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Thread: A Cinema Canon for the Ages

  1. #166
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    Did you really leave out (so many) Lawrence of Arabia AND Bridge over the River Kwai (what David Lean did you mention?) along with Bergman's Cries and Whispers... Blow Up? Satyricon or Roma? L'Ventura? Which Kurosawa? Any by Wyler? Any by Michael Curtiz? Was Hitch your only memorable "great" director? And Marnie???? OMG! Over Frenzy? I guess I'm getting too old to see the error of my ways...
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  2. #167
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    I am sorry it took me so long to respond to your post. One thing to bear in mind is that some element of subjectivity factors into the decision to include or not to include a movie despite my efforts to be open-minded and inclusive. For reasons that may be irrelevant to others, some movies have more or less of an emotional and intellectual impact on me.

    Did you really leave out (so many) Lawrence of Arabia AND Bridge over the River Kwai (what David Lean did you mention?)
    I rewatched "Lawrence of Arabia" recently and I was mesmerized by the spectacle and the editing (the famous cut from Lawrence blowing a match to a rising sun is only one of many exciting shot juxtapositions). I am adding the film to the list. I always liked it a lot.

    along with Bergman's Cries and Whispers...

    I watched it as a teenager and have seen it repeatedly. I was once intrigued by it but not anymore. It's less than meets the eye, as far as I am concerned. I find a lot of Bergman's films insufferable. The two films he directed that I love are:
    THE SEVENTH SEAL (Bergman) and
    WILD STRAWBERRIES (Bergman)

    Blow Up?
    I don't love it as much as
    L'AVVENTURA (Antonioni) and
    L'ECLISSE (Antonioni)
    but I plan to watch Blow Up again although I remember it very clearly, especially the amazing ending in that tennis court.

    Satyricon or Roma?

    Do you really like these movies? or are you including them because they are famous? I think Cabiria and 8 1/2 are vastly superior. I don't plan to rewatch any Fellini that was released after La Dolce Vita
    L'Ventura? Of course

    Which Kurosawa?
    Rashomon and Ikiru but I plan to rewatch a lot of his movies and it depends on how they strike me. High and Low probably the one most likely to enter this canon.

    Any by Wyler?

    Yes, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (Wyler) and
    1949. THE HEIRESS (Wyler)

    Any by Michael Curtiz?
    No

    Was Hitch your only memorable "great" director? 'course NOT the only one

    And Marnie???? OMG! Over Frenzy?
    Oh, yes, Marnie keeps growing in my estimation. Don't be fooled by the outdated use of painted backdrops. It's an extremely thought-provoking, compelling film. Frenzy is merely entertaining.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 11-14-2021 at 06:44 PM.

  3. #168
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    I'm glad you decided to include LAWRENCE OF ARABIA but when I saw it I was in Arabic school and I was disappointed that it had only two bits of Arabic, "Hut hut hut" (which is hardly Arabic) and "Allahhu akbar!" But that was typical of the times and for very long. Now, that is corrected for the past several decades and western or Hollywood movies about Arabs have lots of Arabic in them. I assume you are familiar with the book by Jack Shaheen, Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People (first published in 2006).

    For me personally the two most important Akira Kurosawa films are RASHOMON and IKIRU, the first because it was the first Japanese film I think significantly distributed and known in this country, and IKIRU because it is the one that has most moved me, possibly more deeply moved me than any other film I've ever seen, so I routinely give it as my all-time favorite.

  4. #169
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    There's a reason why so many actors came to appreciate William Wyler, and why so many critics have changed their minds about him. Willie had an instinct about film and about realism when it came to acting. The reason he put actors through so many takes is because he wanted them to do it until he felt they weren't acting any longer but feeling the line, feeling the character, feeling the scene. He knew it when he saw it, when he heard it and not before. He couldn't explain the process to himself or to others. It came as instinct to him. That is why I admire his work and why so many in the industry came to realize his greatness as a director. His films were nominated for more Academy Awards for acting than any director in the history of film. I know it's easy to dismiss the Academy. They've shown rather shallowness through the years when it comes to their picks. However, the overall community has a vested interest in the promotion of film as both industry and artform. Yes, artform. There are artists in their membership. For years I've tried to extoll Wyler's vision as a progressive one. He nearly fired some of theater's/film's greatest actors because he felt their "stage acting" wouldn't work to help the film's narrative. Lawrence Olivier once said "Wyler taught me how to act in film." He was sincere when he said it.

    There are many great directors in the history of film. We shouldn't dismiss them as being "too commercial" as that is an indication of snobbery.
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  5. #170
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    That's the Zen of acting.

  6. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by cinemabon View Post
    There's a reason why so many actors came to appreciate William Wyler, and why so many critics have changed their minds about him. Willie had an instinct about film and about realism when it came to acting. The reason he put actors through so many takes is because he wanted them to do it until he felt they weren't acting any longer but feeling the line, feeling the character, feeling the scene. He knew it when he saw it, when he heard it and not before. He couldn't explain the process to himself or to others. It came as instinct to him. That is why I admire his work and why so many in the industry came to realize his greatness as a director. His films were nominated for more Academy Awards for acting than any director in the history of film. I know it's easy to dismiss the Academy. They've shown rather shallowness through the years when it comes to their picks. However, the overall community has a vested interest in the promotion of film as both industry and artform. Yes, artform. There are artists in their membership. For years I've tried to extoll Wyler's vision as a progressive one
    The passage quoted below is from the most recent Wyler retrospective (at the Quad in NYC). I think that it may be of interest to you.

    "In The American Cinema, Andrew Sarris grouped William Wyler in the dreaded “Less than Meets the Eye” category, alongside Huston, Wilder, and Lean as “directors with reputations in excess of inspirations.” And what a reputation Wyler has: this consummate perfectionist worked for nearly half a century, from the silent era to the dawn of the New Hollywood, earning the most-ever Best Director Oscar nominations with 12 (and three wins). His name has become virtually synonymous with Hollywood craftsmanship and prestige; Wyler made unapologetically big movies about big themes with big performances. But a closer look reveals countless grace notes between the crescendos, and shows Wyler to be an acute chronicler of mid-century American life. He had the range of an accomplished journeyman, but whatever the genre, he proved a fluid stylist of startling invention."

  7. #172
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    What a nice comparison - Lean, Huston, Wilder - three directors whose style I admire very much; even if put into a historical context. There are contemporary directors whose style I also admire, such as Villeneuve and others. Thank you, Chris, for going to the trouble of finding that quote and sharing it with me. I appreciate that. I'm trying to read your Facebook referenced reviews as often as I can. Being so busy lately with my nursing duties gives me very little free time. I have to "cram" as much as I can into those fleeting hours while I savory all of the true morsels presented to me; like a Chris Knipp review. Your insights into film have always intrigued me. I look forward to your enlightenment as most of the films you review I will never see. However, you give me a glimpse into the realm of possibilities.

    One added note... Oscar mentioned Ikiru and then Chris said this film moved him more than any movie he'd ever seen. That's a ringing endorsement if I ever heard one. This is the gift that being part of this group gives me. When I say enlightenment, I mean it in the broadest sense. Ever since I started writing on this site, the views of other film critics have opened my eyes, opened my mind, and opened my heart. Ikiru is an incredible film of human pathos. Why didn't I learn about this film in film school? Why didn't I know about this film when I managed a retrospective theater? It took two decades to discover a gem that had been lying around, mixed in with the gravel... I only had to bend down, and pick it up.
    Last edited by cinemabon; 11-22-2021 at 11:08 PM.
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  8. #173
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    Your interest and your appreciation mean a lot to me. I appreciate that what I do, though my way of life now, is a luxury. Hopefully it doesn't take very long to read one of my reviews. They're not lengthy treatises. Hopefully if a new film sounds really good you'll be able to see it without leaving the house, much as I wish everybody could and would see them all on a big screen.

    I wish there were lots more revival showings too, so Wyler, Lean an Huston could continually still be seen on the big screen too the way they were made to be seen and look their best. I have only seen IKIRU on the big screen, by the way.

  9. #174
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    "You see... this is my life... it always will be... there's nothing else... just us... and the cameras... and those wonderful people out there in the dark... Ok, Mr. DeMille... I'm ready for my close-up..."
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  10. #175
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    Quote Originally Posted by cinemabon View Post
    Thank you, Chris, for going to the trouble of finding that quote and sharing it with me. I appreciate that.
    I'm the one who posted the quote, not Chris.

    One added note... Oscar mentioned Ikiru and then Chris said this film moved him more than any movie he'd ever seen. That's a ringing endorsement if I ever heard one.
    Given how prolific Kurosawa was, it's weird Chris and I both love Ikiru and Rashomon more than any others from his filmography. Yes, a ringing endorsement of Ikiru

    I have added some recent or fairly recent films to my all-time list:

    Ida

    A black-and-white film, released in 2013, shot in academy ratio about a girl raised in a (Catholic) convent who finds out at age 17 that she's Jewish. It fits into the transcendentalist style proclaimed by Paul Schrader in his book about the films of Dreyer, Bresson, and Ozu. It inspired Schrader to make a film that may one day be included on this list: First Reformed.

    Minari

    Excerpts from the review by Chris Knipp: "Minari is a very low-keyed, personal, authentic film whose widespread success with critics and viewers astonishes in view of how much it avoids conventional markers or payoffs. There's a defiance in it that underlines its personal-ness, and unwillingness to please or impress, that fits with the pivotal relationship of Soonja with her eight-year-old grandson, David (Alan S. Kim). This is a film that requires us to internalize the action and ponder it. We're in it for the long haul, not the payoffs. We aren't fed dramatic markers or modeled reactions, but must find them. I'd say it's the richer for this. This is, after all, a story that needs no fanfare for many in this country of immigrants. The hardships here are those of many, but not all. What fits a great number is how it is for the foreign born who have American children and see them take a foothold in this country they may have had to struggle for. As Vanity Fair's Anthony Breznican explains in a recent article typical of many now, Lee Isaac Chung'S "semi-autobiographical story" about "young Korean immigrant parents" who take their family "to rural Arkansas" to start a farm "defies categorization in many ways." It is "a tearjerker, a comedy, a coming-of-age story, and a kind of adventure, all in one." It also is an American film, made and set in America with American actors released by the winning young American distributor A24 - but, confusing categories, having over half its dialogue in Korean. People have been thrown off by this. Minari was listed as a foreign film for the Golden Globes (in which category it won) - but is currently a regular best picture contender in the Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Best Picture leader for the Oscars. Americans are leery of foreign languages. They need to accept that families who speak something other than English at home are an American staple. Perhaps even scoffers will come to tolerate and then befriend this oddball, bravely personal movie." (Knipp)

    Sorry We Missed You

    Ken Loach has won the Palme D'Or twice but I think this film that also premiered at Cannes (2019) is even better. Sorry We Missed You is about the nature of work in our fucked-up times and how it impinges on marriage and family life. It features a delivery man from Manchester married to a home-care nurse, their rebellious graffitti-artist teenage son, and bright 11 year-old daughter. It's about ordinary people doing ordinary things and having ordinary problems. If that sounds "neo-realist" in the Italian post-WWII mode, consider the use of non-actors in some major roles and real-location shooting. It builds to an emotional crescendo that elicits a compelling, empathetic catharsis. As far as I know, it was not released in America, which illustrates the current style of censorship in USA. Sorry we missed your masterpiece, Mr. Ken Loach.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 11-30-2021 at 10:45 PM.

  11. #176
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    Oops, Sorry Oscar
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  12. #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by cinemabon View Post
    Oops, Sorry Oscar
    I shoulda put a smily face next to my correction. Emojis were invented for a reason. By the way, I want to mention a few titles that may continue to impress me and find their way into the list: Steve McQueen's "Small Axe" or more specifically two of the five episodes: "Mangrove" and "Lovers Rock", Paul Schrader's "First Reformed", Charlie Kaufman's "I'm Thinking of Ending Things", Eliza Hittman's "Never Rarely Sometimes Always", and Paul Thomas Anderson's "Phantom Thread". I'm not ready to say these are masterpieces, only that each is an absolute must-see (all in the English language, by the way)

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