Sony Pictures Classics honchos Michael Barker and Tom Bernard have been feted up one side and down the other lately. The duo celebrated 20 years of SPC in 2012 and have received awards from the Museum of the Moving Image and the Gotham Awards as of late. Tonight they will receive the Los Angeles Film Festival's Spirit of Independence Award as the love keeps pouring in.
Given that we recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of Fox Searchlight – another crucial entity in the indie film space – it seemed like we were over due for a similar appreciation of Sony Classics' 22 years of output. The interesting thing, though, is that unlike Searchlight, there isn't necessarily anything outwardly identifiable about Sony Classics films as, well, “Sony Classics films.” They all have a strong whiff of good taste but they don't have the heavy marketing footprint of some of the studio's contemporaries. Barker and Bernard's cinephile passion is always evident, but beyond that, any and all kinds of cinema can end up in their wheelhouse.
Naturally, then, when Greg, Guy and I decided on our separate top 10s, there was a lot of derivation. So we thought instead of the usual gallery, we would provide space for each of our separate, unique lists. And I think I speak for them when I say, this was no easy chore. But at the end of the day, what speaks to us speaks to us, and, you know, different SPC strokes for different folks.
Check out our lists on the following pages, and feel free to tell us what yours might look like. And most of all, congrats to Barker and Bernard and their team for 22 wonderful years. Here's to many more.
10. “Beautiful Thing” (Hettie Macdonald, 1996)
Before “Brokeback Mountain,” this uplifting tearjerker was the greatest gay-themed movie ever made. Really.
9. “Safe” (Todd Haynes, 1995)
The movie that brought Todd Haynes and Julianne Moore to the forefront. A haunting and disturbing piece of work that is as relevant today as it was – gasp! – 19 years ago.