(Editor’s note: The following was first published in February 2021 and has been updated several times since then.)
Denis Villeneuve has become one of the most visible directors in the Hollywood studio system thanks to several critically acclaimed films such as “Prisoners”, “Sicario”, “Arrival” and “Blade Runner 2049”. That’s to say nothing of Villeneuve’s challenging independent style, from “Enemy” to “Incendies” and beyond. IndieWire ranks “Arrival” and “Blade Runner 2049” as two of the greatest science fiction films of the 21st century, with the former title earning Villeneuve his first (and so far only) Oscar nomination for best director. Next up for Villeneuve is “Dune” (in theaters and HBO Max on Oct. 1, 2021), but as fans wait for the delayed tentpole, they can start catching up on more of the director’s favorite films.
From “Under the Skin” to “Dogville” (two titles Villeneuve considers benchmarks for 21st-century cinema), many of Villeneuve’s favorite films are as narratively daring as his own feature-directing work. In some cases, a favorite film has played a role in influencing his own work (see “Heard Bells” and “Dizziness Leading to the Enemy”). In other cases, a favorite movie is the reason you got a gig in the first place (you can’t manage “Blade Runner 2049” without being a Ridley Scott superfan). Check out some of Villeneuve’s favorite films below.