Goodbye Lenin

This movie may have been the reason I decided to move to Berlin some years ago. It's an irresistibly poignant story about a family living in east Berlin just before the fall of the wall in 1989. The human and the political are interwoven in a delightfully humorous and original way and Yann Tiersen's hypnotic score spins a halo around the visuals that makes it difficult not to fall in love with the place.

Room With a View

I might as well admit it - I've seen this film more than twenty times. At school, my best friend Venetia and I spent hours swooning over the mysterious George Emerson and pressing rewind on Simon Callow's naked bottom as Mr. Beeb. So yes, I have a weakness for period romance set in the Florentine hills. At the core of the story - based on the book by E. M. Forster - is a reminder to follow our inner truth - to be ourselves and to love what is true for us regardless what anyone things of us. (Oh, and by the way, Venetia ended up walking down the aisle at her wedding to the movie's title track - Giacomo Puccini's 'O mio babbino caro'.)

White

I was addicted to this film as a teenager along with the other two films in Kieślowski's Three Colours trilogy. It's such a strange, darkly funny, desperately beautiful story of surrender.

The Darjeeling Limited

I have three siblings and we've done a lot of travelling together, so there's something comically familiar to me about the love and mania between the brothers in this movie. Wes Anderson manages to capture the peculiar quirkiness of familial bonds - bonds which are both life-affirming and infuriating. Charlie, Soph, Lou and I seem to constantly be squeezed in the back of our family car arguing over which record to listen to. 'Where do you go to my Lovely' could well be playing over the racket.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Perfectionism is a disease. I know! I suffer from it. But this documentary celebrates the madness as it follows acclaimed sushi chef Jiro Ono in his pursuit of mastery. "I'll continue to climb, trying to reach the top, but no one knows where the top is," says Jiro. While I'm grateful for the ways life has been tearing through my ideals - bringing joy and delight and humour with it - this film is nevertheless an awe-inspiring and a healthy reminder of the virtues of focus, dedication and commitment in a world that increasingly tolerates speed over quality, and the disposable over the pursuit of art.

Bonus Pick: Pirate Radio

The joy and silliness and fun of this film made it impossible to leave out. Men willing to die for music and a '70s soundtrack. What could be better.


Sasha Siem's new album, Bird Burning, is out on October 28th via Blue Plum Records. Watch the video for its title-track below.