We asked a number of Portobello Film Festival friends and film makers what their favourite films were.

Here are some of the replies!

Aron Kumar. Filmmaker.
Apocalypse Now! - Visually it is amazing. The characters are symbolic of emotions and issues that many people living the urban western lifestyle deal with on a more mundane level. The actors turn in classic performances and the movie was made against all odds with Francis Coppola giving his all to get it made! The script contains a number of my all time favourite movie lines. And unbelievably, as I discovered whilst making my documentary "The Search for Kurtz" (Channel 4/History Channel), it is based on a true story. In fact I liked the movie so much I went out and made a film about it!

Ian Thomson Chief Press Office Film Council
Withnail & I - I can't think of a British film over the last twenty years that's been able to hold a light to this hilarious and poignant masterpiece. Robinson managed to tap into the heart of a whole generation of student types and intellectual layabouts with a script that has been revered for its endless one-liners, muttered over subsidized pints in pretty much every student union bar and gastro pub across the nation. Anyone who can write the phrase, "Wintering with his mother in Colchester - Vim under the sink and two bars on", deserves a knighthood. Withnail is a religion. Or is it more a 'terrible cult'?

Pip Eldridge - Exhibition Development Officer at the LFVDA
Diva by Jean-Jacques Beineix (1981) I loved this film when I first saw it when I was about 13 because of the tinkly piano music and Wilhemenia Wiggins Fernandez, the Opera singer's beautiful voice, as well as the fab and strange lighthouse apartment that one of the characters lived in with his very young, record thieving girlfriend. Even though the Citroen DS has become a bit of a cliché in French Films now I recall thinking that I would save up for one once I got my driving test.
I remember my father falling for Cynthia Hawkins in a big way and him discussing the film with a friend who also said he'd fallen for the lead character. It was at a much later date when the friend 'came out' that he said he meant the actor Frédéric Andréi who played Jules the postman, who was also indeed remarkably beautiful!

Andrea Oliver Broadcaster/TV Presenter/Musician
Favourite movie and why: Such a hard question but I think that at the moment as far as contemporary films go I am as always in love with the Cohen brothers films and I find it very hard to choose between Fargo and The Big Lebowski (I could go on, Blood Simple, Oh Brother Where Art Thou?)! Can I have two? Fargo stars Frances Mcdormand who is one of my favourite actors and is also the only film that I have ever seen where the fact that the main female protagonist is pregnant is not the wheel on which the film turns, it just is , it is a great thriller and is very very funny, brilliant writing ..the relationship between her and her husband throughout the film and her total unflappability in the face of the nightmare that unfolds is so inspired. I also love the Big Lebowski - the film makes me weep with laughter and then they manage a moment at the end between John Goodman and Jeff Bridges that is so touching that it makes me catch my breath - they are just the creators of pure pure classic modern genius.

Natasha Tilley Film Maker
All About Eve with Bette Davis, because I love the black and white era and this has fabulous dialogue and a credible story-line combined with the dream-like and tragic existence of an ageing star.

Stuart Pond Filmmaker.
Solaris (the real version) by Andrei Tarkovsky. It's idiosyncratic, humanistic, haunting, beautiful, strangely romantic, lengthy but substantial. This film changes and informs individual sensitivity to images sequences and sound, it's up there with Robbe-Grillet's/Renais's "Last Year in Marienbad". So Hollywood, go fuck a duck!

Tom Kirk. Filmmaker.
Stranger Than Paradise is poetic, spare and wry; it takes its time and imparts simple epiphanies in interactions and composition. Each scene plays out in a long, often static take. Hungarian cousin Eva comes to stay with New York hipster Willy, disrupting his life. She leaves for Ohio and Willy feels stirred to get out of New York with his buddy Eddie, to experience something else and maybe catch up with Eva. I love the wintry scene where the three main characters pull up to a lake, climb out of the car and amble over to a fence, looking out over a snow covered vista of white.

John Hassay Skint Video Commissioner.
Pulp Fiction because I hadn't slept for three days before I saw it and expected nothing more than John Travolta with a bad haircut. Instead thrills, spills and a fucking big needle rammed through Uma Thurman's chest make it the most visceral cinema experience since I saw Star Wars.

Ivan Kavagner Filmmaker.
Pasolini’s Salo – 120 Days of Sodom [1975]. The film is based on the Marquis the Sade’s novel 120 Days of Sodom transposed to Mussolini’s miniature Fascist Republic of Salo in 1944. The film is uncompromising in it’s depiction of man’s inhumanity to man and Pasolini’s camera never flinches or looks away from the horrors depicted on the screen. If I had to pick one work of art that represented the 20th century, this would be it. I can’t say the film is enjoyable, it isn’t in the least, but it influenced me more than any other. Pasolini showed that the filmmaker has to be brave and honest when trying to depict just what man is capable of. The film is guaranteed to provoke a reaction in the audience and it is truly an unforgettable cinema experience. Other favourites of mine are ‘After Hours’ [Scorsese], ‘Barry Lyndon’ [Kubrick], ‘The Shining’ [Kubrick], ‘Vivre Sa Vie’ [Godard], ‘Aguirre Wrath of God’ [Herzog] ‘Winter Light’ and ‘Summer with Monika’[Bergman].

Kate Rider Palm Pictures
Cinema Paradiso because it is a beautifully shot film that works on many levels, including an enduring love story and one man's passion for film.

Billy Mackintosh. Video Director.
Mean Streets because it made me want to go out and make films.

Bayram Fazli Film Maker
Rashomon Directed by Akira Korosawa. I like this film, because Director can playing with time and making a filmic time and space.

Tim Saunders Film Maker
The Princess Bride. I don't collect stuff so when someone bought me this video it became my entire video collection. I saw the film at the cinema originally but owning the vid means it is probably the film I have seen most times and I've never got tired of it.

Bill Taylor: Queer archival curator
("Lock Up Your Sons And Daughters") Lars Von Trier's "Europa (Zentropa)". Just everything about it just makes my skin goosebumpy. From the incredible narration of Max Von Sydow, the amazing trick camera work, and to the great introduction to the amazing Jean-Marc Barr, this is a movie that's SCREAMING Criterion DVD. (They better hurry, my tape has worn out!)

James Kibbey. Film Maker
The Insider (1999). Directed by Michael Mann. Why? I like stories based on reality as I think films are at there most powerful when audiences can relate to the characters and empathise with them. The film has fantastic performances all round but particularly from Russell Crowe whose Oscar for Gladiator was really for his performance in this film a year earlier. The production design is typically brilliant from a Michael Mann film as is the use of music which really drives the emotion throughout. Simply brilliant filmmaking.

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