01 mars 2007

Top 20 Films

Inspired by a recent two-week-old post at Long Pauses, I've posted the current Top 20 films from my not-quite-finished Top 100 list (I'll never truly finish, of course, but I'd settle for having a Top 100 that I can commit to on the day it's posted). The top 18 are pretty well set; spots 19 and 20 could be these two, or any of about 15 other films. I've felt free to break the "one film per director" rule - and the only one who did was Lubitsch (barely). Note also that most of these I haven't seen in some time. The major exception is Sátántangó, which I saw for the first time only last weekend; I discovered Army of Shadows and Rules of the Game in 2006. Regardless, this should give you a good idea of my cinematic approach (as a critic and otherwise).

My Top 20 Films:

1. Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Jacques Demy, 1964)
2. La Jetée (Chris Marker, 1962)
3. Army of Shadows (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969)
4. To Be or Not To Be (Ernst Lubitsch, 1942)
5. Talk to Her (Pedro Almodóvar, 2002)
6. Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966)
7. Elephant (Gus van Sant, 2003)
8. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
9. Veronika Voss (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1982)
10. Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962)
11. Play Time (Jacques Tati, 1967)
12. Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950)
13. An Actor's Revenge (Kon Ichikawa, 1963)
14. Rules of the Game (Jean Renoir, 1939)
15. Sátántangó (Béla Tarr, 1994)
16. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928)
17. Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1966)
18. Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (Werner Herzog, 1979)
19. Design For Living (Ernst Lubitsch, 1942)
20. Pandora's Box (Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1929)

You'll notice that most of these are definitively big-screen experiences - I won't even watch Lawrence of Arabia on DVD because of Lean's use of the full canvas of the big screen, and most of these shouldn't be watched on the small screen. Also notice that the color films tend to make very specific use of color interactions and harmonies (a former area of study... hey, where's The Red Shoes?) In addition to color, you'll see some of my other obsessions: (romantic) loss, revolution, circular time, and perhaps most significantly, a particular approach to storytelling through the camera - not that I can articulate exactly what that might be.

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