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Alfonso Cuarón names his 30 favourite films of all time

Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón has proven that he is one of the most important contemporary directors active in the industry right now with recent masterpieces like Roma as well as multiple cult classics, including Y tu mamá también and Children of Men, among others. While many critics have hailed him as a modern auteur, Cuarón has maintained that he does not believe in such labels.

In an interview, Cuarón commented: “I’m more of a cinephile than a filmmaker. In the past, I’ve often referenced something very specifically. I wanted to stay away from that. But at the end of the day, when people saw [Roma], they started talking about references. The funny thing is people started [comparing Roma to] neorealism — and I get why they say that — but that was not necessarily my impulse. When I see the film I definitely recognise a filmmaker that I admire, who also keeps a quiet distance, and that’s Ozu.”

Adding, “I can see a consistency in the filmmakers that I utterly admire. You can see in Ingmar Bergman, Ozu, Dryer, Godard, Rohmer, etc. their amazing consistency. But I also think the auteur theory manifested from a certain snobbery of the 50s and 60s that I don’t think I’m particularly in need of. It’s a need to differentiate between ‘real filmmakers’ with a point of view and ‘hacks’ that can do plate films and entertaining films but don’t provide a unity of cinematic elements.”

Despite his disdain for the auteur theory, Cuarón’s primary influences in the world of cinema are widely regarded as some of the greatest auteurs to have ever existed. The filmmaker claimed that in his formative years, he was “in love with Coppola, Spielberg and Scorsese, and films from the 1950s, plus Billy Wilder, Lubitsch and John Ford.” He has also cited the likes of Stanley Kubrick and Robert Bresson as sources for his own cinematic investigations, which is evident in his treatment of dramaturgical elements as well as visual narratives.

In order to understand the cinematic influences that have shaped Alfonso Cuarón’s journey as a filmmaker, take a look at 30 of his favourite films below as listed by Cuarón.

Alfonso Cuarón’s 30 favourite films of all time:

  • Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica – 1948)
  • A Trip to the Moon (Georges Méliès – 1902)
  • Woman in the Moon (Fritz Lang – 1929)
  • Her (Spike Jonze – 2013)
  • Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (Alain Tanner – 1976)
  • Annie Hall (Woody Allen – 1977)
  • Marooned (John Sturges – 1969)
  • Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder – 1959)
  • The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola – 1974)
  • Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese – 1973)
  • The Horse Soldiers (John Ford – 1959)
  • That Uncertain Feeling (Ernst Lubitsch – 1941)
  • The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino – 2013)
  • Stagecoach (John Ford – 1939)
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick – 1968)
  • The Right Stuff (Philip Kaufman – 1983)
  • Tokyo Story (Yasujirō Ozu – 1953)
  • Trouble in Paradise (Ernst Lubitsch – 1932)
  • Light Years Away (Alain Tanner – 1981)
  • Apollo 13 (Ron Howard – 1995)
  • The Long Voyage Home (John Ford – 1940)
  • The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola – 1972)
  • Jaws (Steven Spielberg – 1975)
  • Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese – 1976)
  • A Man Escaped (Robert Bresson – 1956)
  • Faust (F.W. Murnau – 1926)
  • Avanti! (Billy Wilder – 1972)
  • I Don’t Want to Be a Man (Ernst Lubitsch – 1918)
  • Mouchette (Robert Bresson – 1967)
  • Lolita (Stanley Kubrick – 1962)

While describing the life-changing experience of watching Stanley Kubrick’s magnum opus for the first time, Cuarón said: “It’s one of those amazing experiences. It’s unlike anything I had ever seen. I was used to science-fiction more related to fantasy, but this was non-fantasy and non-adventure, and yet just as enthralling. 

“Kubrick was someone who was very concerned with the language of cinema. More than any other film, 2001 is where Kubrick found his real cinematic voice.”

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