The Greatest Films (Film Course)

Please note that this film course will take place at Fairycroft House, 37 Audley Rd, Saffron Walden CB11 3HD and not at Saffron Screen.

Every week, the cinematic landscape buzzes with excitement as new polls emerge, sparking fervent debates about the greatest films of all time. But what truly defines greatness in cinema? Together, we’ll dissect this question, exploring the essence of brilliance and questioning whether these revered directors truly deserve their esteemed titles.

Hosted by Ellen Cheshire, this one day film course we will take an in-depth look at the careers of some of these world renowned directors and their “Masterpieces”. Expect to explore key film theories, history and approaches to film study.

The course will be broken down into four sections:

Films of the 21st Century

Critics widely acclaim Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood” (2007) as the top film of the 21st century. It ranks highly in various lists including The New York Times’ Top 25 Films, The Guardian’s 100 Best Films, BBC Culture’s Greatest Films, and Film4’s Must-See Films. Conversely, BBC and Film4 both crown David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive” (2001) as the ultimate film. In this initial session, we delve into Anderson and Lynch’s work, focusing on “There Will Be Blood” and “Mulholland Drive.”

Best Films In The World

In 2019/2020, South Korean film “Parasite” (2019, Bong Joon-ho) made Oscar history by winning Best Picture, among its 180 awards. East Asian directors frequently feature in critics’ Best Film Lists. In October 2018, BBC Culture’s poll of 209 critics worldwide highlighted four East Asian directors in the top 10, notably Akira Kurosawa with “Seven Samurai” (1954) at Number 1 and “Rashomon” (1950) at Number 4. Italian cinema also shines, with Vittorio de Sica’s “Bicycle Thieves” (1948) at Number 2, and Federico Fellini’s “8 ½” (1963) and “La Dolce Vita” (1960) in 7th and 10th place. Our exploration focuses on Fellini and Kurosawa, each with two films in the Top 10 and four in the Top 100.

Women Directors

In 2019, BBC Culture surveyed 368 film experts across 84 countries to highlight the best films by female filmmakers. Jane Campion’s “The Piano” (1993) secured the top spot, with Campion being the sole woman to win Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or. Joanna Hogg’s “The Souvenir” (2019) garnered significant acclaim, potentially deserving a spot had the poll been conducted later, ranking high in various 2019 lists. Its sequel released in 2020, followed by “The Eternal Daughter” in 2023. This session explores the “The Souvenir” trilogy and Joanna Hogg’s career alongside New Zealand director Jane Campion’s.

Of all Time…

The BFI’s 2012 ‘Sight & Sound Critic’s Poll’ saw Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” (1941) dethroned by Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” (1958) after 50 years atop the list. In 2015, BBC Culture’s poll of global film critics ranked “Citizen Kane” first and “Vertigo” third among the greatest American movies. The ongoing rivalry between these two classics and their directors will be our focus in this concluding session. Additionally, we’ll delve into the film and filmmaker that shook up the rankings, Chantal Akerman’s “Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles” (1975), which pushed both into third position.

10:30am – 5:30 pm with breaks. Tea, coffee, soft drinks, and biscuits will be provided. Lunch can be purchased from the nearby Waitrose or local shops and cafes.

Tickets: Adult - £40 | Friends and Under 30's - £30

All screenings for The Greatest Films (Film Course) at Saffron Screen