Favourite Old Film Discoveries of 2018

Here’s my list of favourite old films I watched this year. I am not ranking them this year (except for my top 5 and my favourite film retrospectives).

Unlike previous years, I am not including films watched on DVD/VOD*, I’m sharing films only watched on the big screen, the cinema venue, and which ones were screened on film.

I also normally include only films seen for the first time, but for this year I included a few that I had seen before on the small screen which felt like a first time experience (The Apartment, The Cruel Sea (more about this here), The Godfather).

I also re-watched a couple of films that I watched recently for the first time on the big screen, 2001: Space Odyssey (Unrestored 70mm) in the Village East Cinema and Barry Lyndon in Metrograph, both in New York. Both screenings were enriching to the mind, eyes and soul.

Another re-watch was Dawson City: Frozen Time, this time on 35mm at the Cinema Museum in London in October, a place I had never visited before. It was a lovely and intimate experience, a gathering of film lovers who turned up on a cold winter night to experience a visual time capsule from the past.

I once overheard a man at the BFI say when he was once asked why he re-watches films, he answered back saying it is the same as listening to a favourite song over and over again. I regret not giving him a high five at the time. What he said is spot on. The opportunity to re-watch films, old or new enriches your memory of the film and sometimes even changes how you relate to the film, especially if watched after many years, after getting older and hopefully wiser.

My top five:


Klute (Alan J. Pakula, 1971, 35mm, Metrograph)

Bright Star (Jane Campion, 2009, 35mm, BFI)

Close Up (Abbas Kiarostami, 1990, 35mm, IFC Center)

35 Shots of Rum (Claire Denis, 2008, 35mm, Overnight Film Festival)

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (Paul Schrader, 1988, Il Cinema Ritrovato)k


Lucretia Martel Retrospective at Hong Kong Film Festival:


La Ciénaga / The Swamp (2001)

La Niña Santa / The Holy Girl (2004, 35mm)

La mujer sin cabeza / The Headless Woman (2008)

Zama (2017) [This film was in my top 3 last year.]


John M. Stahl films at Il Cinema Ritrovato, all on 35mm:


Seed (1931)

Imitation of Life (1934)

Holy Matrimony (1943)

When Tomorrow Comes (1939)

Leave Her to Heaven (1945)


The rest (in alphabetical order based on the English titles):

11 x 14 (James Benning, 1977, 35mm, Berlinale)

11x14_James Benning_Berlinale.jpg

The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960, Il Cinema Ritrovato)

The Apartment_Il Cinema Ritrovato.jpg

Bound (The Wachowskis, 1996, 35mm, Overnight Film Festival)

Bound_The Wachowskis.jpg

Cabaret (Bob Fosse, 1972, 35mm, Il Cinema Ritrovato)

Cabaret_Il Cinema Ritrovato.jpg

The Cruel Sea (Khalid Al Siddiq, 1972, NYUAD Institute)

The Cruel Sea_Khalid Siddiq.jpg

Deliverance (John Boorman, 1972, 35mm, Il Cinema Ritrovato)

Deliverance_Burt Reynolds.jpg

Early Spring (Yasujirô Ozu, 1956, Il Cinema Ritrovato)

Early Spring Yasujiro Ozu.jpg

Film (Alan Schneider, 1965, From Barcelona to Abu Dhabi: Works from MACBA Art Collection exhibition, Manaret Al Saadiyat)

Film_Buster Keaton_Samuel Beckett .jpg

Ganja & Hess (Bill Gunn, 1973, Metrograph)

Ganja and Hess_.jpg

The Great Silence (Sergio Corbucci, 1968, EYE)

The Great Silence.jpg

The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 35mm, Il Cinema Ritrovato)

The Godfather.jpg

Introduction to the End of an Argument (Jayce Salloum, Elia Suleiman, 2005, NYUAD Arts Center)

Introduction to the End of an Argument_Jayce Salloum and Elia Suleiman.png

The Last Temptation of Christ (Martin Scorsese, 1988, Berlinale)

The Last Temptation of Christ_Martin Scorsese_Berlinale.jpg

Lights out in Europe (Herbert Kline, 1940, Il Cinema Ritrovato)

Lights out in Europe_Herbert Kline .jpg

The Mission (Roland Joffé, 1986, 35mm, La Cinémathèque Française)

The Mission.jpg

My 20th Century (Ildikó Enyedi, 1989, Berlinale)


Once Upon a Time…the Nile (Youssef Chahine, 1964, 35mm, La Cinémathèque Française) [more about this here]

Once Upon a Time The Nile_Youssef Chahine.jpg

Paris is Always Paris (Luciano Emmer, 1951, 35mm, Il Cinema Ritrovato)

PARIGI E SEMPRE PARIGI_Paris is Always Paris_film.jpg

The River (Jean Renoir, 1950, La Cinémathèque Française)

The River_Jean Renoir.jpg

The Savage Eye (Ben Maddow, Sidney Meyers, Joseph Strick, 1960, Dave Heath - Dialogue with Solitude exhibition, Le Bal)

The Savage Eye_Ben Maddow_Sidney Meyers_Joseph Strick.jpg

Shadow of the Vampire (E. Elias Merhige, 2000, 35mm, Berlinale)

Shadow of the Vampire _Berlinale.jpg

Shiraz (Franz Osten, 1928, Louvre Abu Dhabi)

Shiraz_Franz Osten.jpg

Silence is Golden (René Clair, 1947, Il Cinema Ritrovato)

Silence is Gold_Rene Clair.jpg

A Touch of Love (Waris Hussein, 1969, 35mm, BFI)

A Touch of Love.jpg

Three Girls from Rome (Luciano Emmer, 1952, 35mm, Il Cinema Ritrovato)

Three Girls from Rome_Luciano Emmer.jpg

Tokyo Twilight (Yasujirô Ozu, 1957, Berlinale)

Tokyo Twilight_Yasujiro Ozu_Berlinale.jpg

Tucker: The Man and His Dream (Francis Ford Coppola, 1988, Il Cinema Ritrovato)

Tucker_The Man and His Dream.jpg

Velvet Goldmine (Todd Haynes, 1998, 35mm, Overnight Film Festival)

Velvet Goldmine_Todd Haynes.jpg

Wonderland (Michael Winterbottom, 1999, 35mm, BFI)

Wonderland_Michael Winterbottom.jpg

Tahia ya Didou (Mohamed Zinet, 1971, Berlinale)

Tahia ya Didou_Mohamed Zinet_1971.jpg

* Side note: I do want to highlight the following 5 films as my favourite non-cinema film discoveries that I hope to see on the big screen, especially the first one:

  • The Comfort of Strangers (Paul Schrader, 1990, OSN Play)

  • Manhunter (Michael Mann, 1986, MUBI)

  • A Star is Born (George Cukor, 1954, Film Struck)

  • Taking of Pelham (Joseph Sargent, 1974, iTunes)

  • Kaagaz Ke Phool (Guru Dutt, 1959, MUBI)

Favourite Old Film Discoveries 2017
Favourite Old Film Discoveries 2016
Favourite Old Film Discoveries 2015