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oscar jubis
04-15-2004, 02:02 AM
[QUOTE=oscar jubis;5665]Below is my 30-yrs-in-the-making list of "Great Films I Love". A fluid, ever-changing list of movies whose pleasures endure through repeat viewings. Movies that appeal to me personally, ordered chronologically (year of world premiere).

------- THE ONE-MAN BAND (Georges Melies)
1902. A TRIP TO THE MOON (Melies)
1903. THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY (Edwin S. Porter)
1907. THE GOLDEN BEETLE (Segundo de Chomón)
1909. A CORNER IN WHEAT (D.W. Griffith)
------ PRINCESS NICOTINE (J. Stuart Blackton)
1913. SUSPENSE (Lois Weber)
------ THE CHILD OF PARIS (Perret)
1915. LES VAMPIRES (Feuillade)
1916. HELL'S HINGES (Hart/Swickard)
-------INTOLERANCE (Griffith)
1917---THE IMMIGRANT (Chaplin)
1919. BROKEN BLOSSOMS (Griffith)
-------THE PARSON'S WIDOW (Dreyer)
-------WAY DOWN EAST (Griffith)
1921. ORPHANS OF THE STORM (Griffith)
------- THE KID (Chaplin)
--------THE PHANTOM CARRIAGE (Sjostrom)
1922. FOOLISH WIVES (Von Stroheim)
-------NANOOK OF THE NORTH (Flaherty)
-------NOSFERATU (Murnau)
1923. LA ROUE (Gance)
1924. THE LAST LAUGH (Murnau)
-------NIBELUNGEN (Lang)
-------SHERLOCK JR. (Keaton)
1925. THE BIG PARADE (Vidor)
-------THE GOLD RUSH (Chaplin)
-------GREED (Von Stroheim)
-------LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN (Lubitsch)
-------POTEMKIN (Eisenstein)
1926. FAUST (Murnau)
1927. THE GENERAL (Keaton)
-------LA GLANCE A TROIS FACES (Jean Epstein)
-------METROPOLIS (Lang)
-------SEVENTH HEAVEN (Borzage)
-------SUNRISE (Murnau)
1928. THE CROWD (Vidor)
-------DOCKS OF NEW YORK (Sternberg)
-------LONESOME (Fejos)
-------PANDORA'S BOX (Pabst)
-------SHOOTING STARS (Anthony Asquith)
-------SPIES (Fritz Lang)
-------STREET ANGEL (Borzage)
-------UN CHIEN ANDALOU (Bunuel)
1930. THE BLUE ANGEL (Sternberg)
-------EARTH (Dovzhenko)
-------L'AGE D'OR (Bunuel)
-------MURDER! (Hitchcock)
1931. LA CHIENNE (Renoir)
--------CITY LIGHTS (Chaplin)
------THE 3 PENNY OPERA (Pabst/Germany)
1932. A FAREWELL TO ARMS (Borzage)
------FREAKS (Browning)
------I WAS BORN BUT... (Ozu)
------LOVE ME TONIGHT (Mamoulian)
------SHANGHAI EXPRESS (Sternberg)
------TROUBLE IN PARADISE (Lubitsch)
1933. HALLELUJAH, I'M A BUM (Milestone)
-------LA MATERNELLE (Epstein/Benoit-Levy)
-------LA MUJER DEL PUERTO (Arcady Boytler/Mexico)
-------ZERO IN CONDUCT (Vigo)
-------L'ATALANTE (Vigo)
-------SCARLET EMPRESS (Sternberg)
-------EL COMPADRE MENDOZA (Fernando de Fuentes/Mexico)
1935. THE INFORMER (Ford)
------- PETER IBBETSON (Hathaway)
------- SYLVIA SCARLETT (Cukor)
1936. A DAY IN THE COUNTRY (Renoir)
-------MODERN TIMES (Chaplin)
-------OSAKA ELEGY (Mizoguchi)
-------SISTERS OF THE GION (Mizoguchi)
1937. GRAND ILLUSION (Renoir)
-------THE AWFUL TRUTH (McCarey)
1938. ALEXANDER NEVSKY (Eisenstein)
-------HOLIDAY (Cukor)
1939. THE RULES OF THE GAME (Renoir)
------STAGECOACH (Ford)
1940. THE GREAT DICTATOR (Chaplin)
------HIS GIRL FRIDAY (Hawks)
-------PINOCCHIO (Sharpsteen)
1941. CITIZEN KANE (Welles)
------SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS (Preston Sturges)
------OSSESSIONE (Visconti)
1943. CASABLANCA (Curtiz)
-------DAY OF WRATH (Dreyer)
-------DISTINTO AMANECER (Julio Bracho)
-------I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (Tourneur)
-------THE SEVENTH VICTIM (Mark Robson)
1944. CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE (von Fritsch)
-------LAURA (Preminger)
1945. IVAN THE TERRIBLE (Eisenstein)
-------ROMA: OPEN CITY (Rosellini)
------- THE SOUTHERNER (Renoir)
1946. NOTORIOUS (Hitchcock)
-------SHOESHINE (De Sica)
1947. MONSIEUR VERDOUX (Chaplin)
--------BODY AND SOUL (Robert Rossen)
--------OUT OF THE PAST (Tourneur)
-------LA TERRA TREMA (Visconti)
1949. -THE HEIRESS (Wyler)
-------THE THIRD MAN (Reed)
-------LATE SPRING (Ozu)
-------PUEBLERINA (Emilio Fernandez)
1950. AVENTURERA (Alberto Gout)
-------STARS IN MY CROWN (Tourneur)
-------LOS OLVIDADOS (Bunuel)
1951. ACE IN THE HOLE (Wilder)
------- RASHOMON (Kurosawa)
-------THE RIVER (Renoir)
1952.IKIRU (Kurosawa)
-------OTHELLO (Welles)
-------THE LIFE OF OHARU (Mizoguchi)
1953. EARRINGS OF MADAME DE... (Ophuls)
-------THE GOLDEN COACH (Renoir)
-------TOKYO STORY (Ozu)
-------UGETSU (Mizoguchi)
1954. THE CRUCIFIED LOVERS (Mizoguchi)
-------REAR WINDOW (Hitchcock)
-------SALT OF THE EARTH (Biberman)
-------SANSHO THE BAILIFF (Mizoguchi)
1955. THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (Laughton)
-------ORDET (Dreyer)
------THE SEARCHERS (Ford)
-------THE SEVENTH SEAL (Bergman)
1957. A MAN ESCAPED (Bresson)
-------THE CRANES ARE FLYING (Kalatozov)
-------NIGHTS OF CABIRIA (Fellini)
-------PATHS OF GLORY (Kubrick)
-------WILD STRAWBERRIES (Bergman)
1958. TOUCH OF EVIL (Welles)
-------VERTIGO (Hitchcock)
1959. THE 400 BLOWS (Truffaut)
-------ANATOMY OF A MURDER (Preminger)
-------HIROSHIMA, MON AMOUR (Resnais)
-------MOI, UN NOIR (Rouch)
-------NORTH BY NORTHWEST (Hitchcock)
-------PICKPOCKET (Bresson)
-------SOME LIKE IT HOT (Wilder)
-------THE WORLD OF APU (Ray)
1960. L'AVVENTURA (Antonioni)
-------PEEPING TOM (Powell)
-------PSYCHO (Hitchcock)
-------WILD RIVER (Kazan)
-------THE YOUNG ONE (Bunuel)
-------PLACIDO (Berlanga)
-------VIRIDIANA (Bunuel)
1962. LA JETEE (Marker)
--------L'ECLISSE (Antonioni)
-------MAMA ROMA (Pasolini)
-------MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (Schlesinger)
-------MY LIFE TO LIVE (Godard)
1963. 8 1/2 (Fellini)
-------CONTEMPT (Godard)
-------EL VERDUGO (Berlanga)
-------THE LEOPARD (Visconti)
-------MURIEL or THE TIME OF RETURN (Resnais)
-------THE ORGANIZER (Monicelli)
-------SHOCK CORRIDOR (Fuller)
1964. DR. STRANGELOVE (Kubrick)
-------GERTRUD (Dreyer)
-------MARNIE (Hitchcock)
1965. ALPHAVILLE (Godard)
-------FALSTAFF (Welles)
-------LA NOIRE DE... (Sembene)
-------REPULSION (Polanski)
1967. MOUCHETTE (Bresson)
-------PLAYTIME (Tati)
-------TITICUT FOLLIES (Wiseman)
1968. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (Kubrick)
-------THE JOKE (Jires)
1969. ANDREI RUBLEV (Tarkovsky)
1970. THE CONFORMIST (Bertolucci)
-------WOODSTOCK (Wadleigh)
1971. McCABE AND MRS. MILLER (Altman)
-------MURMUR OF THE HEART (Malle)
-------WALKABOUT (Roeg)
-------LAST TANGO IN PARIS (Bertolucci)
1974. ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL (Fassbinder)
-------CHINATOWN (Polanski)
-------EDVARD MUNCH (Watkins)
-------HEARTS AND MINDS (Davis)
1975. BARRY LYNDON (Kubrick)
-------NASHVILLE (Altman)
1976. CRIA (Saura)
-------HARLAN COUNTY, USA (Kopple)
1977. ERASERHEAD (Lynch)
1979. APOCALYPSE NOW (Coppola)
-------STALKER (Tarkovsky)
1981. MODERN ROMANCE (Albert Brooks)
------MOANA WITH SOUND (Flaherty)
------PIXOTE (Babenco)
------ REDS (Beatty)
-------LA TRAVIATA (Zefirelli)
1983. EL SUR (Erice)
-------SANS SOLEIL (Marker)
-------BRAZIL (Gilliam)
------- FOREST OF BLISS (Gardner)
-------THE OFFICIAL STORY (Puenzo)
-------SHOAH (Lanzmann)
1986. MELO (Resnais)
1987. FULL METAL JACKET (Kubrick)
-------THE LAST EMPEROR (Bertolucci)
-------YEELEN (Cisse)
1988. DEKALOG (Kieskowski)
-------LANDSCAPE IN MIST (Angelopoulos)
1989. DO THE RIGHT THING (Spike Lee)
-------MY LEFT FOOT (Sheridan)
1990. GOODFELLAS (Scorsese)
-------JU DOU (Yimou)
-------MONSIEUR HIRE (Leconte)
-------DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST (Julie Dash)
-------TOTO THE HERO (Dormael)
-------NAKED LUNCH (Cronenberg)
1992. ACTRESS (Kwan)
-------THE BOYS OF ST. VINCENT (Smith)
-------THE LONG DAY CLOSES (Davies)
-------UNFORGIVEN (Eastwood)
-------GROUNDHOG DAY (Ramis)
-------WITTGENSTEIN (Derek Jarman)
1994. BEFORE THE RAIN (Manchevski)
-------CRUMB (Zwigoff)
-------EXOTICA (Egoyan)
-------THREE COLORS: BLUE/WHITE/RED (Kieslowski)
-------TO LIVE (Yimou)
1995. DEAD MAN (Jarmusch)
-------SAFE (Haynes)
-------UNDERGROUND (Kusturica)
-------IRMA VEP (Assayas)
-------LONE STAR (Sayles)
1997. KUNDUN (Scorsese)
------THE MAELSTROM (Peter Forgacs)
-------THE TASTE OF CHERRY (Kiarostami)
1999. EYES WIDE SHUT (Kubrick)
-------THE WIND WILL CARRY US (Kiarosatami)
2000. IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (Kar Wai)
--------SUZHOU RIVER (Ye)
2001. A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (Spielberg/Kubrick)
-------THE SWAMP (Martel)
-------SPIRITED AWAY (Miyazaki)
-------TIME OUT (Cantet)
2002. ADAPTATION (Spike Jonze/Charlie Kaufman)
------ ARARAT (Egoyan)
-------BLOODY SUNDAY (Greengrass)
-------THE PIANIST (Polanski)
-------RUSSIAN ARK (Sokurov)
-------THE SON (Dardenne)
2003. A TALKING PICTURE (de Oliveira)
------THE CORPORATION (Abbott/Achbar)
-------THE HOLY GIRL (Martel)
------ 2046 (Kar Wai)
------ YES (Potter)
2005. COMO PASAN LAS HORAS (Oliveira Cezar)
------THE NEW WORLD (Malick)
------ THREE TIMES (Hou)
2006. AWAY FROM HER (Polley)
-------FICTION (Gay)
-------HALF NELSON (Fleck)
-------INLAND EMPIRE (Lynch)
-------OFFSIDE (Panahi)
-------PAN'S LABYRINTH (del Toro)
2007. CHOP SHOP (Bahrani)
2008. ASHES OF TIME Redux (Kar Wai)
--------GOODBYE SOLO (Bahrani)
--------THE HEADLESS WOMAN (Martel)
--------LIVERPOOL (Alonso)
2009. THE WHITE RIBBON (Haneke)
2010. GREENBERG (Baumbach/USA)
------MYSTERIES OF LISBON (Ruiz/Portugal)
------NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT (Guzman/Chile)
------THE STRANGE CASE OF ANGELICA (Oliveira/Portugal)
2011. A SEPARATION (Farhadi/Iran)
------THE ARBOR (Clio Barnard/UK)
------THE TREE OF LIFE (Malick/USA)
------THE TURIN HORSE (Bela Tarr/Hungary)
2012-HERE AND THERE (Mendez Esparza/Mexico)
2014-GOODBYE TO LANGUAGE (Godard/France-Switzerland)
-----HORSE MONEY (Pedro Costa/Portugal)
-----MR. TURNER (Leigh/UK)
2015-BROOKLYN (John Crowley/Ireland)
-----EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT (Guerra/Colombia)
-----45 YEARS (Haigh/UK)
-----HEART OF A DOG (Anderson/USA)
-----SON OF SAUL (Nemes/Poland)
2016-THE DEATH OF LOUIS XIV (Serra/Spain)
-----PATERSON (Jarmusch/USA)
2017- THE BIG SICK (Showalter/USA)
-----MUDBOUND (Rees/USA)
----- ZAMA (Martel/Argentina)

04-15-2004, 09:00 AM
Great list, Oscar. Glad to see some Altman on there, he's one of my favorites. I need to print this out and take it to the video store (or Netflix). I've missed alot of these so far, particularly some of the foreign films. "The Rules of the Game" is one I really want to see.

04-15-2004, 10:16 AM
This list confirms your impeccable taste. You're a kindred spirit, oscar.

The silents part of the list is what I really like. You've pretty much nailed every important work, save Gance's Napoleon and Haxan.
But those two are little on the crude side, so...
Lang's epic Die Niebelungen comes highly recommended from me as well. Kino just put out a gorgeous 2-disc set.

You're definitely a serious film buff oscar. Your list is basically a must-see scroll. Just about every one is a classic of some sort.
I just saw Eraserhead again two nights ago. Pure brilliance. I was in a trance once again. The soundtrack is an ear invasion. That low "hum" or whatever you call it just adds so much to the trippy black & white images.

These names also deserve some discussion: Paradjanov, Sternberg, Visconti (The Leopard is a Criterion I want), Vigo, Berlanga and Olmi. All great directors who have a limited audience.

Justified! Have you seen Les Vampires? If not, then start at the top, baby! If you want a marathon, you can't go wrong with this incredible, poetic, silent film experience.

04-15-2004, 04:08 PM
Originally posted by Johann
Justified! Have you seen Les Vampires? If not, then start at the top, baby! If you want a marathon, you can't go wrong with this incredible, poetic, silent film experience.

That's one of the many on the list I haven't seen. I'm trying to catch up! There's only so much time in the day...

I did watch Casa De Los Babys last night. I enjoy Sayles' rather slow-paced, thoughtful movies, and this one was no exception. Lone Star (on Oscar's list) is also one of my favorites - it does a good job of capturing the "essence" of Texas, and it's a good story to boot...

Howard Schumann
04-15-2004, 08:48 PM
There are some very outstanding films on your list. Thanks for posting it. While not all the films are to my liking, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend any of them (except possibly for Safe which I strongly dislike). I've noted the three I haven't heard of (except of course for the silent films of which I don't watch very many) Placido, Cria, and Caido del Cielo and will look them up pronto.

oscar jubis
04-15-2004, 11:35 PM
Originally posted by JustaFied
Great list, Oscar. Glad to see some Altman on there, he's one of my favorites.

Thanks, JustaFied. I love the way Altman uses overlapping dialogue and his expert hand directing large groups or ensembles. Other Altmans you'd find in my year-end top 10s: The Long Goodbye, Short Cuts and Gosford Park.

I've missed alot of these so far, particularly some of the foreign films. "The Rules of the Game" is one I really want to see.

100 out of 208 movies listed are in a foreign language. I must believe one is profusely rewarded for subjecting oneself to the annoyance of subtitles and the complications they create. I have listed Renoir's The Rules of the Game in my Filmwurld profile. I love this movie (btw, it's clearly a major influence on Gosford Park). But until recently you'd have to see it on a mediocre vhs tape. Criterion's disc makes it easier for those of us who don't speak French to appreciate the full flavor of this dialogue-heavy film (Conversely, imagine the French trying to get all the jokes in Hawks' Bringing Up Baby or His Girl Friday). At the very least, full appreciation of the performances will be affected. I think this very entertaining, engaging movie deserves to be seen twice.

04-15-2004, 11:47 PM
That took a lot of courage on your part. Are you not wearing your heart on your sleeve? Still, I now know a little more why we all admire you so much. I was so glad you chose "Paths of Glory". I remember when I left the cinema (I actually saw it on campus), I wanted to go out and kick some right-winger's ass who supported the war in Viet Nam (a hot topic then). Kubrick knew how to elicit those kinds of feelings. Thanks, Oscar.

oscar jubis
04-16-2004, 12:43 AM
Originally posted by Johann
You're a kindred spirit, oscar.

Oh, I know it. Some would say we have the same screw loose :)

The silents part of the list is what I really like. You've pretty much nailed every important work, save Gance's Napoleon and Haxan.
Lang's epic Die Niebelungen comes highly recommended from me as well. Kino just put out a gorgeous 2-disc set.

I will rent Die Niebelungen as soon as I'm done with a little project: two friends in their early 20s plan to open an "alternative" rental shop in the cultural wastelands of suburbia. They've asked me to stock the foreign language section. I've bought close to $1000 worth of vhs and dvd, new and used, so far. But it's taking a lot of my leisure time to find the best deals.
I seem to prefer German and American silent films. Marty Scorsese's list would probably start with the Italian Cabiria (which I haven't seen) and would certainly include the two excellent films you mention (which I don't quite love). Others that fall into that category: Berlin:Symphony of a Great City, The Birth of a Nation, Man with a Moving Camera, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Scarlett Letter, The Love of Jeanne Ney.

I just saw Eraserhead again two nights ago. Pure brilliance. I was in a trance once again. The soundtrack is an ear invasion. That low "hum" or whatever you call it just adds so much to the trippy black & white images.

Excellent observation.

These names also deserve some discussion: Paradjanov, Sternberg, Visconti (The Leopard is a Criterion I want), Vigo, Berlanga and Olmi. All great directors who have a limited audience.

J, do you think these directors have a limited audience because their films are not widely available (the long wait for a proper The Leopard appears finally over, eh?)? Or do you think the films themselves have features that would alienate mainstream audiences? Don't people want to see at least six of the Sternbergs, if only to watch Marlene Dietrich? Maybe not. Visconti and Olmi are expert storytellers, but maybe subtitles and period costumes shrink their potential audience. Vigo and Berlanga have been largely ignored (only Vigo's L'Atalante is available on video). Paradjanov is reserved for audiences interested in pictorial art, folklore and poetry (but not necessarily all of them).

oscar jubis
04-16-2004, 01:25 AM
Originally posted by JustaFied
I'm trying to catch up!
There's a ton of great movies to discover. How can anyone complain of boredom?

I did watch Casa De Los Babys last night. I enjoy Sayles' rather slow-paced, thoughtful movies, and this one was no exception. Lone Star (on Oscar's list) is also one of my favorites - it does a good job of capturing the "essence" of Texas

Sayles captures the essence of wherever he goes because he's like the opposite of the "ugly American" cliche. He inmerses into enviroments, observes, asks questions with open mind and heart. All his movies convey a credible picture of the cultures that provide context to his stories. (His books do too. He "nails" exiled Cubans in his novel "Los Gusanos").

04-16-2004, 04:33 PM
Cinema is a very deep sea.
Those willing "to give it up" have no excuse for boredom. Many masters have worked hard at giving the world images that provoke, question and entertain.

Either you get it or you don't. It's the world's loss if more people won't engage or tap into the possibilities of cinema. As I've said before, it's all there on screen- the only thing holding you back is the level of interest you have in what you are watching.

As for Sternberg & Co, I think it's a combination of both availability and content that alienates audiences. It seems noboby wants to sit through The Tree of Wooden Clogs. Who the hell knows about this movie? Film buffs and that's about it. A damn shame.
It's a Palm D'or winning masterpiece that has virtually no audience. What can you do? The public is a fickle, temperamental lot.

oscar jubis
04-16-2004, 11:58 PM
Originally posted by Howard Schumann
I've noted the three I haven't heard of (except of course for the silent films of which I don't watch very many) Placido, Cria, and Caido del Cielo and will look them up pronto.

Cria (aka Raise Ravens) is the one that had a theatrical and home video release here. Ana Torrent's performances here (as Ana) and in Erice's Spirit of the Beehive are often cited amongst the best characterizations of childhood ever. The film works as both psychological drama, and political allegory about a new nation struggling to emerge after 35 years of Fascism. Like Ana, Cria is melancholic but never defeatist or pessimistic.

Several of Peruvian director Francisco Lombardi's films are available on vhs and dvd (The City and The Dogs, Don't Tell Anyone, Tinta Roja, Captain Pantoja, The Wolf's Mouth) but not Caidos del Cielo (Fallen from Heaven). The characters are poor and working-class residents of Lima. The movie was a huge hit at our Film Fest in 1990. Tarantino would later popularize its 3-parallel-narrative-threads-finally-meet structure.

Just like the Marshall Plan excluded Spain, our screens never showed films from Spain during the 50s and 60s. Foreign films in distribution were French, Italian, or directed by Kurosawa or Bergman. Placido (an Oscar nominee) and El Verdugo (The Executioner) are my favorite films directed by Luis Berlanga. I hope some day his films and others from Spanish directors like Juan Antonio Bardem (Javier's uncle) become widely available. For a brief introduction go to: www.villagevoice.com/issues/0150/stein.php
For a longer essay go to: www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/directors/03/berlanga.html

Howard Schumann
04-17-2004, 12:21 AM
Thanks very much for the links and for the detailed information about these films. Of the three, only Cria is available here and I will try to watch it soon.

oscar jubis
04-17-2004, 07:59 PM
Originally posted by cinemabon
. Are you not wearing your heart on your sleeve?

I keep using the word "love" on this thread. These are the movies I feel compelled to watch. Often when I'm writing or doing something else, I play the videos just to listen to the soundtrack. These films influenced who I am, what I believe in, and continue to do so.
Going over these titles prior to posting, I thought to myself: "cinemabon will be disappointed I didn't include enough Westerns and Musicals" (we've had some nice exchanges about these genres). I also feel there aren't enough Comedies. Some of the wonderful genre movies not listed (as of today) include: Singin' in the Rain, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Some Like It Hot, The Naked Spur, Hail the Conquering Hero.
Regarding Kubrick, I've included 6 titles, which feels excessive given he directed 11. I thought it over and was unable to drop a single film He gets my vote for most consistent film director, which is remarkable when you consider he kept coming up with something radically different than his previous movies. 2001 and A Clockwork Orange are the first two I saw. They had a tremendous influence on youth when they came out. I didn't get to watch Paths of Glory until the late 90s. It remains a powerful experience, with more shadings than first apparent to me, and inspired performances. No doubt the Military Culture vs. Basic Human Decency polemic appeals to me. Thanks for your kind comments.

04-23-2004, 10:24 AM
I went ahead and split the thread. The discussion of Todd Haynes' "Safe" is now in the General Film Forum.

oscar jubis
08-12-2004, 12:45 AM
Yeelen is an award-winning film from 1987 directed by Souleymane Cisse from Mali. Mr. Cisse and Senegalese Ousmane Sembene are the two most respected film directors from Africa. I have sought African films for years; it's been a frustrating experience. Yeelen is my favorite African film I've seen but I was reluctant to include it based on one viewing many years ago. I recently saw it twice, on dvd. It's truly a one-of-a-kind experience and a masterpiece. I've added it the list of favorites that opened this thread.

Yeelen is truly a "foreign" film. It is an animist creation story that incorporates a conflict between father-and-son practitioners of Komo, an ancient religion of the Bambara culture in what is now Mali. The film takes place in the 14th century, prior to the invasion by Morocco, the colonization by France, and slavery. It displays a circular time orientation and cultural references non-Africans rarely encounter. Animal sacrifice, curses, milk baths, evil eye, animal spirits, purifying springs, posts and totems with unique powers, shamans, chants, strange rituals...you get the idea. Yeelen is extraordinarily beautiful, with precisely composed images bursting with color.

Yeelen was released on dvd last October. Truly enchanting.

08-13-2004, 02:05 AM
1902. Voyage to the Moon
1903. The Great Train Robbery
1915. The Birth of a Nation
1927. The Jazz Singer
1933. King Kong
1935. Frankenstein
1937. Snow White
1939. Wizard of Oz
------ Gone with the Wind
1948. Hamlet
1952. Singing in the Rain
1953. Roman Holiday
1954. On the Waterfront
------ Seven Samurai
1955. Rebel with a Cause
1956. The King and I
------ Forbidden Planet
1959. Ben-Hur
1960. Pyscho
1961. Breakfast at Tiffany's
------ West Side Story
1962. Lawrence of Arabia
------ Jules and Jim
------ Cape Fear
------ How the West was Won
------ To Kill a Mockingbird
------ Days of Wine and Roses
1963. The Birds
------ The Miracle Worker
------ The Lilies of the Field
------ Charade
1964. Mary Poppins
------ My Fair Lady
1965. The Ipcress File
------ The Sound of Music
------ Dr. Zhivago
------ Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines
1966. A Man and a Woman
------ Fahrenheit 451
------ The Endless Summer
1967. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
------ Barbarella
------ The Graduate
------ Bonnie and Clyde
------ To Sir With Love
1968. The Planet of the Apes
------ Rosemary's Baby
------ The Yellow Submarine
1969. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
------ Satyricon
1970. M*A*S*H
------ Love Story
------ Little Big Man
1971. Clockwork Orange
------ Summer of 42
------ The French Connection
------ Harold and Maude
1972. Cabaret
------ The Godfather
1973. la Planete sauvage
------ The Exorcist
------ Cries and Whispers
1974. Amarcord
------ Emmanuelle
1975. Picnic at Hanging Rock
------ The Rocky Horror Picture Show
------ Jaws
------ The Story of O
------ One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
1976. All The President's Men
------ Taxi Driver
------ The Man Who Fell to Earth
------ The Omen
1977. Annie Hall
------ Star Wars
------ Close Encounters of the Third Kind
1979. Alien
1981. The Elephant Man
------ Excalibur
1982. Chariots of Fire
------ Bladerunner
------ Gandhi
------ Tootsie
1983. Koyannisqatsi
1984. Ghostbusters
------ Amadeus
1985. The Purple Rose of Cairo
------ Ran
1986. Blue Velvet
------ The Name of the Rose
------ Manhunter
------ Platoon
1987. Fatal Attraction
1988. The Big Blue
------ Who Framed Roger Rabbit
1989. Dead Poet's Society
------ Born on the Fourth of July
------ Roger and Me
------ Sex, Lies, and Videotape
1990. Akira
------ Dances with Wolves
1991. Silence of the Lambs
------ Barton Fink
------ The Fisher King
------ Naked Lunch
------ Delicatessen
1992. A River Runs Through It
------ Dracula
------ Chaplin
1993. The Crying Game
------ The Piano
------ Like Water for Chocolate
------ The Joy Luck Club
------ Sleepless In Seattle
------ Three Colors Blue
------ Mrs. Doubtfire
1994. Pulp Fiction
------ The Shawshank Redemption
------ The Mask
1995. Interview with a Vampire
------ Legends of the Fall
------ Apollo 13
------ The Usual Suspects
1996. Twelve Monkeys
------ Fargo
------ Crash
------ Evita
------ Striptease
1997. The English Patient
------ The Full Monty
1998. LA Confidential
------ Sliding Doors
------ The Truman Show
------ Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels
------ Saving Private Ryan
1999. Shakespeare in Love
------ Run Lola Run
------ The Red Thin Line
------ The Matrix
------ Election
------ The Sixth Sense
------ The Blair Witch Project
------ The Insider
2000. American Beauty
------ Magnolia
------ Being John Malkovich
------ Snatch
------ Almost Famous
------ Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
------ The House of Mirth
------ Nurse Betty
2001. Traffic
------ Cast Away
------ Chocolat
------ Pollack
------ AI
------ Moulin Rouge
------ Vanilla Sky
------ The Others
2002. A Beautiful Mind
------ Black Hawk Down
------ Amelie
------ Gosford Park

Chris Knipp
08-13-2004, 03:55 AM
We're on a new page. But what is "American Popular List" about these? Some were popular everywhere. Some you could hardly call popular. Many are not American, so I assume you mean popular in America, but if so, not with the general audience, which didn't see The Seven Samural or Amarcord, or many others here. Come on, tabuno, how did you make up this list, and what is it supposed to show?

Let's go back to Oscar's list.

What is the point of lists anyway? Trophy lists? Notches in your cineaste’s belt? No, I know, expressions of love. Wearing your love on your sleeve, so to speak. BUt what is the value of publishing such a list? They can be tips to someone on what may be worth looking up, but they can also alienate by reminding us how many of our favorite movies don’t mean much to somebody else. Oscar’s list contains many wonderful items, beautiful classics. But why so few listed for some years I can’t imagine, some great years. I especially find it odd that he has so few movies that he loves going back to again and again from the most recent years. And he seems to slight the French New Wave, and American movies generally. Here is a rough list of some of the main ones I could come up with for each year that he did not list but I’d have to, among others. When I say “I’d have to,” I mean I just can’t imagine omitting these, and some of them are just so great that they’d be on my top-twenty list. And this just a quick list, and there are others I’ve forgotten to mention. But what is the point, exactly? I still don’t get it.

What was the point of your list, Oscar? What prompted you to make up the list, and what prompted you to post it here? I'm not challenging you; I'm just really curious about the thoughts and motives that lie behind list-making. I've only posted these movies listed below in self defense, so to speak, to save some pieces of my world that were seemingly being swept under the carpet by these other lists. Kinda makes you realize why Rosenbaum made a list of his thousand favorites.

1949 King Hearts and Coronets (Hamer)
1951 The Man in the White Suit (Mackendrick)
1953 The Wages of Fear (Clément)
1960 Tirez sur la pianiste (Truffaut)
1962 To Kill a Mockingbird (Mulligan)
-----The Elclipse (Antonioni)
1964 La Jetée (Marker)
1965 Alphaville (Godard)
-----Masculine Feminine (Godard)
1966 Sword of Doom (Kurosawa)
-----Blowup (Antonioni)
1967 Bonnie and Clyde (Penn)
-----Playtime (Tati)
-----Privilege (Watkins)
-----La prise de pouvoir de Louis XIV (Rossellini)
1969 The Wild Bunch (Peckinpah)
-----Ma Nuit chez Maud (Rohmer)
1970 Performance (Roeg)
-----The Spider’s Strategm (Bertolucci)
1971 THX-1138 (Lucas)
-----Tati’s Trafic
-----Two Lane Blacktop (Hellman)
1972 Solaris
1973 Last Tango in Paris should be 1972
-----Badlands (Malick)
-----The Long Goodbye (Altman)
1964 Kwaidan (Kobayashi)
-----The Conversation (Coppola)
1975 A Boy and His Dog (Jones)
1980 Atlantic City (Malle)
-----The Shining (Kubrick)
-----Melvin and Howard (Demme)
1981 Time Bandits
---Cutter’s Way (Passer)
1982 Blade Runner (Scott)
-----Diner (Levinson)
1984 Choose Me (Rudolph)
1984 Stranger Than Paradise (Jarmusch)
1986 Down by Law (Jarmusch)
-----Something Wild (Demme)
1987 Tin Men (Levinson)
1988 Hairspray (Waters)
-----Married to the Mob (Demme)
1989 Enemies, a Love Story (Mazursky)
-----Drugstore Cowboy (Van Sant)
1990 Days of Being Wild (Wong)
1991 My Own Private Idaho (Van Sant)
1992 Naked Lunch (Cronenberg)
1993 My Favorite Season {Téchiné)
1994 Wild Reeds (Téchiné)
-----Ashes of Time (Wong)
-----Red (Kieslowski)
1995 Before Sunrise (Linklater)
1996 Les Voleurs (Téchiné)
1998 West Beirut (Ziyad Duweyri)
-----The Thin Red Line (Malick)
1999 Magnolia (Anderson)
2000 Yi Yi (Yang)
-----Hamlet (Michael Almareyda)
2001 A.I. (Spielberg)
-----Waking Life (Linklater)
-----What Time Is It There? (Tsai)
2002 Spider (Cronenberg)
-----Y tu mama tambien (Alfonso Cuaron)
-----Sweet Sixteen (Loach)
-----The Believer (Bean)
-----Punch Drunk Love (Anderson)
-----Bowling for Columbine (Moore)

2003 Elephant (Van Sant)
-----Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (Tarantino)
-----City of God (Lund, Meirelles)

oscar jubis
08-13-2004, 08:11 PM
Thanks for posting your list Tabuno. You've watched a lot of great movies! Impressed particularly with excellent films like House of Myrth, which few have seen. Curious about your listing Chaplin but no Chaplin films. Even if you don't like classic westerns, give The Searchers a chance. I wonder whether you've had the opportunity to watch the films listed below. I think you'd enjoy the majority of them, based on the titles you listed. Give them a chance if so inclined.

Dr. Strangelove
Guys and Dolls
The Best Years of our Lives
The Last Emperor
Belle Epoque
City of Lost Children

I'll reply to C.K.'s post a bit later.

08-14-2004, 12:37 AM
Anyone who complains about a list of movies and then makes up and posts a list of movies himsedlf must really have a fascinating convoluted deductive logic.

Anyway, I'd like to thank you for pointing out that out of thousands of films I've come across, I can't keep track of them all, some even brilliant. I would like especially acknowledge with another list those movies that have been mentioned but that I somehow overlooked that are very worthy of yet another list (why is it that director's get the only credit in these lists - don't actors and actresses have some measure of worth in why some movies are very good?):

1962 To Kill a Mockingbird (Mulligan)
1966 Blowup (Antonioni)
1971 THX-1138 (Lucas)
1972 Solaris
1975 A Boy and His Dog (Jones)
1981 Time Bandits
1992 Naked Lunch (Cronenberg)
2002 Punch Drunk Love (Anderson)

I've seen:

Dr. Strangelove
The Last Emperor
City of Lost Children

As for "Guys and Dolls," my half brother actually played in a high school production where he actually out performed Frank Sinatra.

oscar jubis
08-14-2004, 01:40 AM
Originally posted by tabuno
why is it that director's get the only credit in these lists - don't actors and actresses have some measure of worth in why some movies are very good?

I do believe most of the best films are primarily so because of a director imparting his/her unique vision and overseeing the project as a whole. Cinema is a collaborative medium but generally, and particularly since the 60s, it is the director who chooses the collaborators. But you are making an excellent point tabuno. The director is not necessarily the most important individual involved in a given film. Producers, writers, cinematographers and actors often deserve the most praise. I'll give you two examples that come to mind. Others may disagree, but I think the Oscar winner The Best Years Of Our Lives is so good because of cinematographer Gregg Toland and a couple of its actors. I also think the essential element responsible for the greatness of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is Charlie Kaufman's script. (Not that anybody else involved was slumming).

I've seen:
Dr. Strangelove
The Last Emperor
City of Lost Children

Well, what do you think?

As for "Guys and Dolls," my half brother actually played in a high school production where he actually out performed Frank Sinatra.

That must've been some performance.

08-14-2004, 01:52 AM
Originally posted by oscar jubis
the greatness of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is Charlie Kaufman's script. (Not that anybody else involved was slumming).

... and the same can be said about ADAPTATION and BEING JOHN MALKOVICH. Michel Gondry redeemed himself with ETERNAL SUNSHINE after HUMAN NATURE, a film and a script which required a more capable director.

08-14-2004, 05:42 AM
What about if instead of just listing directors always after a movie, that the most influential person's name be used after a movie whether that be the director, the producer, the scriptwriter, cinematographer, one of the actors or actresses as a reference.

Chris Knipp
08-14-2004, 05:45 AM
Call my logic convoluted if you like, but I had to make a list to show the inadequacy of lists, particularly short ones, no matter how wide a time period they span. Hence Oscar's polite suggestions to tabuno of additions and the point of Rosenbaum's making an "essential" list that's a thousand movies long. But you could as well make one two thousand movies long, or five thousand movies long, and the question still remains: what list is ever long enough, and hence, Why lists?

By another logic it makes sense to make a very short list, to say, or imply, "Lists are useless, because never long enough, so I'll make a tiny one to show just my own very favorite films." Another alternative to comprehensive lists, which broadcast their inadequecy, is the specialized list, for example let's say The Best Neo-Noirs of the Seventies (which would no doubt be headed by Chinatown) or The Best Non-Costume Japanese Films of the Fifies (which no doubt would be headed by Ikiru).

tabuno's new list includes some of my additions to Oscar's, all of which I mentioned except Time Bandits. Please note that my long list a few posts back was a comment on Oscar's list, not on tabuno's. My apologies to tabuno for only questioning the logic of his list, without diplomatically noting as Oscar did that his list contains lots of fine movies.

arsaib4 is right about Kaufman: he's a writer who overshadows his directors. After initial reluctance, I'm a big Kaufman convert now. I'd like to add Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (which fewer people saw) to the list, in fact I'm not sure it isn't my favorite Kaufman script, maybe because its focus on a real person and his real (if also unreal) autobiography draws attention away from Kaufman's personal head trips a little.

I can't help being influenced enough by "auteur" theory to think that a film whose most important force is somebody other than the director is a lesser film. Which is not to denegrate actors and all the other wonderful and talented people who get a nod on Oscar night.

08-14-2004, 01:23 PM
I am humbled by your astute observation.

oscar jubis
08-16-2004, 12:42 AM
Originally posted by Chris Knipp
Let's go back to Oscar's list. BUt what is the value of publishing such a list? They can be tips to someone on what may be worth looking up, but they can also alienate by reminding us how many of our favorite movies don’t mean much to somebody else.

I'll explain. Rosenbaum's list of 1000 favorites contains close to 400 films I have not seen. I was so happy to know there are so many potentially pleasurable and edifying films I have yet to discover. You don't specify how you personally felt looking at my list but you raise the possibility that posting such a list "can also alienate". I find it hard to envision such reaction. This is certainly not the way Johann, Howard, Cinemabon and JustFied reacted to my personal film canon. My reaction to yours is: I need to find a way to catch Kihachi Okamoto's Sword of Doom and Watkins's Privilege (and other films by this British director I've neglected). I also think these type of list is a reflection of one's personality and film-viewing history. I happen to have an interest in you. It's possible your list may shed some light into who you are and what you care about.

why so few listed for some years I can’t imagine, some great years. I especially find it odd that he has so few movies that he loves going back to again and again from the most recent years.

To read a post in which I've attempted to disclose what wpqx called "the method behind the madness", go to:

And he seems to slight American movies generally.

I've responded to this criticism before. The last time was on the "Your 10 Best of the 90's" thread.

What prompted you to make up the list, and what prompted you to post it here?

I started my personal canon in the early 70s (when I started a "Cine-Club" with another kid and adult assistance). My film canon has grown to over 200 films that have had to prove their worth to me over the years. It's by no means a list of "all the masterpieces ever made" or "the great films". It's a list of personal favorites, movies that continue to provide pleasure and edification to me. The link above should provide evidence of what I value most in cinema. It's possible those who value my opinion would seek out some of the titles they have missed. It's a lot of work to post. But I was inspired by Howard Schumann posting his under the title "My Top 125".

Chris Knipp
08-16-2004, 02:25 AM
I may overdramatize our differences at times to spur discussion and debate. I was also trying to get some kind of manifesto out of you, in which effort I have so far failed.

You are forever more positive and upbeat than I. You're positively Californian! We should trade places. I thought I did explain how somebody's list can potentially alienate. That is because you assume the person making the list is aware of the other films you love that he/she has confidently omitted. A list if well and elaborately constructed may constitute a fairly precise portrait of the author or at least of his/her filmgoing experience. But then it makes one realize how different everyone is from oneself and one feels more alone!

Can't anyone see this?

I know: "Vive le différence!!" But we live in "windowless monads" and these lists underline that. The "Rules of the Game" and "Rashomon" that you see are worlds away from the ones I see.

Watkins's Privilege is kind of obscure and I saw it a long, long time ago. However it is peculiar and interesting....I guess. I'm not sure it would have to be in my canon.

I had a feeling Rosenbaum would have reared his head somewhere. When you find (as I do or would also) that there are 2/5 of his "essential" but "personal" list (he fence-sits awfully cleverly there) that you haven't seen, isn't that daunting, or discouraging? don't you ever think that you'll never "catch up"?

So many movies, so little time!

I'm sorry you don't answer my question about slighting American films and giving so few favorites for recent years here, even briefly, so I have to go hunting for the answers. And I feel: how can there be any answers?

I would be much more moved to see a film I don't know by a well written review, than by its being included in some list. This at least is an argument for annotating one's list.

It has come up in discussing Rosenbaum, that he denigrates lists. And then he makes a list of 1,000 films.

One can only conclude that list-making is a compulsion. But I have to say, as others have, that I don't care about the list, what I care about is how you justify your choices. Hence I'd really rather you just took a few of them, and explained in detail why they are important to you. LIsts themselves are so mechanical. They have a personal use. For instance I keep a list, like a log, of all the movies I have seen this year, and the past few years. This is just so I don't forget, and can review how the whole year in movies looks to me. It helps keep me from forgetting anything when I come to make up my list of the ten or twenty best.

But when lists are made to recommend a canon, or to espouse a cause, that's okay too. There's really nothing wrong with lists. Lists are here to stay. It's just that I think they are of a lot more use when people have a good clear explanation for why they made their list and why it's he way it is. Which as it turns out, isn't easy to do.

In conclusion I would like to say (as my Egyptian students used to write at the end of their compositions) that of course your choices have a special significance to me and to others because of your exceptional dedication to the movies and the considerble knowledge of them you've acquired. In particular your lists show what you know about that I don't, and also what you either don't know about or are woefully unresponsive to, that I know and love.

Chris Knipp
08-16-2004, 02:30 AM
There are people who are good at surveying and describing, and there are people who are good at analyzing more discrete units. I think I belong more to the second group. That's why I'm not very comfortable with lists.

There is also always the sense that somebody who makes a long or comprehensive list like you or Rosenbaum that it will look like a trophy list -- I mentioned this before -- an inventory of game "bagged." A brag.

08-16-2004, 03:06 PM
Originally posted by Chris Knipp

I would be much more moved to see a film I don't know by a well written review, than by its being included in some list.

I am in total agreement here although I do realize that there are people other than me (and apparently many) who live and die by lists and a certain list makes it easier for them to set their agendas.

08-16-2004, 03:51 PM
As for lists vs. reviews I would go with a list, and there are two reasons. The first is that lists are a great place to start. I got into film by watching all 100 films on the AFI list (even the Jazz Singer). When you know absolutely nothing about film, then a list can do you wonders. The other reason is that I do not read reviews of films I have not seen. Most reviews give out way too much detail, and I believe should only be read to get more information, whether it be a different interpretation or an explanation of technical developments. Most reviews I write tend to give away way too much, because I tend to write with the attitude that someone reading it is under the same impression that I am.

Chris Knipp
08-17-2004, 12:09 AM
I can't exactly see why film buffs of any stripe would be against review reading, at any stage of viewing. This is a form of anti-intellectualism.

I know many people think this, but to avoid reviews of movies you haven't seen strikes me as at best somewhat senseless -- and, moreover, it's acting against the purpose of popular review-writing, which is to tip off the public as to whether something is worth seeing or not. This is why popular reviewers avoid "spoilers." But if all that a movie has to offer is a surprise about how it turns out, then it's just ephemera.

So I don't agree with you, wpqx, but you can save review-reading for after watching a movie if you like -- when you can watch it. BUt what about the times when you can't? As today's reigning American film guru Jonathan Rosenbaum says right off in introducing his own "Personal Canon," "No one who claims to have seen all the possible contenders for the greatest films ever made can possibly be telling the truth." The only way to learn about those we haven't seen and probably can't see is to read about them -- and just to read their name in a list will hardly do it for you. Rosenbaum's new book, ESSENTIAL CINEMA: On the Necessity of Film Canons, is 400 pages of movie reviews, and a 45-page list. It hardly looks like Rosenbaum is setting lists above reviews, or wants us to skip the first 400 pages and just study the list.

Sure, a list is a good place to start if you're trying to fill in gaps in your knowledge, and that's one of their major values besides providing a profile of the list-maker's taste. A list is also a good way to end up when you've seen a lot of movies and want to record your experiences and organize them.

But let's not see this as an either/or. Rosenbaum's book gives us reviews plus a list, and we welcome and need both. It's just that I'm uncomfortable with the view that somehow under certain circumstances reviews need to be avoided and lists should take precedence. arsaib4 and I both feel that we're more likely to go out and find a movie we haven't seen on the basis of a fascinating review of it than its simply being on somebody's list, for the obvious reason that a review has much more to say.

You can do it however you like, the point is that reviews are an essential part of the process of appreciating film and even more so in the case of films we can't see. As a long-time in depth literature student myself who read a lot about books before, during and after the process of reading the books themselves and found that enormously enhanced my appreciation and understanding, I came to understand that you cannot "know too much" about a work before you actually read, watch, or listen to it. Forgive me, wpqx, but that's a naive view, though it's held by many. Besides, your statement is illogical, because you say you would choose a list over a review and then you say a list is a "great place to start." If it's just the beginning, then it's not the whole process of appreciation, and discussion and reading are other parts of that process.

08-17-2004, 12:36 AM
I haven't read the previous conversation on this topic between you (Chris) and Oscar so I can't truly comment on what Oscar prefers but I do not think that someone as knowledgable as Oscar would totally disregard reading reviews.

What i specifically don't like is when a ' top whatever' topic comes up, certain poeple reach back to their massive databases and start posting these huge lists which frankly only helps them. Even when i start out reading these lists, about half way down i think to myself 'what am i doing?' as the interesting names i've read before start to fade. As one Times critic recenty denounced the 'endless credits' in films as death of cinema, these dreaded top ten lists have become part of the american culture in every aspect, and they aren't helpin' either.

08-17-2004, 12:42 AM
Also, when it comes to reading books on and about films i'd much rather read something like The Dream Life by J.Hoberman which incorporates the films and the politics of a certain era (the sixties in this case) than a book just put together with bunch of reviews and lists.

Chris Knipp
08-17-2004, 01:00 AM
I agree, and I wasn't addressing Oscar but Xpqx, who was expressing a common viewpoint that reviews "spoil" a film. Agreed, a long review collection is also numbing. But people pour over lists when it's their guru who's made it. Thanks to Howard Schumann for referring me back to this discussion: it's interesting because the leader of the discussion actually got Jonathan Rosenbaum to answer their questions about his "essential cinema" list. If you wade through the long thread, you may find something. It's helped me see the status Rosenbaum enjoys these days:


chelsea jubis
08-17-2004, 01:14 AM
Originally posted by Chris Knipp
I may overdramatize our differences at times to spur discussion and debate.

Well, I realize that. But I've thought at times, when debating others less familiar with your methods, that the quality of the debate would have been enhanced by acknowledging commonalities rather that taking an entirely confrontational approach.

I was also trying to get some kind of manifesto out of you, in which effort I have so far failed.

I provided a link (which I've tested) to a post in which I do precisely that.

I thought I did explain how somebody's list can potentially alienate. It makes one realize how different everyone is from oneself and one feels more alone!

Yes, you did explain. I guess I've always taken for granted how different everyone is from oneself. So much so that I react with surprise at what I perceive as a relatively high level of consensus between us. And between myself and Howard, and Johann, who has even called me a "kindred soul".

I had a feeling Rosenbaum would have reared his head somewhere. When you find that there are 2/5 of his "essential" but "personal" list that you haven't seen, isn't that daunting, or discouraging? don't you ever think that you'll never "catch up"?

You make it sound like it's a competition, like a road race. The longer my "to watch" list gets, the more excited I get at the potential for new sources of pleasure and edification.

I'm sorry you don't answer my question about slighting American films and giving so few favorites for recent years.

The link provides some answers. But I'll state here, as I've done before, that all my lists (including the 80s list when in my opinion American film was at a low ebb) include more American films than films from any other country. As far as recent films, I am strict as to what I include in my canon. These films need to prove themselves over several viewings. These are the "4 stars" films (to use mainstream media terms) which resonate with me in particular.

It has come up in discussing Rosenbaum, that he denigrates lists.

Never heard that before. He's actually spoken at length about how the 1962 Sight and Sound poll was a valuable guide in educating himself about must-see films that never played in the Rosenbaum theatres his family owned in Alabama.

chelsea jubis
08-17-2004, 01:19 AM
Originally posted by Chris Knipp
I can't exactly see why film buffs of any stripe would be against review reading, at any stage of viewing. This is a form of anti-intellectualism. the point is that reviews are an essential part of the process of appreciating film and even more so in the case of films we can't see. As a long-time in depth literature student myself who read a lot about books before, during and after the process of reading the books themselves and found that enormously enhanced my appreciation and understanding, I came to understand that you cannot "know too much" about a work before you actually read, watch, or listen to it.

Of course I don't disregard reading reviews, arsaib4. I agree entirely with this quote from C.K.
Of course, my dear daughter didn't write this and the post above.

08-17-2004, 01:28 AM
first of all, is that you Oscar who just responded under someone's log in, your daughter's perhaps?

...never mind, i got my answer.

Informative read to say the least, Chris, i didn't know that you posted there also. Since i've still truly yet to discover Rosenbaum it was an interesting conversation for me, well balanced on both sides. But it seems to be that Rosenbaum is on a similar path like Kael, Sarris and couple others who are popular for their personalities for the most part rather than what they wrote.

Chris Knipp
08-17-2004, 02:03 PM
Thanks arsaib4, for checking out the Rosenbaum thread. I'm going to bring it up again because I've learned a lot from it myself and I hope to share it with others.

To Oscar: Re your manifesto behind your list:

(You wrote) I provided a link (which I've tested) to a post in which I do precisely that.

For quick navigational purposes I wish you'd provided that link again here.

(You also commented) I've thought at times, when debating others less familiar with your methods, that the quality of the debate would have been enhanced by acknowledging commonalities rather that taking an entirely confrontational approach.

I will try to do so. My aim is to focus on issues not personalities.

(And you added:)You make it sound like it's a competition, like a road race

What may seem an easy ten-miler to you, may be pretty daunting to the neophyte jogger.

Question: Does Rosenbaum "denigrate" lists (as I asserted)?

I maybe should have said "expresses reservations about." Here is the exchange between Rosenbaum and IMDb "Classic Film" participant jiankevin on this topic:

- I was actually quite surprised when I saw that your book argued for the necessity of canons, given your previous criticism of the AFI's top 100 lists and how it institutionalizes popular taste in much the same way as any canon does. Also, you testify to the profound affect that the Sight and Sound top 10 list had on you during your college years (as was the case for me) -- but couldn't one say that this, or any list, may be as limiting in its own way (in the perspective it espouses) as the AFI list? If the goal is to encourage people to see as many things as possible, I wonder if any canon or list alone is up to that task. Would you agree to that the problem is not in these canons or lists but in our attitudes towards them (for example, I don't think it was the virtue of the Sight and Sound list in itself, but your attitude towards it, that made it worthwhile)? Or is there something else that warrants our consideration?

I'm certainly not arguing that one list is as good (or as limited) as another list or that every canon or list necessarily institutionalizes. (I also am not arguing that it's invariably good to see as many movies as possible.) The criteria used for choosing participants in polls is very important. Sight and Sound knew how to get a representative sample of international critical thought in the 50s, 60s, and 70s; more recently, I think the same magazine has shown a less certain grasp of what's going on in criticism--although they obviously pay a lot more attention to business and market issues. The AFI seemed (and seems) concerned almost exclusively with market issues, not with criticism at all--which is partly what made their list so unsatisfying to me.
I recommend again perusing this thread on IMDb for anyone interested in Rosenbaum or the making of "definitive" lists of films:http://www.imdb.com/board/bd0000010/flat/8771093.

At the end of his new book, Essential Cinema, where he introduces his list, Rosenbaum says, "Such a list thus carries an unfortunate ambiguity, one also present in some of Andrew Sarris's critical valuations in The American Cinema, namely, that in many cases it isn't clear whether an exclusion entails a critical judgment." He goes into this a bit more in the whole IMDb "interview" with jiankevin.

Since Rosenbaum has put out a notable list this year and engaged in some discussion of it, I hope maybe we can have some discussion of Rosenbaum's books on this site.

Again, issues, not personalities. We're all friends here. But I will not abandon my general aim of seeking to inspire debate.

oscar jubis
09-16-2004, 11:46 PM
I have added one more film directed by Carl Theodore Dreyer to my personal canon (see page 1). It's called The Parson's Widow and it was released in 1920. Mr. Dreyer is generally associated with serious films often labeled "transcendental", and has often been compared to Andrei Tarkovsky. You wouldn't know it from watching The Parson's Widow, the only one of the Danish master's films to incorporate comedy. It's more of a precursor to the type of films Jean Renoir would later direct. Dreyer stated that a good comedy needs to have "love, heart and warmth" and The Parson's Widow certainly meets those requirements. It's also highly original and visually splendid.

I had the opportunity to watch this and other rarely seen Dreyer films thanks to Turner Classics Movies. The cable channel is featuring his movies every Sunday in September. Check out your TV listings.

oscar jubis
06-25-2005, 05:33 PM
Documenting changes to my list of Favorites of All-Time or "Great Films I Love" that inagurated this thread, based on viewings from the past nine months. A title I had simply failed to list due to oversight is Orson Welles's Othello, still my favorite movie based on a Shakespeare play. One film is being removed from the list: the butchered-by-Hollywood The Magnificent Ambersons. I have to own up to the fact that, as it exists, this excellent film is compromised by the footage that was deleted and destroyed by the Studio. My being familiar via research with the content of that footage and the absolute brilliance of most of what's left cannot obscure the fact that the film as it exists feels incomplete and that the coarse shortening of a couple of scenes make me angry.
Excellent films I've watched in the past months that may merit inclusion in the future: Wanda (USA, 1970), 2046 (China, 2004), Lady of Musashino (Japan, 1951), Funeral Parade of Roses (Japan, 1969), and Jacques Tati's color version of Jour de Fete.
New Inclusions:
MOI, UN NOIR (1959).
My favorite of Jean Rouch's made-in-Africa movies mixing aspects of documentary and fiction films. Unexpectedly funny. Will I ever get to see it again?
LA NOIRE DE... (1965).
Ousmane Sembene's debut feature is both a very astute political film about colonialism and a moving character study. Also known as "Black Girl"
Robert Bresson's de-romanticizes rural France in this companion to Au Hasard Balthazar. Highly allegorical and beautifully photographed.
MELO (1986)
Alan Resnais' is my favorite living French director and his adaptation of a Henry Bernstein play is absolutely perfect. Compulsively addicting menage-a-trois involving neurotic musicians circa 1926 Paris.
Brilliantly conceived, magnificently edited Canadian doc about the most powerful contemporary institution. Entertaining and edifying.
I've written a lot already about this masterful visualization of Charlie Kaufman's best script, which concerns aspects of longing and memory rarely treated with such insight and nuance. Watched it at theatre thrice and it still doesn't seem like that's enough.

oscar jubis
10-22-2008, 10:02 PM
Today, I updated my list of "Favorites of All Time" (or "Great Films I Love") that can be found at the beginning of this thread. The basic criteria is that these movies give me tremendous pleasure and edification over repeated viewings. This thread includes a discussion of the importance or lack of importance of lists or canons. My own experience makes these lists essential. As a teen and young adult, I used Andrew Sarris' yearly lists from 1929 to 1968 and the Sight and Sound's Critics and Directors polls as a guide as to what a film lover cannot miss (not what one must like or love, mind you, don't let anyone tell you that!). The lists were extremely helpful to me. I share my list in that same spirit of discovery that has guided my film viewing since the 1960s.

Repertory additions include:

Alfred Hitchcock's Murder! (1930), in my opinion his first masterpiece, in which he goes beyond Griffith in demonstrating via his camera how cinema transcends theater.

Abel Gance's La Roue (The Wheel) (1923) which was finally restored and released on dvd recently. I was so stunned by this 4 and 1/2 hour film that I rewatched it almost immediately and wrote a 13-page essay about it. Gance is justly famous for Napoleon, as seen by Abel Gance but it's La Roue that made my list.

La Maternelle (http://www.filmwurld.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=20737#post20737)

After rewatching some early Godard films as part of my French Cinema course at UM, I've come to the conclusion that I love his My Life to Live more than his debut (Breathless), which is the more accessible and more influential film. Breathless is too "drunk" on and indebted to the Hollywood films that nourished the young New Wave directors after WWII. My Life to Live seems to me after the latest screening as the more mature, more revealing work. It has more to say to me right now than the more famous Breathless (which I have removed from my list after much consideration). It also has Anna Karina in the role of her life.

I've also added three films shown in the USA in 2007 (listed as 2006 since my list is based on year of world premiere):

Fiction (http://www.filmwurld.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=17050#post17050) (Cesc Gay)

Away From Her (http://www.filmwurld.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=17846#post17846) (Sarah Polley)

Offside (http://www.filmwurld.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=18489#post18489) (Jafar Panahi)

I've watched these three times and they continue to impress as much or more than upon first viewing. There are a number of films I've posted about in my repertory threads pending additional viewings to decide if they are great enough to make it into the list.

oscar jubis
06-01-2009, 07:42 PM
After much pondering and multiple viewings, I've made three additions to my canon or list of personal favorites that started this thread. Two of these three struck me as masterpieces from the first viewing: HARLAN COUNTY USA (1976): Barbara Kopple's Oscar-winning documentary about a miner's strike in East Kentucky in 1973, and my favorite film released last year: CHOP SHOP by Ramin Bahrani, the brilliant American director of Iranian descent. The other film included is Lucrecia Martel's debut THE SWAMP (2001), a film from Argentina's Nuevo Cine movement. Howard Schumann gave it an "A" in his review posted here at FilmLeaf. I resisted it as much as I could, finding little flaws in it. I would have rated it an "A-" if I was to grade it at the time of release. Time has proven me quite wrong. This is a masterpiece of the highest order; one that continues to awe and surprise after every viewing.

oscar jubis
07-01-2009, 07:31 PM
Three American directors enter the list:

Frank Borzage with SEVENTH HEAVEN (1927) and STREET ANGEL (1928), two of the most romantic and beautiful films ever made.

Otto Preminger (born in Vienna, later naturalized) with the melodrama of obsession in film-noir style LAURA (1944) and the nuanced and ambiguous legal procedural ANATOMY OF A MURDER (1959).

Maya Deren, the godmother of American experimental cinema with her glorious dream film MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON (1943).

oscar jubis
04-10-2013, 12:13 AM
I continue to add films to my list of favorite films of all time posted first in this thread. This is my personal contribution to a canon of cinema that spans from the first films shown to a paying audience (Lumiere Brothers) to the present. The list now has 300 films that provide justification of sorts for my involvement with cinema. The last film added to the list is FOREST OF BLISS, a documentary about life and ritual in Benares, India shot in 1985 by American documentarian Robert Gardner. He was the director of the Film Study Center at Harvard University for 40 years. Robert Gardner remains largely unknown outside academia and that's a shame. He may be the greatest ethnographic filmmaker alive. Jean Rouch was a definite influence on Gardner (and all ethnographic documentarians) but Gardner is an original. His DEAD BIRDS (1963), shot in New Guinea, may be the ideal introduction to Gardner's work. It provides the voice-over narration that Gardner eschews in Forest, sacrificing explanation for the sake of poetry and mystery. If anyone is familiar with or curious about Robert Gardner's films or ethnographic filmmaking, please post.

04-14-2013, 11:41 PM
Thanks for the reference, Oscar. It never fails to amaze me how much I continue to learn about film thanks to this site and to contributors like you, Chris, Tab, Johan, and others. I found this youtube video of Gardner and watched the opening of "Dead Birds" where he explains the title in the opening.


oscar jubis
04-15-2013, 11:57 PM
Glad you looked into Robert Gardner. In the video you link, he interviews Robert Flaherty's widow in the 1960s. It's also available in the Criterion DVD of Nanook of the North.

In this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzKoeFX5Nbg, he explains his decision not to provide any text or voice-over in Forest of Bliss choosing instead to free the viewer to make meaning by providing subjective interpretations based on what they see and hear, no matter how exotic and cryptic it is.

04-16-2013, 11:00 AM
I remember in film school being taught about Flaherty's role in being the "father" of documentary film. We had to look at several film styles of documentarians but I don't recall if we ever discussed Gardner's role (that was in the early 1970's and the film school at OSU had only been open for two years with a skeleton teaching staff). My advisor, Ali Elgabri, was more interested in film studies geared toward Hollywood style productions (he had been an assistant director at 20th Century Fox... in fact, all of the prof's at the time were former studio employees).

In bringing your film experience and knowledge to this site, I have - in the past decade - broadened and expanded my scope of understanding to include French film (Chris and Johan), Asian film (you, Oscar) and documentary filmmakers. What I learned in film school all of those years ago has deepened with an ever increasing appreciation of filmmakers and their styles - thanks to your generous time in sharing your knowledge with those who love and appreciate the art of film.

04-16-2013, 12:03 PM
Thanks for the posts Oscar and Cinemabon. We have a good resource here, with threads like this.

oscar jubis
04-16-2013, 07:28 PM
I took a film course in '80 or '81 that proved quite formative. During the 70s there was a great increase in the number of US universities and college offering courses in filmmaking and film studies. The field has changed quite a bit since then. The history of silent cinema, for instance, has been re-written based on analysis of a significant number of films that have been found, restored, reissued, etc. in the past 20 years or so. No mention was made of Abel Gance back then, for instance. Now it's become clear that "soviet montage" is heavily indebted to French films like Gance's La Roue (a film that had a much greater impact and influence than the better-known Napoleon. I still remember that back then they used to teach that D.W. Griffith "invented the language of cinema"... Now we have tangible antecedents to everything once ascribed to Griffith.

Chris Knipp
04-16-2013, 08:20 PM
No mention was made of Abel Gance back then, for instance. Now it's become clear that "soviet montage" is heavily indebted to French films like Gance's La Roue

That about no mention of Gance seems odd. I heard about it in the Sixties. It was certainly famous. Eisenstein wrote theory about montage, and it's probaby for that reason that the Russians are associated with it, but Eisenstein's use of it is very strong. I'm self-taught. I heard about the great silents from my father and his friend Kirk Bond who was friends with Herman G. Weinberg and attended all he screenings at the Museum of Art Film Library in its early days. I also had the benefit of the F.W. Murnau Film Society's showings on the Berkeley campus. The FWMFS was run by Tom Luddy, later to be founder of the Pacific Film Archives. Who is this guy who knows everything about films? I wondered. Now he runs the Telluride festival. One time Luddy had Godard on for a Q&A. He conducted it just like the one in BREATHLESS.

oscar jubis
05-04-2013, 05:53 PM
Sorry for the late reply. Thanks for challenging my inaccurate and exaggerated statement that "no mention of Gance was made back then" (meaning the 70s and early 80s when film history courses were being offered for the first time in many colleges and universities in the US). At that time, we were being taught about the Lumieres, Melies, Porter, Griffith, Chaplin, Soviet Montage, etc. but Abel Gance (and also the British innovators of the Brighton School and women filmmakers in general) were overlooked, often completely ignored in these courses. Nowadays, Gance, Brits like George Albert Smith, and women such as Germaine Dulac, Marie Epstein, and Alice Guy are deservedly being incorporated into the film history curriculum.

Chris Knipp
06-05-2013, 08:28 PM
Thanks in turn for this reply too.

11-21-2015, 04:07 PM
I was reading back over this blog. Oscar, you never mentioned, "Lawrence of Arabia." Big films not worthy of the list?

Chris Knipp
11-21-2015, 06:27 PM
Anyway, you started an interesting discussion of the film in your David Lean thread here (http://www.filmleaf.net/archive/index.php/t-2109.html).
Oscar is not taking an active part anymore, so I don't think he'll reply. I'm sure he didn't mean to exclude "big films."

oscar jubis
02-06-2016, 06:22 PM
Anyway, you started an interesting discussion of the film in your David Lean thread here (http://www.filmleaf.net/archive/index.php/t-2109.html).
Oscar is not taking an active part anymore, so I don't think he'll reply. I'm sure he didn't mean to exclude "big films."
Hello Chris and cinemabon. I think very highly of Lawrence of Arabia and yet I don't include it because I don't feel a personal connection to it. That's it. There are big, epic, spectacular films that really hit a nerve with me like Reds and The Last Emperor.

Chris Knipp
02-06-2016, 09:43 PM
That makes sense, Oscar. Very nice to hear from you, by the way. My greater connection with Lawrence of Arabia than to Reds and The Last Emperor is obvious -- my many years of studying Arabic and my few years of living in Arabic countries. I have a personal memory/connection with Reds too though, through a very dear friend of that time when it came out.

The concept of "long films" seems more and more extended lately as commercial features (I believe) are more often longer now, and increased focus on TV miniseries, which occasionally get a limited theatrical release (like Assayas' Carlos).

oscar jubis
02-08-2016, 07:38 PM
Thanks Chris.

An idiom more appropriate than "hit a nerve" would be "strike a chord" :-)

I have added a few titles to this list, some films produced by Val Lewton in the 40s such as Cat People and Curse of the Cat People and Preston Sturges'Sullivan's Travels (the first "dramedy"?)that have grown on me over the years and now teach consistently.

You're right about "the concept of long films being more extended", etc. Actually, my favorite recent long "film" is the 2-part TV-series version of Mildred Pierce.One recent film I may one day include in this very special list is Goodbye to Language, depending on how it repays repeat visits.

Chris Knipp
02-09-2016, 08:27 AM
And with "binge watching" TV miniseries become one long film for a lot of viewers who see a whole season or most of one at a time. I've watched more than one episode at a time of "Mad Men," "Doc Martin," "Weeds," "The Good Wife," and several others that I like. But last week I so much savored the recent five-part "London Spy" that I watched only one episode at a time, a day or so apart. I think "London Spy" is as good as a good film. In December I watched "True Detective" (over several weeks, too strong to watch more than one at a time) because I'd admired Beasts of No Nation, the first original Netflix feature release, and "True Detective" was also directed by the director, Cary Fukunaga and had the same strong visual sense.

Likewise I too watched the recent five-part TV "Mildred Pierce," starring Kate Winslet, because it's done by the "team" of director Todd Haynes and cinematographer Ed Lachman, whose work I admired so much in Carol. I loved its visuals and the craft of the period recreation, though the excitement faded toward the end. I followed up by watching the Michael Curtiz movie but haven't read the James M. Cain novel.

oscar jubis
03-06-2016, 10:15 AM
I also watched (and liked) Mad Men. I also liked Jane Campion's TV series Top of the Lake and a few other things. Teaching four cinema courses per semester means I watch more old films than recent releases although I manage to watch enough new films to have a sense of what's going on. Actually, I could put out a list of 20 or so 2015 releases that I like a lot. As far as films that fit into this thread, special films that fascinate me and compel me to re-watch, the last recent ones I include on the list are Seidl's Paradise trilogy and Godard's Goodbye to Language.I also added the film I've been showing to teach "noir", Tourneur's Out of the Pastwhich came out in 1947.It gives me such pleasure to show the Bluray in a theater. Nicholas Musuraca was in charge of the shadowy, silvery cinematography my students can't help but admire.

Chris Knipp
03-06-2016, 10:49 AM

"Mad Men" was and is a must-see. You already mentioned Goodbye to Language I saw it in the 2014 NYFf and reviewed (http://www.chrisknipp.com/writing/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2829) it then. Technically it got a 2014 US theatrical release (29 October 2014 (New York City, New York). Have not seen nor heard of Campion's "Top of the Lake." but am looking now at Emily Nussbaum's what looks like brilliant piece about it, it's "meditative beauty," in The New Yorker. (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/03/25/deep-dive) If you're interested, just click. Obviously we should watch "Luck," "House of Cards," and "Breaking Bad," among others. I skipped "Breaking Bad" because I loved the silly but super-entertaining "Weeds" and didn't want to see a down-at-the-mouth treatment of the same premise.

As for the joy of showing films to students, I used to get some films shown (regular film films in the auditorium) at Dwinelle Hall I guess it was at UC Berkeley when I was teaching Comparative Literature there. I showed Nicole Williamson's Hamlet I remember and Kubrick's Lolita. Did my best to drum up general interest in attendance of the films because they were expensive to rent and show. Fun to do that I know. Easier now but I prefer film nonetheless. Just saw They Will Have to Kill Us First and cannot get info (as I could not on the camera/lens used for Kaili Blues), but feel it might be Super16mm film like Ed Lachman used for Carol, Far from Heaven and the "Mildred Pierce" miniseries. . Such intense color. Obviously digital is a cold look. Lachman has spoken a lot about his process with Haynes, see this Variety (http://variety.com/2015/film/in-contention/carol-cinematographer-edward-lachman-todd-haynes-far-from-heaven-1201655217/)article.

oscar jubis
03-07-2016, 05:14 PM
The difference is that I re-watched Goodbye to Language since my last post and I decided to include it based on how lasting its pleasures and how it continues to elicit new associations with older films, Godard's and not Godard's.I don't know of any other recent film that is so addicting to watch; the way I play a music album when I wake up for several days.
Have you posted a 2015 list?

Mine has the titles you'd expect, that everybody likes, you know, Carol and Son of Saul, and movies by fave directors Weerasethakul, Tsai Ming Liang, Hou, Alonso. The two movies I loved that were not near the top of those annual polls are Ex Machina and The New Girlfriend. Those are the kind of smart, thoughtful, and entertaining films I like to show my "beginners", my cinema appreciation students.
Thanks for the Lachman piece. I am a fan.

Chris Knipp
03-07-2016, 10:35 PM
Glad you like Lachman.
I have made a list of possible 2015 bests. You will find it if you look. It's a long thread. I have never gotten around to narrowing it down. I may yet. Or not. Carol and Son of Saul are at the top of mine though. I am not aware that Tsai had a new film out here last year. Or Alonso. Anyway is saw Jauja in 2014 but I guess it did get a theatrical release of sorts in the US in 2015. As usual with you, I wholeheartedly agree on some of your choices. I am not an auteurist -- except for my very few pet filmmakers :-)

oscar jubis
03-23-2016, 07:18 PM
I am going to re-watch Jauja tomorrow with a friend. Let's see how it holds up.

I taught the Czech New Wave today.I have 4 films from this movement on my fave list and I just rewatched them:
THE JOKE (Jires)
As much as I admire Marketa Lazarova, I must admit I got tired about an hour into it and was not compelled to keep watching. This is a must-see film by all means but I find it occasionally plodding or ponderous and films on this list are not supposed to feel like that to me.

I'm watching Mississippi Grind soon, from the directors of my beloved Half Nelson.

03-24-2016, 01:57 AM
You could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw "Oscar Jubis has replied to your post..." in my email box. I thought you died.

And speaking of the dead, since Lori and I moved to Greensboro, I feel as if I've fallen further off the cultural map (although they have a local cinema that shows movies on CURVED screens, which is very retro and very cool to see). Glad you are alive and teaching and going to the cinema. I read Chris about once a week or so to see what's on the horizon for the coming year, as he has his pulse on what's current and what's recommended.

I post mostly on Facebook with other old timers. We talk about movies between 1930 to 1970 period - very nostalgic. The last movie I saw was "Brooklyn" (any good) as part of our - try to see as many nominees before the Oscars marathon. Lately, we did go to trash like "London has Fallen" and "Allegiant" but they aren't worth writing about and posting a review. As least the theaters are good (BIG screens, great sound systems, comfortable seating). They're all digital. No 70mm anamorphic here.

Lori asked me if I wanted to see a movie in Chicago (in two weeks). I told her, "No way!" I'd rather go to Eataly, take our granddaughter to Shedd and Legoland. The movies will have to wait. Take care.

oscar jubis
03-25-2016, 07:14 PM
You could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw "Oscar Jubis has replied to your post..." in my email box. I thought you died.

I didn't die but I was well on my way after 4 decades of smoking. I quit 10 months ago and I participate in a smoking cessation forum. I feel better. I manage an art cinema and I probably watch no more new movies than you do (lol). I did finally manage to make a list this year of titles I liked. I am very busy now because I'm teaching four courses so I'm paying attention to the (old) movies I teach, but usually catch up with new releases in May and June. I will watch Brooklyn then and I'll tell you if I liked it. It's incredibly that we've been posting in this forum for a dozen years!

Chris Knipp
03-25-2016, 10:23 PM
Oscar, I thought you competed in road races. Your name is listed for a 10K. but that was 15 years ago. No, there's a marathon in Miami in 2009, maybe one more recent. So, a long distance runner who also smoked for "4 decades"?

Cinnemabon, when did you move?

03-27-2016, 12:17 AM
We moved last year on my birthday (I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy... that one). I'm getting up there and this place has lots of stuff within one mile (though they could use some good bike paths). Then North Carolina goes Republican on us (WHAT?). I feel like we're slipping back in time (culturally). My son is attending college up the road (UNC system) and Lori is working in Chapel Hill on the UNC campus (a liberal island in a sea of red). I'm with a writer's group. We meet every other Tuesday and authors read their works. I read from my latest work, The Black Sphere, last Tuesday. We had a good turn out - a producer of local movies was there, along with a guy who's in SAG. Another worked with Robert Altman on several pictures. They're in IMDB. We've also some members who are into editing and publication. I cling to them for my sanity.

They've got a very cool (note the hipster terms) restaurant/movie theater where you touch a button and a waiter will bring you anything you want. The chairs are big leather lounge chairs with tray tables, reserved seats and get this... CURVED SCREENS! The place is a hoot. They have eight theaters like that attached to an airplane hanger that has 18 cinemas! The caramel cheesecake was excellent. It's called the Four Seasons Movie Tavern. Get drunk and watch Jason Bourne.

At 63, soon to be that other number, I'm beginning to slow a bit. Somethings always reaching out to touch me with a new ache or pain. Any devils out there? Yeah, I'd sell my soul for youth again but then about making those same mistakes... well, let's chalk it up to fait accompli. If it wasn't for the incredible mind of Chris Knipp, this site would have faded long ago. I drop by once a week or so and read his intelligent insights on what's new. I've always thought he should have written for the Hollywood Reporter, Variety, The Village Voice or the New Yorker. He's that good.

Glad you're ok. I still love cinema. I love the artform. I love you guys. Take care.

Chris Knipp
03-27-2016, 01:50 AM
I just can't understand your saying you're "getting up there" when you only mean 63 to 64! It sounds like plenty of nice things are close at hand where you are, including the posh cinemas and Chapel Hill and film people at your reading your work -- except for the right wing takeover. But that means where you are reflects the way of things to dome, doesn't it? Might as well live in the eye of the storm. I admit I live between NYC and Berkeley, which is the opposite. Please come back to contributing. You're not too old for that. You have presented great series on musical movies, on David Lean, on your own personal film school and film work history that are invaluable and that needs to go on coming. Please, I'm much older than you are. It's all in your mind.

oscar jubis
03-28-2016, 07:50 AM
Hola amigos,
Yes, I managed to finish two marathons and run competitive times in shorter races from about '88 to '04 even though I've smoked consistently since age 14 until 10 months ago. Being able to run is one thing that helped me make excuses about my smoking; now my health is seriously compromised (but I don't want to know, or talk about it). I am trying to exercise regularly but I lack discipline. I continue to happily live in Miami but I've considered moving if I'm offered a great job (which becomes increasingly unlikely with each passing year). I am still single (divorced in 2010) and plan to try online dating soon to see what happens.
The last two films I watched are Creed (good) and Mississippi Grind (very good).
We showed Aferim! at the Cosford this weekend but I didn't feel like watching it. Go figure.

oscar jubis
06-06-2016, 08:31 PM
Hello again,
It's great fun to re-watch movies that have impressed me tremendously in the past and put them to the test all over again. The question is whether any film will sustain its impact on me. In the latest update, I have added GROUNDHOG DAY a movie that seems to me like a result of magic or divine intervention because there is nothing in the pedigree of the writer or director that would make anyone expect something so monumentally profound. This movie has inspired a great deal of academic philosophizing as found in many journal essays in the fields of philosophy, psychology, religion, literature, cultural studies, etc. I think it's the rare comedy that measures up to the Golden Age great comedies directed by legends like Sturges and Lubitsch. On a negative note, I had great difficulty watching the cinematographically brilliant RAGING BULL but find its scope and worldview too narrow for my taste. Scorsese's drug-fueled depression and his rote professionalism are palpable. I also added Billy Wilder's last masterpiece AVANTI!(1972)with Jack Lemmon and Juliet Mills.
Films I watched recently that I liked a lot include Xavier Nolan's MUMMY which uses different aspect ratios in meaningful ways and may appear too long at first, relative to its aims, and proves to deserve the longish running time.
My favorite films I've seen this year are HEART OF A DOG and SUNSET SONG. The best foreign language movie I watched is the big Cannes winner from last year: DHEEPAN.

06-08-2016, 07:13 PM
In studying time travel for one of my novels, I looked into the Mobius Strip, which represents a mathematical paradox. The question I've heard arise with "Groundhog Day" is that the story literally goes on for years in Murray's life and that we see only the highlights of that endless trip; living the same day over and over - a Dante's Inferno of sorts, a descent into hell. Ramis made several excellent comedies with Bill. However, the one that ironically plays best in my mind - and bears up with repeated viewings - is Groundhog Day. Perhaps it's the number of situations that build each time they're repeated or Murray's mundane throwaway delivery, especially in the diner when he tells Andie about every person there with a little too much personal detail. Ramis sense of humor is both dark and brooding in how Murray - terrified of this repeated existence - tries to end the loop with a series of suicides, each one topping the next. Perhaps that is the dark side of humanity as well; that we laugh each time he tried to end his life in ever more imaginative ways. That he should redeem his life by earning "the love of a good woman" is a little too contrite for its resolution. If that is salvation, think how lucky we married men are... I'll let you finish that sentence... sentence. Is that a pun?

oscar jubis
06-28-2016, 06:34 PM
The point of Groundhog Day is, as I see it of course, that a jaded, cynical meteorologist learns to be a better person when he is forced by mysterious forces (the gods of cinema!) to relive one day. We see scenes from many repetitions of this day in the movie but certainly less than a year worth of days. The experience is ultimately the opposite of a descent into anything but more like an exaltation (and thus a defense in the face of wearied skepticism) of humanity's capacity to change for the better.

Chris Knipp
06-28-2016, 11:26 PM
Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groundhog_Day_(film)#Time_loop_duration_speculatio ns):
Time loop duration speculations[edit]
Estimates regarding how long Phil remains trapped in the loop, in real time, vary widely. During filming, Ramis, who was a Buddhist, observed that according to Buddhist doctrine, it takes 10,000 years for a soul to evolve to its next level. Therefore, he said, in a spiritual sense, the entire arc of Groundhog Day spans 10,000 years.[4] In the DVD commentary, Ramis estimated a real-time duration of 10 years. Later, after several on-line sites arrived at a total of eight years, eight months, and 16 days, Ramis told a reporter, "I think the 10-year estimate is too short. It takes at least 10 years to get good at anything, and allotting for the down time and misguided years he spent, it had to be more like 30 or 40 years."[5] In 2014, the website WhatCulture tallied various time duration assumptions and estimated that Phil spent a total of 12,395 days—just under 34 years—reliving Groundhog Day.[6]

oscar jubis
06-29-2016, 07:04 AM
I consider what is actually shown, about 38 days approximately, not speculation. I think it's a bit odd to include in the calculation, as some do, estimates of how the many years it would have taken anyone to learn to become an expert in ice sculpture.

06-30-2016, 12:30 PM
Sculpture, yes... I'm thinking of mastering the piano to the point you can perform improvisation. Remember he also commands the ability to diagnose disease processes. We're not talking days for that to happen. Plus, think of all the disillusionment he experienced before he decided to attempt at making a positive experience. The final day hints at years of study, years of practice, years of making art before he could instantly create a perfect face out of ice in a matter of minutes. Redeemed, he passes to the next level on his way to Nirvana.

oscar jubis
04-23-2017, 11:42 AM
2010 THE ARBOR (Clio Barnard)
After repeat viewings,The Arbor has now achieved canonical status. It is described on IMdb in this order: "documentary, biography, drama". Ms. Barnard received an award for "best documentary filmmaker" at Tribeca in 2010 but most scenes in the film use actors and other scenes are excerpted from adaptations of fictional, albeit partly autobiographical, material written by Andrea Dunbar (1961-1990). The most arresting scenes include actors lip-synching to the actual voices of Dunbar's daughters and other relatives. The effect is uncanny and revelatory. This eminently self-conscious film provides fresh perspectives on the so-called kitchen-sink realism and provides insight into the complex relationship between representation and documentation. Ms. Barnard's second film, The Selfish Giant is entirely fictional.

Chris Knipp
04-23-2017, 06:34 PM
Hi Oscar, welcome back to your blog. Filmleaf's first coverage of the excellent and formally inventive The Arbor was a review (http://www.filmleaf.net/showthread.php?3054-San-Francisco-International-Film-Festival-2011&p=26028#post26028) I wrote as part of the 2011 SFIFF. I saw The Selfish Giant (http://www.filmleaf.net/showthread.php?3651-THE-SELFISH-GIANT-(Clio-Bernard-2013)) at IFC Center and reviewed it from NYC; I loved it. Since it's extremely rooted in Bradford in the Midlands and in dialect with non actors it's a bit misleading to say it's "entirely fictional." I just called it "more striaghtforward." I wonder what you mean by saying "After repeat viewings,The Arbor has now achieved canonical status." Do you mean with you? But "canonical" is a collectively acquired status, not achieved by one person's repeated viewings. However I do agree it is unique and makes a strong impression, maybe worthy of adding to the "canon" of innovative documentary-fiction hybrids. I was more moved by The Selfish Giant however, if memory serves. Anyway, I'm glad we've moved on from Groundhog Day.

oscar jubis
04-24-2017, 08:51 PM
Hi Chris, Thanks for the links to your reviews.
There's an excellent essay about canons here http://toddmcompton.com/infinitecanonsprint.htm#_ftn32
"A canon is a list of works considered best and exemplary, propounded by an individual or group, often for a communal purpose.[31] This will allow us to include lists of individuals, such as Aristophanes of Byzantium or Harold Bloom (though such canons will be called the Aristophanes canon or the Bloom canon). The term “personal canon” has started to come into general use".
The introductory post describes my criteria and purposes, if I remember correctly. But anyway, the process involves repeat viewings over a few years before I add a film. Feeling compelled to re-watch a film and being re-warded by my decision is a major criterion.
I'm going to try to post more frequently here. My comments are usually about films you have long reviewed; so I am glad that you locate the pieces and provide links. You know Chris, a lot of recent films on the list are serious or even grim (Seidl's trilogy for instance). Most are innovative and ground-breaking or sui generis, as you'd say. But I am debating the inclusion of Brooklyn which is none of those things.It's just perfect as is. Favorite romance since "Eternal Sunshine".

oscar jubis
04-25-2017, 09:53 PM
I will also add Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest to the list. I have been moved by my late realization of how the film adopts modernist leanings (it's 1959 after all) by providing self-conscious commentary on the Grant persona and a grand summation of Hitchcock's themes and preoccupations theretofore. Moreover, my appreciation for the film has been expanded by a reading of Stanley Cavell's essay on the film. Cavell brings forth the myriad elements in North by Northwest derived from Shakespeare ("Hamlet") and from Saxo Grammaticus, as well as the connection with the genre Cavell coined as "comedy of remarriage". This is the type of film I tended to underrate in my young, hip days. NxNW doesn't have the delicious, delirious gloom of Vertigo but it's nearly as profound, in its own way.
Best films of 1959: Alphabetical Order.
THE 400 BLOWS (Truffaut)
MOI, UN NOIR (Rouch)
Add RIO BRAVO and NAZARIN and you have 10 masterpieces from arguably my favorite year in cinema.

04-25-2017, 10:50 PM
Great stuff Oscar. Glad your back posting again!

You got me thinking about what my favorite year in cinema is. 1959 is pretty damn good, and your picks are stellar.
I especially love Anatomy of a Murder, Rio Bravo and The 400 Blows. But I agree- all of them are masterpieces. I've never seen Lang's Indian epic. Will have to catch up with that one.

oscar jubis
04-26-2017, 08:07 PM
Thanks! Is there a movie with more references to booze and getting drunk than Rio Bravo? Maybe Notorious? I hope to post more often here. I just watched Johnnie To's DRUG WAR. This fits into the "action" or "thriller" genre. I am not a good historian of this genre, but I keep my finger on it. To is great, as great as John Woo used to be (I have to check what he's done recently). I need to catch up on classic stuff like the films directed by King Hu in the 60s. Is Paul Greengrass the West's greatest action director? I think so. Is United 93 an action film? The Bourne trilogy helmed by Greengrass certainly meets (and sometimes exceeds) all the conventions of the genre. I also liked one special effects, bloated, loud, profit cow: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. It was more fun and engaging than I expected, based on its predecessor.

Chris Knipp
04-26-2017, 11:48 PM
My review of Johnnie To's Drug War is here (http://www.filmleaf.net/showthread.php?3572-DRUG-WAR-(Johnnie-To-2012)). I wrote about two King Hu restorations (http://www.chrisknipp.com/writing/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3357&view=previous). Maybe you'vve seen those since you've said you read all my reviews here. And thank you for that. I reviewed Paul Greengrass' Bourn Ultimatum and Bourne Surpemacy and I love them, but his Green Zone (http://www.cinescene.com/knipp/greenzone.htm) was not quite so good. I'm sure there are other good action directors.* I think I am not quite as into making lists and picking bests and winners as you are, perhaps. Last year I slacked off on the annual best list, though if you write a lot of reviews it's hard to escape it. Have you ever checked out Mike D'Angelo's site (http://www.panix.com/~dangelo/) where he gives every film he sees in the year a precise numerical evaluation and so ranks them all together? I both admire that and think it's nuts. He himself surely knows it's ridiculously nerdy and ADD. But it keeps his watching alert and committed.

I liked Rise of better than Dawn of (http://www.cinescene.com/knipp/dawnplanetapes.html) Planet of the Apes movies. I'm already very doubtful about the new upcoming one. The best ones were the original ones and it was better to watch them stoned.

*Incidentally Kathryn Bigelow is a great action director though some of her content is questionable morally and politically.

oscar jubis
05-17-2017, 07:12 AM
So much to look forward to. Certainly the King Hu restorations among them. The one I feel most rewarding as of late would be the magnificent MOANA WITH SOUND. I met and had a long and rich conversation with Bruce Posner, the guy who spearhead this restoration. IT'S CRAZY THAT BACK IN 1981 THE FILM PLAYED ONCE IN PARIS IN THE ONLY AVAILABLE, crappy 16MM VERSION AND it kind off went underground and then IT TOOK over 30 years for the film to be properly restored. I guess that it's a 1981 release and I should list it as such, perhaps my favorite film of that year given how much pleasure and edification I derive from it.
Your statement about Bigelow is spot on. My fave film of this year so far is probably Terence Davies' A QUIET PASSION. I still have tons of movies from previous years to catch ut with, including Tangerine and Paterson.

Chris Knipp
05-17-2017, 08:00 PM
Glad we agree on Bigelow.
Looking forward now to following Cannes from a distance again.
I like Tangerine and Paterson. Typical of our frequent taste splits, I hate A Quiet Passion. I liked The Deep Blue Sea a lot though.

oscar jubis
05-28-2017, 10:18 AM
The other 2017 release I have seen that is likely to make my top 10 at the end of 2017 is, perhaps predictably given his excellent and proven dramaturgy, Asghar Farhadi's THE SALESMAN. Currently thinking intensely about Donnie Darko after a recent viewing of the (longer, more coherent) director's cut and about how Richard Kelly may end up being one of those artists who creates something awesome and never manages to produce a worthy follow-up; a kind of one-trick pony (but what a trick), or a one-hit wonder. I don't recall ever discussing that movie here although my memory is a very defective entity.

oscar jubis
06-03-2017, 01:53 PM
Two films added to the (personal) canon:
1) A TIME TO LIVE, A TIME TO DIE (1985) (1985)
Hou Hsiao Hsien's auto-biographical third film begins when he (or his protagonic stand-in) is in elementary school and ends when he graduates from high school and takes his college exams. The film depicts his coming-of-age in rural Taiwan as well as the deaths of his father, mother and grandmother during those years. Hou himself provides a melancholic, hushed voice-over at the beginning and sporadically thereafter that leaves no doubt about who the actor is impersonating. Long takes, no close-ups, no stylization other than a recurring wistful non-diegetic melody. This movie has not been released on DVD in the USA as far as I know.
2) HEART OF A DOG (2016)
Laurie Anderson's essay film is enjoyable as a music album and enjoyable as pure cinema but the film marries the image and sound tracks to provide an exaltation of the senses and a provocative cascade of ideas that sometimes coalesce and sometimes disperse but always find a way to stimulate thought and stir emotions.

Chris Knipp
06-03-2017, 02:46 PM
I haven't seen any Hou in a while. This film ought to be brought out by Criterion Collection. But they seem to have given more attention to Edward Yang lately. See one of their columns (https://www.criterion.com/current/posts/4628-taipei-story-modern-planning). I'm not as enchanted with Laurie Anderson's chatty style as some are but this film had interesting info on her neighborhood around W. 11th St., where I walk every morning when I'm staying in the West Village.

oscar jubis
06-04-2017, 09:39 AM
Thanks Chris. So Hou is an actor in Yang's Taipei Story, released the same year as A Time to Live. I haven't seen Taipei Story yet but I relish the thought of watching it. Did you want Hou's The Assassin?

I have a little mini film club with 2 professors from U of Miami's Philosophy Dep. and two professors who come here often but live/teach in North Carolina and Brazil (we Skype or phone to get them involved when not here). The ensuing discussions are very substantial. Last week we experienced the art of Victor Erice's El Sur. One professor who participates wrote a book on Erice so I got a lot out of the experience.She called it a "truncated film", meaning a film that was not finished as intended, often because production was stopped before the intended script was realized. A lot of people don't know that Gance's Napoleon is a truncated film. Others? Mulholland Drive, Renoir's A Day in the Country, Welles'The Magnificent Ambersons. These films may be masterpieces but they differ significantly from how they were intended to be. This coming week we are screening Cemetery of Splendor.

Chris Knipp
06-04-2017, 12:01 PM
I was forgetting I saw Hou's Assassin at the NYFF two years ago and reviewed it (http://www.filmleaf.net/showthread.php?4022-New-York-Film-Festival-2015&p=33996#post33996). I didn't really like it, it's not really the Hou people originally got excited about but something overwrought, like late Wong Kar-wai. I called it "exquisitely leaden." I enjoyed the new Japanese martial arts film I just reviewed more, and it has a humanistic, cultural slant that's at the same time very accessible. Yoshinari Nishikari, Tatara Samurai (2016). (http://www.filmleaf.net/showthread.php?4329-TATARI-SAMURAI-(Yoshinari-Nishik%F4ri-2016))

I wasn't in NYC when Criterion screened the restoration of Taipei Story only for A Brighter Summer Day this time last year, and so I have not seen that one. I think it was shown also as a sidebar of the NYFF last fall. Maybe we could watch it in the new "Filmstruck" Criterion online system but we'd have to sign up to pay $10 a month.Taipei Story's release apparently was spearheaded by Martin Scorsese.

That's nice that you have a "mini film club" of profs. Do your discussions have a wider audience? Apparently El Sur was rereleased last fall in England and a Guardian writer called it (https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/sep/12/victor-erice-el-sur) "The unfinished Spanish drama that's perfect the way it is". You could watch it VOD in England expensively via the BFI.

You could call a lot of films truncated since they so often get cut in the rush to production and distribution.

Latin America was not in the Competition films list at Cannes this year but there were a number of Spanish and Portuguese language films in the two other major categories. Do you have any comments on them? Actually I don't know which ones are Latin American.

Un Certain Regard

La Novia Del Desierto (The Desert Bride) by Cecilia Atan &Valeria Pivato
Las Hijas de Abril (April's Daughters), Michel Franco
Directors Fortnight
Ciambra, Jonas Carpignano
A Fabrica de nada, Pedro Pinho
La defensa del dragón, Natalia Santa
Água mole, Laura Goncalves, Alexandra Ramires (xà)
Falpões, Baldios, Marta Mateus
Nada, Gabriel Martins

oscar jubis
06-10-2017, 05:19 PM
I am surprised that the only version of The Assassin I can find on disc is the shortened one.
For the term to be useful, the label "truncated" should be applied more selectively or strictly rather than include all films "cut in the rush to distribution".
Both "Un Certain regard" films are from Latin America.I'm not familiar with the filmmakers.
Scorsese is a prince. His new Word Cinema Project looks super interesting. I'm still catching up with the Polish Cinema set he released or made possible a couple of years ago.
Last film I watched was KiDuk's Pieta (a winner at Venice if memory serves). South Korean cinema is fun but not a single film comes close to the Taiwanese films from Hou and Yang that I love so much and continue to discover via repeat viewings. Taipei Story here I come!

Chris Knipp
06-10-2017, 07:27 PM
For the term to be useful, the label "truncated" should be applied more selectively or strictly rather than include all films "cut in the rush to distribution".

Applied strictly to mean what, exactly, Oscar?

oscar jubis
06-14-2017, 09:31 AM
A colleague who wrote a great book on Erice used the term "truncated film" to refer to a category of film, such as El Sur, that had its production or post-production interrupted or halted permanently and that resulted in a film vastly or meaningfully different that initially intended.

Chris Knipp
06-14-2017, 10:23 AM
And the colleague's name was....?

oscar jubis
06-14-2017, 05:02 PM
And the colleague's name was....?
Linda Ehrlich. You can hear her commentary on the Criterion edition of The Spirit of the Beehive.

Chris Knipp
06-15-2017, 09:57 AM
And she specializes in Asian studies and Japanese as well as Spanish, unusual. It seems I should have seen The Spirit of the Beehive but I have not. Have you written about it?

oscar jubis
06-19-2017, 08:36 PM
And she specializes in Asian studies and Japanese as well as Spanish, unusual. It seems I should have seen The Spirit of the Beehive but I have not. Have you written about it?I've commented about it, probably in these pages but long ago. I often list it as a top 10 all time. The shot that points the camera at Ana Torrent watching a film for the first time (It's Frankenstein dubbed into Castilian)is the first one that comes to mind. Such a poetic and spiritual film....

Chris Knipp
06-20-2017, 12:46 AM
I have The Spirit of the Beehive on my Netflix list (on Criterion Collection DVD).

Googling I find
Victor Erice on 'The Spirit Of The Beehives' at Pacific Film Archives ...
Video for watch the spirit of the beehive erice▶ 40:42
Aug 2, 2015 - Uploaded by dibyaduti
Noted Spanish director was at UC Berkeley's Pacific Film Archives on Aug 1 2015 to introduce his 1973 movie ... The video isn't very good - the soundtrack is faulty.

oscar jubis
06-24-2017, 10:12 PM
I liked this interview. Thanks. Check out this amusing and insightful video essay about the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WH3ovt68vIc

Chris Knipp
06-25-2017, 08:11 AM
Thank you. I'll take a look at it, and, as I said, I have the whole film on my Netflix rental list.

oscar jubis
08-02-2017, 08:38 AM
I had the distinct pleasure of re-watching Edward Yang's A Brighter Summer Day on a theatrical screen and continue to be amazed at how some of the contemporary films that seem to me to be the highest achievements of the art of film are woefully under appreciated or remain unknown to the vast majority of filmgoers. It remains a problem for cinephilia to know what to do about foreign films that are too long for theatrical distribution. How else to explain, for example, the failure of the American art-cinema circuit to properly release a film like Yang's 4-hour masterpiece. Another great film from the early 90s that very few people have seen is the long version of Stanley Kwan's ACTRESS aka CENTER STAGE, the meta-cinematic biopic of the legendary Ruan Ling-yu. This post is also motivated by my growing conviction that Lav Diaz is a major talent and that his Norte: The End of History is the millennium version of "the A Brighter Summer Day phenomena: a masterpiece few have seen mainly because its running time makes it unsuitable for theatrical distribution. I have managed an art cinema since 2009 and I tell you, my audience that fills the seats for Sage-femme or Lost in Paris is not interested in a Filipino 4-hour film, no matter how great I tell them it is. (They also lack the patience and sensibility to enjoy the 103 minutes of Horse Money, another major recent film).

Chris Knipp
08-02-2017, 10:28 AM
I think comparing Lav Diaz's boring, pretentious Norte to Yang's quiet autobiographical film is a stretch. As I said in my comment on rewatching A Briter Summer Day I still prefer Yang's hour-shorter later Yi Yi but I love both.

Chris Knipp
08-02-2017, 10:31 AM
I can sympathize for your audience, but not sight unseen. I have watched and reviewed Norte: The End to History (http://www.filmleaf.net/showthread.php?3583-New-York-Film-Festival-2013&p=30966#post30966) as you recall in Filmleaf as part of the 2013 NYFF. That's worlds away from the wonderful Edward Yang. I am a big fan of Yang, & described rewatching A Brighter Summer Day at Criterion in my Feb.-Mar. 2016 NY Movie Journal (http://www.filmleaf.net/showthread.php?4117-NEW-YORK-MOVIE-JOURNAL-(Feb-Mar-2016)&p=34491#post34491). I reviewed it at more length (http://www.chrisknipp.com/writing/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2084) in 2012.

Most blockbusters are too long. Nolan's innovative (and superb) 106-minute-long Dunkirk is an admirable exception. But it's obvious 4 hrs. 20 mins. is a tough sell even for art houses.What would you do? You just have to promote it as a video or a mini-series. Olivier Assayas' Carlos the 5-hour miniseries (which I saw in a virtually non-stop NYFF screening at the Walter Reade) got some theatrical showings (at the Quad I think, after a blizzard). Edward Yang's movies are short for what they contain. Diaz's are long before you've watched 15 minutes of them because they're deadly dull, or so it seems: I've only watched the one, but obviously I'm not eager to delve deeper.

oscar jubis
08-15-2017, 07:27 PM
Norte has the scope, coherence and depth of a 19th Century Russian novel.
I added my first Cuban movie to the list: Memorias del Subdesarrollo (1968), no surprise there. There are a couple other Cuban movies that might one day get in, but just maybe, it's a privileged place.

oscar jubis
12-19-2017, 09:39 AM
Great films newly added to canon

1960. WILD RIVER (Kazan)
This is the first Elia Kazan film on the list. It's a film I finally caught up with, so to speak. There are still several movies likely to elicit surprising responses because I haven't seen them (or don't remember having seen them). It's possible that I watched a couple of scenes from it one night while broadcast on TV. Being true to my experience of cinema after high school, I watched a lot of fragments from movies; I "sampled" from movies quite a bit. This practice has only become more "natural" with clips on youtube and the overall fragmentation of experience often cited as characteristic of what is often labeled postmodernism. I'm not an unequivocal champion of technology but I am grateful that the (UK) Bluray of Wild River allows me to experience it in ideal, pristine conditions. I like how the Cinemascope images are composed but I love how the extended shots allow us the rich pleasure of seeing the performance and presence of exceptional stars who died young: Montgomery Clift and Lee Remick, and "character actor" Jo Van Fleet in the key role of an old lady who refuses to sell her little island so the government can tame the wild Tennessee river. The film presents substantial discourse about the inevitability of government (call it "civilization" and you realize this movie is a "western" of sorts even though it's set during the New Deal) and the resistance to it.

2011. A SEPARATION (Farhadi)
This Oscar winner has proven its worth as a perfectly crafted piece of dramaturgy over a dozen viewings. This is the Middle Easter film that I use the most in my classes because it is so engaging and because it elicits debate and promotes an understanding of the different layers of Iranian society and culture. I have seen students raised on Michael Bay and CGI fall under the spell of this subtitled masterpiece, and marvel over the intricacy of plot construction and the way Farhadi uses doors, mirrors, and architectural divisions to visualize separations between individuals and groups.

oscar jubis
02-06-2018, 03:23 PM
I had forgotten to add this 1940 adaptation of the 1928 play "The Front Page" directed and produced by Howard Hawks. His Girl Friday is an example of the Hollywood practice identified by film historian David Bordwell as "the switcheroo" and consisting of changing the gender of one character in a successful play or film. Hawks is famous for his genre versatility and for giving actors license to improvise. Stanley Cavell wrote the best criticism of this famous film in his 1979 book "Pursuits of Happiness" which concerns the genre of remarriage comedy. It has many instances of precise, intricate blocking and choreography of actors' movement. His Girl Friday has been called "slapstick" because of the fast and overlapping delivery of dialogue but the term undersells its deep reservoir of wisdom and inspiration.

oscar jubis
10-21-2018, 06:57 PM
Three movies from this decade make my beloved list of Favorite Films of all time!

THE STRANGE CASE OF ANGELICA (2010): 102 year-old Manoel de Oliveira's magical version of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is also a sort of autobiography. His grandson Ricardo Trepa plays a photographer in 1950s Oporto hired to document the funeral of a beautiful young bride.

BROOKLYN (2015): This is the film that proved Saoirse Ronan is an actress for the ages. Perhaps the film most beloved by my students. The film of late with the most pathos.

MR. TURNER (2014): The last 25 years in the life of British 19th century artist J.M.W. Turner dramatized in the fresh, inspired manner of writer/director Mike Leigh (Topsy-Turvy, about Gilbert & Sullivan). The cinematography of Dick Pope and the performance by Timothy Spall received prestigious recognition, at Cannes and elsewhere.

oscar jubis
11-03-2018, 10:41 PM
A rare moment: a movie from my list of beloved, great films that has to be removed for its failure to sustain additional viewings with pleasure and edification. I was watching Fritz Lang's MABUSE, THE GAMBLER, the 1922 film that introduced the iconic master villain, and I found it difficult to sustain interest. It's an episodic crime film lasting 5 hours in its original version, and it failed to sustain my interest in the way the equally long, more rewarding LES VAMPIRES did recently. Much to admire in Lang's film but not one of my favorites based on my last viewing.

Having said that, I have a new addition to the canon, a late silent from the UK: SHOOTING STARS (1828). It's a visually inventive love triangle set in a film studio hence its ability to critique its own medium and production process. Anthony Asquith is primarily responsible. He was in his 20s still when he made this masterpiece.

These changes have been made to the original post on page 1.

11-06-2018, 02:42 PM
Sure about that date?

Chris Knipp
11-06-2018, 05:30 PM
A typo, no doubt. It's 1928.

oscar jubis
11-07-2018, 09:15 AM
Sure about that date?
No, like Chris says: it should be 1928. Thank you so much for being so observant and for making me feel good that you guys are reading these posts about movies that should be quite obscure to the vast majority of people. Matter of fact, remarkable how few people in film studies are familiar with the wonderfully cinematic silent films Anthony Asquith made before he became famous for talkies based on famous plays. And I like those too. I'm watching his UNDERGROUND (also 1928) next.

Chris Knipp
11-07-2018, 09:25 AM
Early Anthony Asquith - is there any way we can watch them?

Chris Knipp
11-07-2018, 09:26 AM
P.s. I hope somebody will read my New Italian Cinema reviews (http://www.filmleaf.net/showthread.php?4568-NEW-ITALIAN-CINEMA-in-San-Francisco-Nov-30-Dec-2-2028) in the Festival Coverage section, just completed reviews of all the films. But the series isn't till the end of this month so you have plenty of time.

oscar jubis
11-07-2018, 06:09 PM
Early Anthony Asquith - is there any way we can watch them?
Both SHOOTING STARS and UNDERGROUND have been restored by the British Film Institute recently and released on Bluray and dvd with no coding for region. It can be viewed in all players.

11-07-2018, 08:16 PM
I had no idea you worked in Egypt. The reviews are, as always, a window into a cultural phenomenon of which most of us know so little. How revealing the depth of your reviews tend to be when it comes to understanding another country's version of cinema - very different and yet some common similarities familiar in most settings. You're very fortunate to be in New York and San Francisco which has this exposure. "Foreign" cinema appears to have run a cycle of avant garde college students in the 1960's; posh art house acceptance in the 1970's; transfer to video and widespread discussion in the 80's and 90's; internet websites in the early 2000's that gave rise to a forum like this one... and now with multiple digital outlets and multiple websites, obscure theatrical releases again attract small highly-educated specified audiences, not unlike those in the 1960's.

Chris Knipp
11-07-2018, 08:51 PM
Thanks, Oscar. I hope these disk releases will move to rental availability because I don't buy disks just to watch a film except in very rare cases.
Cinemabon, Egypt, you're referring to me? Yes and I also worked more briefly in Morocco but it's been a while. More significantly I have put a lot of time into studying Arabic. But how did this come up? not on this thread? Not sure exactly how US audiences for foreign films have changed. I'm no expert on that. I'm guessing that there are also a lot more film festivals all over the US - all over the world - and that also makes new global cinema in closer reach to people. I think that's another important "platform." Yes, if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and spend significant time in NYC, you get a chance to see most of the foreign releases.

Some great non-US films releasing soon that I saw in the NYFF - watch for these, please!
BURNING (Lee Chang-dong)
ROMA (Alfonso Cuarón)
COLD WAR Paweł Pawlikowski)
SHOPLIFTERS (Hirakazu Koreeda)
and the French ones
HIGH LIFE (Claire Denis) I didn't dig it, but there's probably a lot there I missed.
NON-FICTION (Olivier Assayas)
SORRY, ANGEL (Christophe Honoré)
A FAITHFUL MAN (Louis Garrel)

Also coming in Feb. with one-week Nov. release:
NEVER LOOK AWAY (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck) The maker of THE LIVES OF OTHES made a good one this time. It's in German about an artist, whose life, like Gerhard Richter's, spans from the early Thirties till today and he becomes one of Germany's most important artists. I saw this in a screener, it's being distributed by Sony Pictures Classics. The others above I saw at the NYFf. See my reviews in the Festival Coverage Section (http://www.filmleaf.net/showthread.php?4556-New-York-Film-Festival-2018)

oscar jubis
11-13-2018, 05:59 PM
Fantastic! So many films worthy of attention. I catch most of the best but at my own pace. These titles will get priority. I have admired the work of these directors before, so they're not a hard sell. Chris, thanks. I assume that everything that's on disc is available streaming to whatever device you have (a set preferably). However, there's many things streaming that I cannot buy on disc. I own 100s of movies on BR I have to make time to watch!

I have been admiring the intricate narrative structure of MUDBOUND, with its interlocking voice-overs, six of them! 3 by white characters and 3 by black ones. The movie essentially sets up two contrasts: 1) Between 2 brothers we met when they are burying their "Pappy", and between two soldiers of different races returning from WWII. Rachel Morrison, the DP, is the first female nominated by the Academy for Cinematography. So it's a film of both literary and purely visual riches, and the ensemble cast has won all kinds of awards. I've mentioned this before in my best of 2017 discussion: this is a major film that a lot of people have not watched and it's a shame that Netflix did not advertise it and put it in theaters.

Chris Knipp
11-13-2018, 09:50 PM
They are great, I enjoyed them a lot and have just rewatched BURNING at home with a lot of pleasure. I don't know the details of their post-theatrical release, I hope people will watch for them however they can see them. By "available streaming" do you mean like on Netflix or HBO or something like that?
Unfortunately I could not finish watching MUDBOUND, it seemed too deterministic to me and bothered me too much - to watch at home. Had I gone to see it in a theater of course I'd have stayed to the end. It's harder to finish films at home, sometimes.
I see you are right, Rachel Morrison is the first female ever nominated for the Best Cinematography Oscar. That is surprising. There are a number of good ones. Agnès Godard for Claire Denis comes to mind.

oscar jubis
02-11-2019, 06:22 PM
I see you are right, Rachel Morrison is the first female ever nominated for the Best Cinematography Oscar. That is surprising. There are a number of good ones. Agnès Godard for Claire Denis comes to mind.

Agnès Godard for Claire Denis are awesome; good of you to bring them up. I posted on your 45 YEARS (2015) thread. It's been added to my list of 346 Favorite Films that opens this thread.

Chris Knipp
02-11-2019, 08:30 PM
Maybe Agnès Godard is the most known, but there are a dozen more, as you'll see if you Google "women cinematographers." I wonder what awards they have won, apparently plenty also.

02-13-2019, 02:25 PM
Shame no one will ever see who won the "Best Cinematography" award as the Academy decided this year NOT to show the award until after its given during the commercial break. I mean, WTF! Where do they rate photography? Obviously, less than the other categories. They chunked editing out the window as well. All I can do is wonder how they think a film is made without photography and editing. Let's just eliminate all of the awards and just give out the most popular - acting and best picture. No one else cares about the rest, including best director. What's their role anyway? Who needs a director?

Chris Knipp
02-13-2019, 05:27 PM
Those prizes don't seem to be highlighted at Canes either. In fact I don't think they even have prizes for cinematography and editing.

oscar jubis
02-19-2019, 07:58 AM
The Academy is degrading cinema for the sake of ratings. They know that, in this art form, a performance is to a great extent the result of how a camera captures it and which takes are included and how they are sequenced. But they don't give a crap. The people who shoot and edit the films are not "stars". They have a moment of recognition and it's being taken away. Filthy lucre!

Chris Knipp
02-19-2019, 09:12 AM
They were, maybe, but there was a backlash, and three days ago they announced they'd reversed the decision to announce those Oscars during commercial breaks. See https://movieweb.com/oscars-academy-awards-reverse-decision-announce-winners/

The Motion Picture Academy officially reversed their plans to have four Oscars given out during commercial breaks late Friday. The categories in question were for Cinematography, Editing, Make-Up & Hairstyling, and Live Action Short. The first three categories brought out the heavyweights, such as Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Guillermo Del Toro and many others, who declared that while all other categories were expendable, no one has ever made a movie without a camera or editing. The Hair and Make-Up crowd aired their grievances too. No one really stood up for the Live Action short, but that may only be because that category has come under much backlash itself, with Detainment, a short about the murder of a 2 year old boy, causing much controversy as the parents of the dead child demanded it be removed from the race. It wasn't.
- B. ALAN ORANGE— February 16th, 2019in TV NEWS. ["MovieWeb"]
I'll put this elsewhere on Filmleaf with the awards and Oscar nominee topics.

02-20-2019, 05:20 PM
Looks as if Roma is the shoe-in as ALFONSO CUARÓN takes home the DGA for directing. He's in SO many categories for this film - producing, directing, writing, photog... what didn't he do?

Chris Knipp
02-20-2019, 07:50 PM
As I said, you could put such comments on the 2018 Oscars and awards thread
HERE (http://www.filmleaf.net/showthread.php?4597-2019-ANNUAL-MOVIE-AWARDS-Golden-Globes-to-Oscars)
Then people would see it and it'll be in a thread dedicated to the topic.

02-20-2019, 08:24 PM
Thanks for the link, Chris. Switching now

Chris Knipp
02-20-2019, 10:10 PM
Great. Not giving up this thread though.

oscar jubis
07-17-2019, 06:46 PM
Two additions to my canon of great films:

THE 3 PENNY OPERA (1931/Germany)



Best film of 2019 by far is SUNSET (Hungary)

Chris Knipp
07-17-2019, 10:29 PM
I saw the stage version of Threepenny Opera a long time ago. I hope you saw my review (http://www.filmleaf.net/showthread.php?4352-THE-BIG-SICK-(Michael-Showalter-2017)) of The Big Sick. That New Yorker article (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/05/08/kumail-nanjianis-culture-clash-comedy) provides good background.

oscar jubis
07-18-2019, 09:18 PM
I'd love to attend a stage version of "3 penny".
The version I watched in college was much shorter than the more complete, good-looking version available today. Cast and crew are top notch;
the camera movement in this film stands out from contemporaneous productions and the mise-en-scene up to German Expressionism's highest standards. Your review is great and the NYer article informative.
I'm reading Benedetto's Zama and learning a lot about adaptation from Lucrecia Martel.
I'm teaching a course titled "Screenwriting for Cinema & TV" in the Fall. Excited.

Chris Knipp
07-18-2019, 10:41 PM
Thanks, Oscar. From what I read, reading Zama is quite a project (though it has been much read). You read Spanish. If I did, I might tackle it. I have a big poster of the film enshrined in my garage, where I have several others including Bamako and the Dardennes' The Son. In the big Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, it was impressive. I see the restored original Threepenny Opera is at the moment on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUgkrlL8GkE

07-20-2019, 09:51 PM
Mack the knife...

Chris Knipp
07-20-2019, 09:53 PM
Ah ha! You're there.

oscar jubis
08-04-2019, 04:26 PM
Thanks, Oscar. From what I read, reading Zama is quite a project (though it has been much read). You read Spanish. If I did, I might tackle it. I have a big poster of the film enshrined in my garage, where I have several others including Bamako and the Dardennes' The Son. In the big Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, it was impressive. I see the restored original Threepenny Opera is at the moment on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUgkrlL8GkE
Zama is an easy read; and fairly short. In English (because the Spanish language version is hard to find/expensive).
I prefer Ghibli films dubbed in English, by the way. Guess I'm not always a "purist".
I'm about to add the version of Henry James' "Washington Square" titled
THE HEIRESS (1949/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer),
from a director I appreciate now more than ever: WILLIAM WYLER. Olivia de Havilland plays the protagonist, Catherine Sloper, and won an Oscar. I like the movie better than the novel because of the ambiguity created by having simpatico Montgomery Clift play the suitor and the script also helping to make the character less hateful than the novel's. So now, it leaves you wondering at the end whether her final decision is the right one.

08-05-2019, 04:40 PM
Evidently Olivia de Havilland hated working with Ralph Richardson, but wouldn't elaborate on why. She always does one of those "knowing" smiles and stares at the interviewer. I wonder how many takes Wyler put him through (Multi-take Willie). Perhaps the strain of doing the same scene repeatedly put him on edge as it did with Lawrence Olivier. When Wyler threatened to fire him (Olivier - on Wuthering Heights), he settled down (though I doubt Sam Goldwyn would've allowed that). It's difficult for many stage actors to "tone down" their skill for cinema. Few successful stage actors have made that transition satisfactorily. Olivier's style suited him well for some films - his over the top mellow drama - Hamlet, Rebecca. Richardson performed more in cinema in his later years, probably because he had to memorize less. I can't get over how Angela Lansbury does it - in her nineties and still acting on the stage. That's stamina.

oscar jubis
08-05-2019, 08:00 PM
Thanks very much for this interesting post. There are some TV interviews of the actors accessible on the Criterion BR that I own. I'm interested to dig further into the relationships between the thespians and Wyler. The German-Jewish director was seriously under-rated by the 2 most important critics*** in my life: Andrew Sarris and Jonathan Rosenbaum (Who just recently admitted that there may be SEVERAL masterpieces in his filmography, having finally, in 2010, said THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES is a masterpiece). Sarris eventually elevated William Wyler to the PANTHEON of cinema geniuses, having once relegated the auteur to the category LESS THAN MEETS THE EYE

***(not film academics, that honor falls on the great philosopher Stanley Cavell and my mentor William Rothman, the predominant Cavell and Hitchcock scholar in the USA)

08-06-2019, 07:02 PM
When I attended film school in the 1970's, they placed a large emphasis on European directors (Fellini, Bergman, Godard, Renoir, Lean, etc), some Japanese directors (Kurosawa), and very few American directors. It wasn't until I started to attend revival movie theaters in the late 70's when I lived in Los Angeles that I began to read about and discover William Wyler. He was still alive at the time and they had several retro's of his work in local theaters. Billy Wilder spoke at one of them. You can't appreciate a film unless you see 35mm film projected on a screen with an audience. The New York film critics raved about Wilder, Preston Sturges, Scorsese, and Hitch (pointing more toward the English side of his work, right around the same time Spoto published his first work). They mentioned Welles, too. They said very little about John Ford and downplayed his work as mostly "westerns." But when I started to speak with actors about Wyler, I got an entirely different response. They spoke of a man obsessed with realism; hence the reason for numerous takes. If an actor didn't convince Willie it was real, he made them do it again. He said, "I'll know it when I feel it." No wonder actors wanted him to make their movies. His films placed more actors in AA nominations than any director in film history. The more I read about Wyler, the more I found his life and his film work fascinating. Like most directors, he had his list of "bad" or unsuccessful films due to one aspect or another. Overall, he produced an incredible body of work I've found quite wonderful to review as my film library has many Wyler films in its pantheon.

oscar jubis
08-06-2019, 07:27 PM
I think that every film school had unique tendencies depending on who was in charge and who he hired to teach. Some schools emphasized Hollywood directors more than the one you attended (I base this comment on the European slant you remember at your school). Andrew Sarris' 1968 book "The American Cinema" was a major influence on how different directors were regarded.

As far as Wyler and realism, he is associated with a technique considered realistic because it replicates characteristics of human vision: deep-focus cinematography (Shots with a large depth of field). The DP most associated with deep-focus in Hollywood was, as you know, Greg Toland. He lensed 6 films for Wyler. It's interesting to note that after Toland died, Wyler's films continue to use the same technique consistently (see "The Heiress", "Carrie", etc.), no matter who was the DP. So that, I think, it's fair to associate this realistic rendering of the space in front of the camera as being also characteristic of Wyler. It's the most important aspect of the realistic aesthetic you rightfully ascribe to Wyler.

Chris Knipp
08-06-2019, 07:28 PM
Nice to hear from you, Cinemabon.
I hope you're cruising the daytime lines too and perused some of the festival coverage.

oscar jubis
08-06-2019, 07:49 PM
Nice to hear from you, Cinemabon.
I hope you're cruising the daytime lines too and perused some of the festival coverage.
I want to state (or re-state) how important it is the coverage of film festivals, new releases, and other events related to the culture of cinema that you provide in your reportage and film criticism. I don't really read anything else about these events/contempo films. I don't feel I need to resort to other sources given your excellence and thoroughness. As you know, most of my reading revolves around the courses I teach and the history of the medium and that consumes most of my available time. I love your NYFF coverage and I look forward to new films from Serra, Desplechin, Dardennes, and other favorite filmmakers. Thanks!

oscar jubis
09-03-2019, 09:41 PM
which has been released by Criterion under the title A STORY FROM CHIKAMATSU
Period melodrama at its finest!
Dave Kehr says it's got the most experimental soundtrack of all his films.

Chris Knipp
09-04-2019, 01:51 AM
I have not seen it but I am aware that Criterion is issuing some great Japanese film classics.

09-08-2019, 12:06 PM
Ditto Oscar's comments. I "keep up" with contemporary cinema thanks in most, if not all, part to you Chris. I read your posts often and marvel at the depth of your insights. I wish more film critics were as easy to read and understand as you are. I'm not here to bolster your ego. I'm just writing what I consider to be observations. As a journalist, I've always sought clarity to reporting. However, my background doesn't have the breadth of psychological insights your reviews reveal in so many aspects. If I haven't said this before, I'm saying it now, you should have written for a major publication so that the public (at large) could benefit from your effort as we do here. Thanks, Chris, for years of film viewing dedication, intrinsic vision, and insightful journalism.

Chris Knipp
09-08-2019, 12:38 PM
Thanks a lot. It's nice to be appreciated. I don't know about "psychological insights." I do like to be clear and informative and I may, at times, succeed. Just go on reading, please, and comment whenever you can.

oscar jubis
11-08-2019, 06:57 PM
THE 2010s

It's the end of a decade; a time when different groups and publications poll people involved in film culture and production about the films they consider best or favorite of the decade as a whole or even the current 20 years of this millennium. It's a time to take stock on what matters most and which are the films that amount to the greatest current achievements in cinema. I am also interested in the biographical aspect of considering the films that made the most difference in the lives of people. In my case, it is easy to keep track of the films that had the most significance by updating and revising my list of favorite/best of all times that I published as the opening post about 15 years ago. You can see the 20 or 25 films released since 2010 that I've listed and have a clear idea what has made the biggest impact. Another interesting aspect of thinking about the decade that ends is how my viewing process and my decisions about what to watch have evolved. One change is that I watch less films than I used to, but the ones I like a lot I watch more often. I explore this compulsion to re-watch certain films; what that says about each film and what that says about me (and what maters to me).

It's important to take stock from time to time of the essential elements of the medium and what the medium does best and which are the stories that matter most to tell at this time in human civilization. I look forward to ht lists that will be coming out soon, and the thoughts that provoke the choices made by different individuals as to the best of the decade in audiovisual art. One thing about this century that poses problems is that in the past 20 years or so, some of the best cinema may be produced for televisual broadcast or for streaming exhibitions rather than theatrical exhibition. (How many watched MUDBOUND in a cinema , for example? How many have failed to watch it because the never heard about it?)

2010. GREENBERG (Baumbach/USA)
------MYSTERIES OF LISBON (Ruiz/Portugal)
------NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT (Guzman/Chile)
------THE STRANGE CASE OF ANGELICA (Oliveira/Portugal)
2011. A SEPARATION (Farhadi/Iran)
------THE ARBOR (Clio Barnard/UK)
------THE TREE OF LIFE (Malick/USA)
------THE TURIN HORSE (Tarr/Hungary)
2012-HERE AND THERE (Mendez Esparza/Mexico)
2014-GOODBYE TO LANGUAGE (Godard/France-Switzerland)
-----MR. TURNER (Leigh/UK)
2015-BROOKLYN (John Crowley/Ireland)
-----45 YEARS (Haigh/UK)
-----HEART OF A DOG (Anderson/USA)
-----SON OF SAUL (Nemes/Poland)
2016-THE DEATH OF LOUIS XIV (Serra/Spain)
-----PATERSON (Jarmusch/USA)
2017- THE BIG SICK (Showalter/USA)
-----MUDBOUND (Rees/USA)
----- ZAMA (Martel/Argentina)

Chris Knipp
01-05-2020, 10:16 PM
Armond White's new list of the best ten films of the 2010's.
Armond White is always interesting and provocative, sometimes just off the wall. His black, gay, Christian, conservative POV accounts for his being featured on the National REview in recent years. I'm pleased to see NEVER LOOK AWAY, a film I love, featured here; as an artist, this rare, serious and intelligent treatment of an artist means a lot to me. Note, Oscar, he also likes TREE OF LIFE, a worth choice you also made. This list is found HERE. (https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/12/movie-reviews-10-best-films-last-decade/?utm_source=recirc-desktop&utm_medium=blog-post&utm_campaign=river&utm_content=more-in&utm_term=first)

10. Her (2013). A funny and melancholy parable about social anomie in an age of technological miracles, writer-director Spike Jonze’s film won a well-deserved Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and features unforgettable performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson as a boy and girl carrying on a very 21st-century love affair. Has Johansson ever been more beautiful?

9. Patriots Day (2016). The ongoing global conflict with Islamist terror, frequently derided as some sort of race-based folly, comes home to Boston in director Peter Berg’s story of two dopey but malevolent white guys who in 2013 decided to blow up some random Americans with a pressure cooker loaded with nails. The banality of evil, the resourcefulness of law-enforcement professionals, and the resilience of Americans are in the background; in the foreground is a fiercely exciting manhunt.

8. Gravity (2013). A journalist, in all earnestness, once asked director Alfonso Cuarón what it was like to shoot this movie on location in outer space. (Cuarón replied, deadpan, that it was difficult being away from his family for so long.) Anyone who has seen this gobsmacking adventure on the big screen can relate: from the opening seconds, you are right there in orbit with Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) as she tries to fight her way through chaos and get back home. A technological marvel needs a heart at its core, though, and Cuarón and Bullock deliver in a clever and resonant way.

7. They Shall Not Grow Old (2019). Those who loudly proclaim, “I am bored by blockbusters” such as the ones directed by Peter Jackson should take into account that the skills (and profits) accumulated by Jackson and his team yielded this magnificent feat of cinematic restoration — digital expertise used as a kind of excavation tool to unearth buried secrets. Gathering bits and pieces of low-quality film and sound, Jackson used his Gandalf magic to make an impossibly evocative document of life among the Tommies in the foul trenches of the Great War.

6. American Sniper (2014). We’re just a few minutes into Clint Eastwood’s deeply patriotic film when Jason Hall’s screenplay explains an indelible metaphor about humanity’s unfortunate capacity for violence and how we respond to it: we divide ourselves into sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. The movie starts out wonderfully, gets even better, and concludes in a dizzying display of gratitude for the sheepdogs, such as the late Chris Kyle, portrayed with great compassion and humility by Bradley Cooper.

5. 127 Hours (2010). People who will chuckle and toss Junior Mints in their mouths while watching slasher movies could not be persuaded to watch director Danny Boyle’s story of a hiker named Aron Ralston. Sensitively portrayed by James Franco, Ralston went out for some exercise, jumped into a canyon and got his right hand stuck under an 800-pound rock. This extraordinarily uplifting film should make you rejoice, not squirm: Ralston is a man who walked out of his own grave.

4. First Man (2018). What really motivated Neil Armstrong to go off on such a dangerous, even foolhardy, adventure? Director Damien Chazelle has a theory, but he slyly withholds it until the very end. Instead, he constructs a kind of rebuttal to Philip Kaufman’s The Right Stuff that frames the mission to the moon in starkly different terms than what we’ve seen before, turning its gaze to a taciturn, interior-directed figure and the triumph of the nerds he represented.

3. The Tree of Life (2011). Director Terrence Malick long ago slipped the bonds of ordinary filmmaking and created his own genre of reflective, dreamlike, haunting films that are less interested in storytelling than in carving out some space in a character’s consciousness. Rooted in Malick’s own Texas boyhood, his Christian faith, and his difficult relationship with his harsh father, The Tree of Life transcends the medium of cinema and plays chords in the soul.

2. Arrival (2016). The tissue connecting the three outer-space movies on this list will be apparent to anyone who has seen them, and they’d make a superb triple feature. Arrival is an ingeniously plotted double mystery within a sci-fi form. Via inquiries into language and time, the director Denis Villeneuve finds an amazingly original and elegant way to braid the vast unnameable with the specific and individual, leading up to a devastating and perfect final act that explains the whole movie.

1. Never Look Away (2019). Some of the most talented of filmmakers — the Coen brothers, Yorgos Lanthimos, Paul Thomas Anderson — tend to conclude their films with a cosmic shrug. Lots of top directors prove unwilling or unable to provide what we go to the movies for — true feeling. But Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s fictionalization of the life of painter Gerhard Richter sprinkles emotional high points all the way through this lush, moving, frequently tragic movie. It’s not only the best German film I’ve ever seen, it makes previous films about Germany’s horrible 20th century look petty and reductive. And it makes the case for art and artists as well as any film ever made on the topic.

01-06-2020, 09:36 AM
I wonder why "They shall not grow old" wasn't nominated for an Oscar? I believe its one of the greatest documentary films of all time.

Chris Knipp
01-06-2020, 04:37 PM
It looks like a very interesting film and a great one to see in connection with Sam Mendes' 1917, which I just saw and reviewed ( (http://www.filmleaf.net/showthread.php?4734-1917-(Sam-Mendes-2019)&p=38021#post38021)I've revised my ten best list to include it). Some thought the digital colorization was poorly or improperly done according to this discussion (http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20191218-film-review-1917) (BBC), so that might be a reason. I have not seen it and wish I had - on the big screen.

oscar jubis
01-10-2020, 01:50 AM
Thanks for the post Chris. I like reading White's criticism and I'm glad he elevates TREE OF LIFE as well as Jonze's HER which doesn't quite make my list but I admire. It elicits interesting thoughts and discussion about modern existential issues. I'm going to add Pedro Costa's HORSE MONEY to the list instead. This Portuguese director is more than the sum of his signature techniques (chiaroscuro, fixed camera, declamatory passages, partial camera perspectives,"wooden" performative style,) Amongst other things, Costa's filmography is also a chronicle of a richly detailed immigrant community of Cape Verdeans in Lisbon. Costa's films are brilliant in a very original way and HORSE MONEY is his most accessible.

I also have to edit my initial post to add a couple of movies that I have watched many times over the years and ponder their relative merits. These are two movies that have finally won me over completely. I think now most definitely that MARNIE is second only to VERTIGO amongst Hitchcock films and I am so happy that there is a film of his that unlike PSYCHO, VERTIGO and others has an ending that is optimistic about the possibility of mending a dark, broken heart and having love win out. It's the opposite of the so tragic Vertigo.

One more film to add will be a surprise, I'm sure. I think Albert Brooks' MODERN ROMANCE is absolutely great and a better examination of romantic neurosis than any film by Woody Allen.

Chris Knipp
01-10-2020, 09:47 AM
Thanks for the favorable comment on Armand White. I may post his latest annual "Better Than" list, which seems more sane and mainstream arguably, this year.
I am aware of Pedro Costa from Lincoln Center events, primarily the NYFF, and of the details you note. From Ne change rien and Colossal Youth. There has been talk in year's end listings etc of Vitalina Varela but I have not seen it. Ne change rien (so visually vivid and memorable) made me aware of Jeanne Balibar's singing which in turn prepared me for her impersonation of the French singer Barbara in Matthieu Amalric's film, (http://www.filmleaf.net/showthread.php?4405-Paris-movie-journal-oct-nov-2017&p=36297#post36297) which was beautiful and atmospheric to see in Paris even though few Americans would see the point of it. I will look into Albert Brooks's Modern Romance but hope your'e not joining the American band wagon chorus trashing Woody Allen. I've reviewed most of his oeuvre in recent years and think he's well worth the trouble. To me it is a scandal that English speaking countries (US, UK) are blackballing Woody's new film A Rainy Day in New York, so you have to go to Paris to see it. Since French critics love it and say it's his best and most upbeat in years, the Metascore of 48% just isn't believable. The AlloCine press rating is 4.0, equivalent to 80%.

oscar jubis
03-20-2020, 05:59 PM
The most recent release that I have added to my canonical list of love objects is...the 4 hour, 2-part American film: A BREAD FACTORY (USA/2018)

Here's a quote from Richard Brody about it:
“A Bread Factory” is, above all, a comprehensive vision: with a ferociously dedicated, deeply empathetic, finely conceived sense of purpose, Wang offers a steadfast utopia of imagination, devotion, integrity, memory, and love in the face of hatred, corruption, despair, and loss. He dramatizes the value of art as the enduring embodiment and living memory of its creators’ humane relationships; he distills community and culture into a mighty cinematic force.

I will also add another film from the 2010s! Repeat viewings and discussions with my FIU students lead me to conclude that
Ciro Guerra's EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT (Colombia/2015)
is a unique achievement in the art of film that must be watched by anyone who loves the medium.It's about encounters between the last member of an extinct Amazonian tribe and two Westerns explorers, 40 years apart.

Justin Chang in Variety:
"The ravages of colonialism cast a dark pall over the stunning South American landscape in “Embrace of the Serpent,” the latest visual astonishment from the gifted Colombian writer-director Ciro Guerra. Charting two parallel journeys deep into the Amazon, each one undertaken by a European explorer and a local shaman, this bifurcated narrative delivers a fairly comprehensive critique of the destruction of indigenous cultures at the hands of white invaders, and if Guerra somewhat exhausts his insights before the end of its two-hour-plus running time, there’s no denying the film’s chastening moral conviction or the transfixing power of its black-and-white imagery. At once blistering and poetic, not just an ethnographic study but also a striking act of cinematic witness, “Serpent” should continue to garner critical and audience acclaim on the festival trail following its top Directors’ Fortnight prize at Cannes."