Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My Top Ten Movies

Now I have not given much thought to the list, may be an hour later it will be completely different. I am getting all bored and I am thinking perhaps it will be some diversion before I get back to work.

1. L'Avventura: Now I am not sure why this should be at the top but I just love everything about this film. I like the opening title score. I like Monica Vitti, her dress, her hairstyle, the way she walks and everything else and of course her acting too, I mean the way she is bored and depressed all the time. I could have replaced it with L'Eclisse which has more of the same things that I like in this film but this one is more famous and more mainstream. And this is exactly the kind of "date movie" I like going to.

2. Wild Strawberries: I choose this over Persona and The Seventh Seal because I find it more personal and affecting than either of the other two. It is also more humane than his later works which almost verge on fetishization of extreme emotional brutality.

3. The Night of the Hunter: Is this the greatest American film ever made? Perhaps yes. It is mind boggling to even imagine what kind of career Charles Laughton could have had if he had made more films.

4. Mulholland Dr.: Second best American movie ever made. There is nothing more hallucinatory than a drive down the Mulholland Dr. in the company of David Lynch. This also contains my favourite erotic scene ever.

5. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie: I often feel as if I am living inside this Luis Bunuel film. All dressed up and walking down the road to nowhere...

6. The Apartment: This is another contender for the best american film ever made. It is generally classified under comedy but I find it very, very sad and depressing. Also I think this is the least stylized film on this list.

7. Solaris: Why is there no romantic movie in the list? Well, here is the one. Though it is more about love and loss and less about romance but anyway.

8. Taxi Driver: Okay, now I am really confused about the best american movie question. One question that I can answer without confusion though is, which is the greatest screen performance ever? You will find it in this film.

9. The Third Man: Contains the weirdest musical score ever composed for a film. One of my touristic ambitions is to go to Vienna once and take The Third Man tour.

10. Breaking the Waves: Okay now this film really infuriates me. It is manipulative, melodramatic and extremely silly but I still feel compelled to put it at number ten.


Reel Fanatic said...

Great list ... I would have put Mulholland Drive above Night of the Hunter, but only slightly ... Personally, I just can't stand Breaking the Waves .. it is indeed infuriating, like you said, but just too much so for me

km said...

I *can't* wait for some random reader to show up and start calling you names for ignoring Citizen Kane, Godfather and Die Hard :))

And high-five on "my favorite erotic scene ever"! "Have you done this before?"

anurag said...

so you have finally done it. the problem is the no., after sometime you will start hating your post because you left this and that. also the rankings of the films keep changing on daily basis. its a Kafkaesque job to make top ten lists, a great failure lies ahead.

and what is your criteria of the list, or its just a fanboy list (I am saying this in a positive way, dont think i do this whenever you write anything about vitti on the blog:)).

I need to see 'night of the hunter' from your list. its 89% complete :)

btw, i liked your list, but some of your omissions shocked me, may be i am that random reader :)

Jabberwock said...

I often feel as if I am living inside this Luis Bunuel film. All dressed up and walking down the road to nowhere...

Ditto! Also, I love the very determined expressions on the faces of the six characters in those road interludes...walking down the road to nowhere with such confidence...

Interesting that there are quite a few English-language films on your list - I had you pegged as a subtitle snob :-D

Alok said...

reel: thanks! Mulholland Dr and Night of the Hunter are both fanboy entries and it is difficult to defend any order :)

Km: "No, But I want to do it with you" Ah! Heavenly.
you know, me and anurag were discussing the possibility of a bollywood remake of mulholland dr sometime back. After some hours of mutual deliberation we reached a casting decision, Rani and Priyanka playing the two lead roles in the hindi version and even then it looked so imperfect. Now that I am trying to remember, was it Lara Dutta or Rani??
anurag: shocked? oops! yeah the list is more fanboyish than the list we shared long back. I admire Godard and Bresson more than I love them. And so is with Hitchcock, Fassbinder, Kieslowski and Kubrick. Tokyo Story and La Strada are conspicuous by their absence too. I think I was in a surrealist/expressionist mood. :)

Jabberwock: hmmm. subtitle snob sounds a very cool thing to be... I am myself surprised to see so many American movies in the list.

km said...

Rani and Priyanka in the Hindi remake of Mullholland Drive? ("Marine Drive?")

Well, now I've heard everything :))

Dipanjan said...

This also contains my favourite erotic scene ever

I thought I was the only one :).
I am conflicted about Breaking the Waves, but I should probably give it another look. Great list otherwise but where is Vertigo?

Jabberwock said...

I insist on a topless love scene between Rani and Priyanka in Marine Drive. Alok, I'll help you fund it and KM can direct!

Alok said...

km: what, you don't like the idea? I know two brunettes wouldn't be as fun as the original but still...

dipanjan: I like vertigo a lot too but I think I was trying to make a slightly unpredictable list... :)

jai: hey, that was the whole idea. who would want a remake otherwise :))

km said...

Jabberwock, given the enthusiasm here, I think it will be an excellent idea. Give me some evil dwarves, two topless actresses and watch the magic unfold.

ventilatorblues said...

Nice list. I wonder why you chose to call the Third Man score "weird". Without it, Third Man would still have been an excellent gangster/noir film, but the score gives the film a wonderful, sad, melancholic edge, that seems just so fitting to the tale of Oscar Welles' tragic hero.

Picking nits again, is Solaris a movie about love? Or about the nature of consciousness? I have always thought of Solaris as an exploration of the burden of memory.

No Indian films? Tsk tsk! :)

Alok said...

By weird I meant it is very different from what we expect from mystery movies. It is difficult to associate any feeling with the score in a direct way. Normally the score acts like a guide for the viewer (feel sad here, now feel fear). It is quite abstract in that sense. It does contribute the overall mood of melancholy fatalism but that is only in the context of film. Independent of it, I woouldn't know what to make of it. I think this is one of the most distinctive scores ever written for movies.

About Solaris, yes it is definitely about consciousness and how our understanding of the world depends on our understanding of ourselves. But it tries to connect it to human emotions and memories.