The Film Archive

The Film Archive

The Film Archive is a selection of my favourite movies ever made. Admittedly, the listing has a very contemporary bent as most of these films were created within the last two decades. However, more than just being an arbitrary preference, this is due to a higher degree of relatability and critical engagement with the visual culture of my own time. 

The films below represent a diverse range of genres, cinematic styles, time periods and geographic settings. However, they all share a critical tendency toward challenging and subverting the technical and conceptual conventions of mainstream cinema.

For example, movies like 45 Years (2015), After the Storm (2016) and Squid and the Whale (2005) illuminate on the complex personal tensions that arise in everyday life between family members, couples and friends. This realist approach to film, also including works like Boyhood (2014), Sideways (2004) and Little Men (2016), are typified by attention to time, sensory experience and non-stylised human interactions, thus showcasing the subtle beauty of banal quotidian moments. 

Some of these films, however, embrace a bolder stylistic approach to tell their stories. Films such as Phantom Thread (2017), Carol (2015) and Jackie (2016) pair the visual allure of a former epoch, through the use of elegant wardrobes and glamorous set designs, with moving orchestrated musical scores, to produce scenes that reimagine the magic of classic Hollywood. Other works like Moonlight (2016), The Florida Project (2017) and A Single Man (2009) embrace the cinematographic power of colour to evoke a wide-ranging palette of moods, actions and thoughts. Similarly, Looking for Langston (1989) eschews the need for linear story-telling, instead blurring the line between the real and the imagined by reworking the relationship between image and sound. 

Furthermore, movies such as Things to Come (2017), Metropolitan (1990) and The Before Trilogy (1995-2013) use the art of conversation to transform audiences from passive viewers into critical thinkers, by centring several scenes around dialectical intellectual dialogue. Columbus (2017) and Paterson (2016) embrace a more minimalist approach, by incorporating a multitude of still landscape shots and silent solitary scenes into their calming contemplative narratives. Other films including Lost in Translation (2003) and Black Girl (1966) bring themes of cultural isolation and unfulfilled expectations to the fore. 

All in all, these works of the moving image enchant viewers with their visual prowess, sophisticated dialogue and nuanced perspectives - not to mention the brilliant acting. Some films lead viewers to reflect on their socio-cultural realities, provoking explorations of the self and its relation to others, while other films seduce viewers into a world that is fantastic or absurd, facilitating an escape from the present. Both these qualities speak to the power of cinema - an art form that has continuously pushed on the boundaries of visual culture since its origins in the late 19th century. I hope that the works included on this list exemplify such innovative qualities and are able to showcase the artistic achievements of contemporary independent cinema. 



Sideways (2004)

Directed by Alexandre Payne


Columbus (2017)

Directed by Kogonada


Moonlight (2016)

Directed by Barry Jenkins


Her (2013)

Directed by Spike Jonze


Lost in Translation (2003)

Directed by Sofia Coppola


Call Me By Your Name (2017)

Directed by Luca Guadagnino


Phantom Thread (2017)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson


45 Years (2015)

Directed by Andrew Haigh


Blue Jasmine (2013)

Directed by Woody Allen


A Single Man (2009)

Directed by Tom Ford


After The Storm (2016)

Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda


I Am Love (2009)

Directed by Luca Guadagnino


The Florida Project (2017)

Directed by Sean Baker


Metropolitan (1990)

Directed by Whit Stillman


Looking for Langston (1989)

Directed by Isaac Julien


An Education (2009)

Directed by Lone Scherfig 


The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

Directed by Anthony Minghella


Carol (2015)

Directed by Todd Haynes


Little Men (2016)

Directed by Ira Sachs


The 'Before' Trilogy (1995-2013)

Directed by Richard Linklater


Squid and the Whale (2005)

Directed by Noah Baumbach


Black Girl (1966)

Directed by Ousmane Sembéne


Weekend (2011)

Directed by Andrew Haigh


Boyhood (2014)

Directed by Richard Linklater


20th Century Women (2016)

Directed by Mike Mills


Paterson (2016)

Directed by Jim Jarmusch


The Lobster (2015)

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos


Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Directed by Wes Anderson


Things to Come (2016)

Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve


God's Own Country (2017)

Directed by Francis Lee


Listen Up Phillip (2014)

Directed by Alex Ross Perry

Medicine for Melancholy (2008)

Directed by Barry Jenkins

Roma (2018)

Directed by Alfonso Cuarón

Still Walking (2008)

Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda

My Happy Family (2017)

Directed by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gro

Beau Travail (1999)

Directed by Claire Denis

In the Mood for Love (2000)

Directed by Wong Kar-wai

Manifesto (2015)

Julian Rosefeldt