One thing most cinephiles can agree on is that Tilda Swinton is an enigmatic gift to the film industry. In addition to consistently delivering stellar performances in nearly every film and cast, the Academy Award-winning actress has long been a champion of unique films that would otherwise never have been made without her input.
From her recurring collaborations with auteurs like Wes Anderson and Bong Joon-ho to her risqué roles in experimental projects like “The Souvenir” series, Swinton is an extremely familiar face to fans of arthouse cinema. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Tony Gilroy’s Michael Clayton, George Clooney’s 2007 crowd-pleasing legal thriller. From Narnia.” Hell, it’s in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But Swinton is best known for her quirky performances. The actress appeared in both bizarre and grounded worlds; some strangely sad and delightful (see The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Reason), others bone-chilling and terrifying (see Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria and Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About Kevin). It’s no surprise that Swinton seems to love consuming movies as much as she loves making them, and it’s even less surprising that she’s drawn to works as influential as her own.
The “Snowpiercer” actress has always been an advocate for the movies she loves, regularly highlighting old Hollywood classics and beloved foreign films from around the world as her favorites. He often uses the Sight & Sound platform to share his tastes, taking part in the Best Movies of All Time poll and sharing choices in other magazine features.
His selections are often undisputed classics, so you can get a great foundational film education by watching the films he recommends. Read on for a list of Tilda Swinton’s favorite movies, according to the Sight & Sound poll of 2022. His selections include works by filmmakers such as Alfred Hithcock, Ernst Lubitsch, Nicolas Roeg, Roberto Rossellini, Chantal Akerman and others.
Editing by Alison Foreman.
(Editor’s note: This article was first published in March 2023 with the results of the Swinton 2022 Sight & Sound Poll. It will be updated over time.)
“A Matter of Life and Death”
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s fantastical drama – which famously features the stairway to heaven – is just the kind of whimsical film Tilda Swinton could imagine in her spare time. And you’d be right, as it was the first film to feature Swinton’s 2022 Sight & Sound ballot.
In “Vertigo”, Alfred Hitchcock masterfully combined suspense and romance, and many consider this to be the director’s best work. In 2012, Sight & Sound topped the list of the greatest films of all time, before being dethroned in last year’s poll. Swinton remains a fan of the film, having put it on her 2022 ballot (although she also voted for the film that dethroned her).
“Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot”
Jacques Tati’s “Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot” is one of the most extraordinary comedies in film history. It is not quite a silent film, as it contains recorded sound, but there is practically no dialogue. The story of a vacation gone wrong is told exclusively by visual gags and background noises. Swinton clearly thinks the comedy can hold its own, having named it one of the best movies of all time in a 2022 Sight & Sound poll.
“To be or not to be”
Long before “Hogan’s Heroes” and “JoJo Rabbit” portrayed Nazi troops as bums, Ernst Lubitsch’s legendary rom-com “To Be or Not to Be” figured out how to laugh at the Third Reich’s expense. The 1942 film followed a group of actors in Nazi-occupied Warsaw who use their abilities to manipulate the soldiers. The film was a breakthrough when it was first released and still has fans nearly a century later. Swinton listed it as one of her 10 favorite films in the 2022 Sight & Sound poll.
A wild card on Swinton’s 2022 Sight & Sound ballot is ‘Walkabout’, Nicolas Roeg’s survival story about two young Australian children who are abandoned in the Australian Outback and befriend an Aboriginal boy. The film is considered by many to be one of the best films of the Australian New Wave.
“Journey to Italy”
Swinton has long been a big fan of Roberto Rossellini’s landmark Italian neorealist masterpiece, “Journey to Italy.” In addition to putting it on the 2022 Sight & Sound ballot, it discussed a 2010 interview with the magazine.
“One of the most elliptical and charming films I know,” Swinton wrote. “George Sanders and Ingrid Bergman in a landscape of alienation – from each other, from southern Italy – is a study of inarticulateness, loneliness and longing, built on a radiant belief in miracles.”
One of the best examples of Robert Bresson’s trademark slow motion cinema is “Pickpocket,” his meticulously crafted study of a petty criminal who believes he’s immune to moral rules. The film clearly had an impact on Swinton, putting her on the 2022 Sight & Sound ballot.
“Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai Du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles”
One of the best things about the Sight & Sound list is observing how the general consensus about film history evolves over the course of each decade. In the 2022 poll, Chantal Akerman’s landmark experimental film “Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai Du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelle” topped the list after years of dominance by “Citizen Kane” and “Vertigo.” Swinton was one of many voters who helped the cause by putting her on her 2022 ballot.
“The Sweet Life”
Swinton’s Sight & Sound poll showed she has a deep appreciation for Italian cinema, so it’s hardly surprising that she’s got a place for a Federico Fellini film. He chose “La Dolce Vita”, Fellini’s legendary Palme d’Or award-winning film about a philanthropic Roman gossip columnist. Coming just three years before his career-defining “8 1/2,” “La Dolce Vita” is Fellini’s stylistic peak.
“My Neighbor Totoro”
Swinton’s Sight & Sound polls focused heavily on live-action films, but still dedicated a spot to one of the greatest animated filmmakers of all time. By choosing Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro, he found a way to honor animation as an art form and the rich history of Japanese cinema.
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