Thursday, December 31, 2009

50 greatest films & videos of the 2000's

frame enlargements from Robert Breer's What Goes Up

Here is my favorite 50 films made between 2000-2010.

One film per film-maker. In a very arbitrary order of preference:

  1. What Goes Up (2003) - Robert Breer
  2. Three Times (2005) - Hou Hsiao-hsien
  3. The God of Day Had Gone Down Upon Him (2000) - Stan Brakhage
  4. Un Lac (2009) - Philippe Grandrieux
  5. As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000) - Jonas Mekas
  6. Poetry and Truth (2003) - Peter Kubelka
  7. Glider (2001) - Ernie Gehr
  8. Corpus Callosum (2002) - Michael Snow
  9. Miami Vice (2006) - Michael Mann
  10. Worldly Desires (2005) - Apichatpong Weerasethakul
  11. 'R Xmas (2001) - Abel Ferrara
  12. Yi Yi (2000) - Edward Yang
  13. Chats perchés (2004) - Chris Marker
  14. Ten Videos: 3 (2006) - Kyle Canterbury
  15. Le silence de Lorna (2008) - Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne
  16. Va savoir (2001) - Jacques Rivette
  17. The Decay of Fiction (2002) - Pat O'Neill
  18. The Legend of Nile (2009) - Eytan Ipeker
  19. L'arrotino (2001) - Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub
  20. Two Lovers (2008) - James Gray
  21. Sobibór, 14 octobre 1943, 16 heures (2001) - Claude Lanzmann
  22. Kedma (2002) - Amos Gitai
  23. A Talking Picture (2003) - Manoel de Oliveira
  24. Süt (2008) - Semih Kaplanoğlu
  25. İklimler (2006) - Nuri Bilge Ceylan
  26. Le Temps Qui Reste (2005) - François Ozon
  27. Still Life (2006) - Jia Zhang Ke
  28. Zodiac (2007) - David Fincher
  29. 30 Days of Night (2007) - David Slade
  30. Grizzly Man (2005) - Werner Herzog
  31. Ohio Postcard (2009) - Ekrem Serdar
  32. The Host (2006) - Bong Joon-ho
  33. Lachrymae (2000) - Brian Frye
  34. Eureka (2000) - Shinji Aoyama
  35. Breaking News (2004) - Johnnie To
  36. Vicdan (2008) - Erden Kıral
  37. Où gît votre sourire enfoui? (2001) - Pedro Costa
  38. Songs from the Second Floor (2000) - Roy Andersson
  39. EVO (2002) - Oliver Hockenhull
  40. La fille coupée en deux (2007) - Claude Chabrol
  41. Ten (2002) - Abbas Kiarostami
  42. The New World (2005) - Terrence Malick
  43. The Edge of Love (2008) - John Maybury
  44. Engulfment (3) (2009) - Adam Rokhsar
  45. Russian Ark (2002) - Alexander Sokurov
  46. I Don't Want to Sleep Alone (2006) - Tsai Ming-liang
  47. La frontière de l'aube (2008) - Philippe Garrel
  48. Tatil Kitabı (2008) - Seyfi Teoman
  49. Buffalo Postcard (for Ekrem) (2009) - Can Eskinazi
  50. Orchard (2004) - Julie Murray

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

100 Greatest Films Beyond the Canon

I wrote here before that I participated in a poll for The 50 Greatest Films of all times. The following is my contribution for Iain Stott's new project, Beyond the Canon, together with my introductory note:




This is my list of 100 greatest films "Beyond the Canon". Since it is impossible to decide/define what is "the canon", I decided to strictly follow the rules below:
  1. The films in Iain Stott's "canon" list are not allowed (because the main purpose is to go beyond the accepted canon).
  2. The films already on my 50 greatest films list are not allowed (because it would be too repetitive otherwise).
  3. One film per filmmaker (because I'd like to leave room for less known filmmakers).
This list tells nothing about which directors I like more since it depended a lot on the two lists mentioned above. I tried to order the films according to their own value and not the overall quality of the director's work. For example, Mizoguchi is one of my five favorite directors but here his film is sixteenth. When I wasn't so sure between two films by the same filmmaker, I tried to choose the film that's less well known (i.e. "The Family Plot" over "Marnie", or "Man in a Bubble" over "The Lead Shoes", or "Mouse Wreckers" over "Duck Amuck").

Some incredible directors such as Carl Dreyer, D.W. Griffith, Joseph Mankiewicz, Leo McCarey, Dziga Vertov and Louis Feuillade are not listed, I assume because I haven't seen their non-cannonized works.

My list of 50 Greatest Films, along with its introduction, lists all the filmmakers I consider to be truly great.

A comment I'd like to make about "the canon" and its worst myth:
I firmly disagree that Orson Welles had his artistic climax with "Citizen Kane". "Citizen Kane" is a very great film, that's true, but all of the films I've seen that he made after that, starting from "The Magnificent Ambersons", are better works. I can think of nine films directed by this great genius, all of them being better than "Citizen Kane". My personal favorite is "Chimes at Midnight" but there are many I haven't seen.

I think all the movies below are better than "The Godfather" (or many other much-acclaimed and cannonized movies I don't want to list).

The order is more or less arbitrary. I compiled the list on September 2009.
    1. L'età di Cosimo de Medici (1973) - Roberto Rossellini
    2. Rubber Cement (1976) - Robert Breer
    3. Faustfilm: An Opera: Part I (1987) - Stan Brakhage
    4. Colorado Territory (1949) - Raoul Walsh
    5. Finances of the Grand Duke (1924) - F.W. Murnau
    6. Heaven and Earth Magic (1962) - Harry Smith
    7. Lancelot du Lac (1974) - Robert Bresson
    8. La sortie des usines Lumière (1895) - Louis Lumière
    9. Mr. Arkadin (1955) - Orson Welles
    10. As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000) - Jonas Mekas
    11. Le voyage du ballon rouge (2007) - Hou Hsiao-hsien
    12. I Was a Male War Bride (1949) - Howard Hawks
    13. Mogambo (1953) - John Ford
    14. Un Lac (2009) - Philippe Grandrieux
    15. Le Tempestaire (1947) - Jean Epstein
    16. Gubijinso (1935) - Kenji Mizoguchi
    17. Film About a Woman Who... (1974) - Yvonne Rainer
    18. Screen Tests (1966) - Andy Warhol
    19. States (1967) - Hollis Frampton
    20. L'amour par terre (1984) - Jacques Rivette
    21. Le fond de l'air est rouge (1977) - Chris Marker
    22. Two Weeks in Another Town (1962) - Vincente Minnelli
    23. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1977) - Larry Jordan
    24. We Can't Go Home Again (1976) - Nicholas Ray
    25. The Cameraman (1928) - Buster Keaton
    26. War and Peace (1956) - King Vidor
    27. The Man Who Invented Gold (1957) - Christopher Maclaine
    28. Man in a Bubble (1981) - Sidney Peterson
    29. Written on the Wind (1956) - Douglas Sirk
    30. Serene Velocity (1970) - Ernie Gehr
    31. The Scarlet Empress (1934) - Josef von Sternberg
    32. Men in War (1957) - Anthony Mann
    33. Rameau's Nephew by Diderot (Thanx to Dennis Young) by Wilma Schoen (1974) - Michael Snow
    34. Eniaios (1990) - Gregory Markopoulos
    35. Mouse Wreckers (1949) - Chuck Jones
    36. Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965) - Otto Preminger
    37. Poetry and Truth (2003) - Peter Kubelka
    38. Spies (1928) - Fritz Lang
    39. Holiday (1938) - George Cukor
    40. Mortal Storm (1940) - Frank Borzage
    41. Quixote (1965) - Bruce Baillie
    42. Miami Vice (2006) - Michael Mann
    43. 'R Xmas (2001) - Abel Ferrara
    44. Worldly Desires (2005) - Apichatpong Weerasethakul
    45. Hart of London (1970) - Jack Chambers
    46. La ronde (1950) - Max Ophuls
    47. Strange Illusion (1945) - Edgar G. Ulmer
    48. Naked Kiss (1964) - Samuel Fuller
    49. 10 (1979) - Blake Edwards
    50. Family Plot (1976) - Alfred Hitchcock
    51. Room Film 1973 (1973) - Peter Gidal
    52. La Raison Avant la Passion (1969) - Joyce Wieland
    53. Two Lovers (2008) - James Gray
    54. Um Filme Falado (2003) - Manoel de Oliveira
    55. Ten Videos: 3 (2006) - Kyle Canterbury
    56. Sobibor, 14 octobre 1943, 16 heures (2001) - Claude Lanzmann
    57. October (1928) - Sergei M. Eisenstein
    58. Yi Yi (2000) - Edward Yang
    59. The Virgin Spring (1960) - Ingmar Bergman
    60. The Patsy (1964) - Jerry Lewis
    61. Comanche Station (1960) - Budd Boetticher
    62. Le silence de Lorna (2008) - Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne
    63. Rose Hobart (1936) - Joseph Cornell
    64. Mavi Sürgün (1993) - Erden Kıral
    65. Ten (2002) - Abbas Kiarostami
    66. Jaguar (1967) - Jean Rouch
    67. Film (1964) - Samuel Beckett
    68. Kadosh (1999) - Amos Gitai
    69. La Ceremonie (1995) - Claude Chabrol
    70. Schweitzer and Bach (1965) - Jerome Hill
    71. The Decay of Fiction (2003) - Pat O'Neill
    72. The Tree (1974) - Chris Welsby
    73. Süt (2008) - Semih Kaplanoğlu
    74. Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) - Monte Hellman
    75. Lachrymae (2000) - Brian Frye
    76. Traité de bave et d'éternité (1951) - Isidore Isou
    77. Le Temps Qui Reste (2005) - Francois Ozon
    78. Still Life (2006) - Jia Zhang Ke
    79. İklimler (2006) - Nuri Bilge Ceylan
    80. Legend of Nile (2009) - Eytan İpeker
    81. Breaking News (2004) - Johnnie To
    82. EVO (2002) - Oliver Hockenhull
    83. Very Nice, Very Nice (1961) - Arthur Lipsett
    84. Songs from the Second Floor (2000) - Roy Andersson
    85. I Walked with a Zombie (1943) - Jacques Tourneur
    86. The Host (2006) - Bong Joon-ho
    87. 30 Days of Night (2007) - David Slade
    88. Flaming Creatures (1963) - Jack Smith
    89. Ohio Postcard (2009) - Ekrem Serdar
    90. The Disorderly Orderly (1964) - Frank Tashlin
    91. Zodiac (2007) - David Fincher
    92. Chumlum (1964) - Ron Rice
    93. Come September (1961) - Robert Mulligan
    94. Tom, Tom, The Piper's Son (1969) - Ken Jacobs
    95. Pony Glass (1997) - Lewis Klahr
    96. Pan of the Landscape (2005) - Christopher Becks
    97. Crash (1996) - David Cronenberg
    98. Film in Which There Appear Edge Lettering, Sprocket Holes, Dirt Particles, Etc. (1966) - Owen Land
    99. I Don't Want to Sleep Alone (2006) - Tsai Ming-liang
    100. La frontière de l'aube (2008) - Philippe Garrel

    The image is from Roberto Rossellini's sublime masterpiece L'età di Cosimo de Medici.

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    Thursday, July 16, 2009

    The 50 Greatest Films

    Iain Stott of The One-Line Review kindly asked me to participate in a poll for The 50 Greatest Films of all times. After giving it some thought, and working on the list for a while, this is what I came up with, together with my introductory note:





    This is an arbitrary selection of my fifty favorite movies... As a result of not limiting myself to one film per filmmaker, other great artists such as Harry Smith, Jonas Mekas, King Vidor, Vincente Minnelli, Robert Aldrich, Carl Dreyer, Jacques Rivette, Chris Marker, Bruce Baillie, Ernie Gehr, Christopher Maclaine, Louis Lumière, Buster Keaton, Jean Epstein, Raoul Walsh, Josef von Sternberg, Jack Chambers, etc. were left out. This is more or less where things stand for me as of June 30th 2009:

    1. Il messia (1975) - Roberto Rossellini
    2. India: Matri Bhumi (1959) - Roberto Rossellini
    3. What goes up (2003) - Robert Breer
    4. Socrate (1971) - Roberto Rossellini
    5. Cartesius (1974) - Roberto Rossellini
    6. Viva l'Italia! (1961) - Roberto Rossellini
    7. Bang! (1986) - Robert Breer
    8. LMNO (1979) - Robert Breer
    9. Viaggio in Italia (1954) - Roberto Rossellini
    10. Faust (1926) - F.W. Murnau
    11. Ugetsu monogatari (1953) - Kenji Mizoguchi
    12. Au hasard Balthazar (1966) - Robert Bresson
    13. La prise de pouvoir par Louis XIV (1966) - Roberto Rossellini
    14. Intolerance (1916) - D.W. Griffith
    15. Sophie's Place (1986) - Larry Jordan
    16. The Art of Vision (1965) - Stan Brakhage
    17. Swiss Army Knife with Rats and Pigeons (1980) - Robert Breer
    18. El Dorado (1966) - Howard Hawks
    19. Life of Oharu (1952) - Kenji Mizoguchi
    20. L'argent (1983) - Robert Bresson
    21. Rio Bravo (1959) - Howard Hawks
    22. Donovan's Reef (1963) - John Ford
    23. Beaubourg, centre d'art et de culture Georges Pompidou (1977) - Roberto Rossellini
    24. Francesco, giullare di Dio (1950) - Roberto Rossellini
    25. I... (1995) - Stan Brakhage
    26. Visions in Meditation #2: Mesa Verde (1989) - Stan Brakhage
    27. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) - John Ford
    28. Agostino d'Ippona (1972) - Roberto Rossellini
    29. The Tarnished Angels (1958) - Douglas Sirk
    30. Miss Oyu (1951) - Kenji Mizoguchi
    31. Gulls and Buoys (1972) - Robert Breer
    32. Three Times (2005) - Hou Hsiao Hsien
    33. Mr. Frenhofer and the Minotaur (1949) - Sidney Peterson
    34. Chimes at Midnight (1965) - Orson Welles
    35. The Petrified Dog (1948) - Sidney Peterson
    36. Our Lady of the Sphere (1969) - Larry Jordan
    37. 69 (1968) - Robert Breer
    38. ...Reel Three (1998) - Stan Brakhage
    39. Blow Job (1963) - Andy Warhol
    40. In Harm's Way (1965) - Otto Preminger
    41. The God of Day Had Gone Down Upon Him (2000) - Stan Brakhage
    42. The Lion and the Zebra Make God's Raw Jewels (1999) - Stan Brakhage
    43. The Loom (1986) - Stan Brakhage
    44. Arnulf Rainer (1960) - Peter Kubelka
    45. Millennium Mambo (2001) - Hou Hsiao Hsien
    46. Fantômas (1913) - Louis Feuillade
    47. The Last Laugh (1924) - F.W. Murnau
    48. The Potted Psalm (1946) - Sidney Peterson
    49. The Horse Soldiers (1959) - John Ford
    50. Zorns Lemma (1970) - Hollis Frampton


    There are four lists I find inspiring: Edo Choi, Jack Angstreich, Mike Grost, Dan Sallitt

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