Wednesday, September 24, 2008

12 films I want to see...

There is a "meme" circulating in the film blogosphere about 12 films that you haven't seen and want to. (See here for Glenn Kenny's list). These are supposed to be obscure and difficult to see but in my case the selections are (comparatively) well-known, as befits a budding cinephile I guess. Actually quite a few of these don't seem to be available on DVD. Criterion is soon releasing the dvd of the Ophuls along with some of his other films which I hope I will finally get to soon. There are of course a lot more films I haven't seen and want to but these are the ones which came to my mind when I thought of films about which I am very curious and also which I feel are "gaps." Soviet cinema is of course a major gap, and quite unforgivable one. I have so far seen only Battleship Potemkin.

1. The Earrings of Madame De... (Max Ophuls)
2. The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles)
3. Ivan the Terrible I&II (Sergei Eisenstein)
4. Mother (Vsevolod Pudovkin)
5. Before the Revolution (Bernardo Bertolucci)
6. Once Upon a Time in America (Sergio Leone)
7. Vampyr (Carl Theodor Dreyer)
8. Odd Man Out (Carol Reed)
9. Life of Oharu (Kenji Mizoguchi)
10. Senso (Luchino Visconti)
11. The Dead (John Huston)
12. Poison (Todd Haynes)

10 comments:

puccinio said...

My list would be...

''Out 1'' by Jacques Rivette.
''L'Amour fou'' by Jacques Rivette.
''Wagon Master'' by John Ford.
''Man's Castle'' by Frank Borzage.
''The Stranger's Return'' by King Vidor.

''Ivan'' by Aleksandr Dovzhenko.
''Viva L'Italia'' by Rossellini.
''Lo Straniero'' by Visconti.
''The Cobweb'' and ''Bells are Ringing'' by Vincente Minnelli.
All of Ophuls' pre-war work in the 30's.
Renoir's ''La Nuit du Carrefour''
Then I'd like to see some key 30's directors like Jean Gremillon and Sacha Guitry.
Much of French silent cinema is a blank spot for me. Maybe ''La Roue'' will fill it.

Then there are Japanese directors that I'd like to get into like Hiroshi Shimizu, Yoshishige Yoshida, Tomu Uchida, Yasuzo Masumura.

I recommend all the films on your list highly. The Kino company has released many Soviet classics so you can check them out. For ''Ivan'' however, Criterion Collection's box-set is the only place.

Alok said...

Oh some of these films are on the list because of your comments :)

Dovzhenko and Vertov are also on my list. I will try to see some this weekend.

I think Criterion is releasing a major boxset of Rossellini's films which is a very welcome news. It is scandalous actually - the only Rossellini film that is available in a good edition (in R1) is The Flowers of St Francis. I was very lucky to see some of his films on big screen last year.

Two other major films that I left out in the list are Vigo's L'Atlante and Marcel Carne's Children of Paradise. And also Cocteau's Blood of a Poet. Lot of them actually...

Cheshire Cat said...

I've seen three of those. 7 > 1 > 2, in my opinion. The Magnificent Ambersons could have been a great movie, but it was botched by the studio, if I recall right. I prefer "Chimes at Midnight", even if (and partly because) more of Welles' megalomaniacal tendencies are on show there. "Vampyr" is pure poetry. The Ophuls is justly renowned, but a little too self-consciously virtuosic for my taste.

The Rivette I would recommend above all others is "Duelle", with "Noroit" a close second. "Out 1" is good in patches, but maybe not worth spending 10 hours on - the political parts haven't worn well.

Alok said...

Oh I like self-conscious virtuosity. In fact that's what I liked in Letter from an Unknown Woman too. He is quite self-aware of form and style and still dedicated to the emotional content of the story some of whose melodramatic contents are offset and in fact made more powerful by the stylishness.

Cheshire Cat said...

Then you're probably a big Kubrick fan as well. "Barry Lyndon" especially fits that description, and that's a movie I love. The case is, I think, that I'm not analyzing my reactions accurately enough. As is customarily the case. Ophuls' skill, there is no doubting; maybe it's just that there is a certain fin de siecle element to his sensibility which doesn't appeal to me.

BTW, it's great that you're blogging so much these days...

Kubla Khan said...

out of your list, i have watched nos 6, 7 and 9.

have you seen Anatomy of hell?

Alok said...

I like Kubrick but more ambivalently. The problem is the second part...he is virtuosic but lacks that "human" element. when it is there as in Barry Lyndon it becomes a great work otherwise it is just something to be admired from a distance.

I think it is true for writers too. I prefer the quality of "Bothness" - something that David Foster Wallce called in context of David Lynch. Someone who is both Ironist and also Earnest, sensitive and cerebral, intellectual and also melodramatic. This is what moves me so much in Fassbinder's work for example. He is one of the great examples of this quality of "Bothness"... I think this is something true of art in general. The main idea is to bridge the gap between mind and heart, an antidote to alienation.

Alok said...

kubla: I have seen half hour of Anatomy of Hell. I realized I got the lesson and I wasn't going to sit through the whole thing.

I loved her earlier film Fat Girl very much. In fact I think it is a major masterpiece.

shrikanth said...

The Magnificent Ambersons can be downloaded...The BitTorrent is pretty active.

Alok said...

thanks. Will check, though it is not really a problem of access. Need some spare time to see these and others.