"An Amerindie helmer well before the term was invented, and the first to release a vid-to-35mm feature (1983’s ‘Signal 7’), Rob Nilsson (‘Northern Lights,’ ‘Heat and Sunlight’) still stubbornly swims against all commercial tides," wrote Dennis Harvey in Variety six years ago. Nilsson is still swimming — at speed — as he approaches 70 years of age with no less than four films-in-progress to be shown in a special "Cinema by the Bay" Spotlight program in SFIFF50. Heir to the independent spirit of John Cassavetes, motorcycle-riding, pool-playing Nilsson has never let up on his maverick ideas, his devotion to Direct Action filmmaking, or his loyalty to filming in the Bay Area. SF360.org asked Nilsson for a list of films that mattered, and he gave us a list which he says is not a "top 10," but a list of films which deeply affected him. (Excerpts from his "9@Night" series are also screening outdoors at Justin Herman Plaza May 1-3.)
1. "Come and See," Ellem Klimov
2. "The Celebration," Thomas Vinterberg
3. "Persona," Ingmar Bergman
4. "Faces," John Cassavetes
5. "Irreversible," Gaspar Noe
6. "The Apu Trilogy," Satyajit Ray
7. "Last Tango in Paris," Bernardo Bertolucci
8. "Cries and Whispers," Ingmar Bergman
9. "The Tango Lesson," Sally Potter
10. "Woman Under the Influence," John Cassavetes
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