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Richard Ayoade names his 10 favourite films of all time

British actor and filmmaker Richard Ayoade is well known for his particular brand of comedy, evident in his roles such as the socially awkward tech expert in The IT Crowd as well as his directorial work like the brilliant 2010 film Submarine. After making his mark as a filmmaker by directing music videos for bands like Kasabian and Arctic Monkeys, Ayoade hoped he would get more directorial gigs which, unfortunately, hasn’t been the case.

In an interview with the Guardian, Ayoade said: “Anything that’s not complete submission to the gaze looks kind of aggressive on camera. Reality stars are geniuses in that they have an ability to be completely undefensive. Joey Essex, for example, is completely open, so you like him. The villains are the defensive ones; shyness can be interpreted as a kind of aggression: ‘Who are you to care so much how you come off?’”.

Adding, “To me, there’s not necessarily a distinct separation between something being funny and something being sad. It can be funny tripping over at a funeral at the worst moment, or getting annoyed if you can’t find a parking space. Catcher in the Rye is the funniest book and the saddest book. You can juxtapose things, there are a thousand juxtapositions an A-level student could come up with.”

While selecting his top 10 picks for a feature run by Criterion, Ayoade displayed an excellent range in his cinematic taste. He justified his selection of Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt by saying: “Just peerless. Georges Delerue’s score is my favourite of any film. Raoul Coutard’s photography is dazzling. The film seems to be, among another things, a brilliant analysis of the difficulty of translation. It’s hard to choose one Godard film, but Contempt seems to encapsulate so much of his genius.”

Check out the entire collection of Richard Ayoade’s eclectic selection of his top ten favourite films of all time, ranging from the masterful artistry of Akira Kurosawa to the pictorial beauty of Terrence Malick’s films.

See the entire list below.

Richard Ayoade’s 10 favourite films:

  1. The films of Éric Rohmer
  2. Zazie dans le métro (Louis Malle – 1960)
  3. Contempt (Jean-Luc Godard – 1963)
  4. Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick – 1978)
  5. F for Fake (Orson Welles – 1973)
  6. Scenes from a Marriage (Ingmar Bergman – 1973)
  7. Fat Girl (Catherine Breillat – 2001)
  8. The Golden Age of Television – Criterion Collection
  9. Ikiru (Akira Kurosawa – 1952)
  10. Metropolitan (Whit Stillman – 1990)

Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 masterpiece Ikiru is considered by many to be one of the crowning achievements of 20th-century cinema and Ayoade seems to be of the same opinion. While commenting on the psychological impact of the film, Ayoade said: “Completely devastating, and so magical. I don’t think anyone can forget the image of Takashi Shimura on the swing in the snow.”

Out of all the masterpieces he selected, Ayoade insisted that Louise Malle’s Zazie dans le métro was his go-to pick: “The first film I would watch over and over again. It’s so full of joy and made with such seeming confidence and love. Louis Malle is one of my favourite directors, and it’s great to see him so well represented at Criterion.”

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