10/10: Valentyn Vasyanovych

Working primarily as a director of photography early in his career, Vasyanovych, who both directed and shot Atlantis – he was also the Director of Photography and Producer on 2014's The Tribe – shares his ten favorite films from the last ten years (with a couple exceptions) that "appreciate the visual solution."

Atlantis, Ukraine's official submission for the 93rd Academy Awards, opens today in Virtual Cinemas.

– in no particular order –

1. Silent Light (Carlos Reygadas, 2007) An atmospheric, visually perfect film with an unexpected ending.

2. Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018) Shows an extraordinary way of combining the closeup and the wide shot, the tellingly observed detail – humorous or poignant or just effortlessly authentic – with the big picture and the sense of scale.

3. Ida (Paweł Pawlikowski, 2013) A wordless beginning, told in beautifully composed shots, sets the mood for a small, quiet, polished film that unfolds slowly but with remarkable assurance.

4. About Endlessness (Roy Andersson, 2019) The film where striking images and poses happen under the camera’s nose, but the audience's eye is led, as if on a rail track, out into the distance, to eerily mesmeric background scenes whose pin-sharp definition you find yourself inspecting for signs of independent life. 

5. The Woman Who Left (Lav Diaz, 2016) A personal and political concern that converges powerfully in the story of one woman, reacquainting herself with her socially ravaged homeland after unjustly spending 30 years in the slammer. At the same time, the film’s deliberately rambling heft evokes the lingering, far-reaching sorrow of an entire nation.

6. Paradise: Love (Ulrich Seidl, 2012) Proved a frequently uncomfortable and rather overlong watch, but you still came away profoundly impressed and not a little troubled by the questions it raises, and the unflinching, uncompromising way in which it does so.

7. The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers, 2019) About the horror of roommates in isolation.

8. Son of Saul (László Nemes, 2015) Presents a gargantuan moral victory in the face of incomprehensible evil.

9. The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke, 2009) May present difficult themes and have spiky edges and perhaps could not be described as entertainment but, as a piece of cinema, it is undoubtedly stunning.

10. Of Horses and Men (Benedikt Erlingsson, 2013) Keeps the dialogue in general to a minimum, allowing certain scenes to play out almost like silent films, with Solveig, for example, noticing that she has a love rival simply by glimpsing some worrisome body language.

Valentyn Vasyanovych's Atlantis premieres in Virtual Cinemas today.

10/10 is an ongoing series in which we ask cinephiles to name their ten favorite films from the last ten years (currently, between 2011 and 2021).