them have been sent back to the short list. Below are the remaining ten. I decided to restrict myself somewhat, so no director will have more than one film on the list. (The short list had for example four films by Howard Hawks, two by Jean-Pierre Melville and two by Powell/Pressburger.)
So then, here is the top ten list. The films are in chronological order.
Holiday (George Cukor 1938, US)
The Rules of the Game (La règle du jeu, Jean Renoir 1939, France)
Laura (Otto Preminger 1944, US)
A Matter of Life and Death (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger 1946, UK)
My Darling Clementine (John Ford 1946, US)
The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks 1946, US)
Force of Evil (Abraham Polonsky 1948, US)
Journey to Italy (Viaggio in Italia, Roberto Rossellini 1954, Italy)
Le samouraï (Jean-Pierre Melville 1967, France)
The Day of the Jackal (Fred Zinnemann 1973, UK/France)
It is remarkable that three of the films are from 1946. Some year.
I feel bad for there not being a "silent" film among the ten, but I had to be ruthless. Sunrise (F.W. Murnau 1927, US) was among the 13 films and although it is cheating a bit I mention it here. The top ten has films from the US and western Europe only, and no female filmmakers, but again, I had to be ruthless. I offer my sincere apologies to the Japanese and Indian films that almost made it, and to Claire Denis who almost made it too. At the beginning of next year I will come back with a much longer list of my favourite films, part of my twitter project of tweeting a favourite film every Monday, and this list will be much more heterogeneous. If you feel that your favourite film is missing above do not despair yet, it might appear next time. To be continued...