Monday, August 20, 2007

"List, List, O List!"

Yes, another list, but truly, what is the Siren to do if good bloggers like Edward Copeland keep coming up with exercises like this one? The assignment: Pick 25 non-English-language features, in order to form a final ballot from which bloggers will choose the best 25 foreign films of all time. Or the favorites. Or bloggers' favorites. At that moment in time. Insert your favorite caveat here.

With amazing industry, Edward has already posted the ballot. And now the polls are open for the public voting phase. Here are the rules, quoted from Edward's page:

Choose 25 of these titles and rank them from 1-25 and e-mail them to by midnight Central Time on Sunday, Sept. 16. A first place vote will get 25 votes, second place will get 24 votes, etc. In the event of tie scores, the total number of ballots on which the films appear will decide who is ahead of the other. If there is still a tie, the films will just be ranked as tied. The final list will be either of the top 25 or top 50, depending how the voting goes. Now, here are the nominees. Feel free to include comments about your choices that I can quote when I post the final results.

The Siren hereby posts the list that she sent in. She prefaces with a comment left by Operator_99 of the blog Allure, a favorite stop of the Siren's when the world is too much with her and she needs something like this to lift her spirits. Operator_99 does reminding us what a list can, and cannot do:

Well, at 62, I'm must the least trusted person to make any comments, but...while "age is definitely not a meter of intelligence", it doesn't negate it either, if the sentient in question kept his or her eyes and ears open during waking hours. I have seen so much film during my life that I think I can truly say that I know what is good and what is not. However, film criticism, once a fun exercise for me, like debating Marxism in the early 60's (the late 60's are a bit of a blur) at the Cafe Figaro on Bleeker, often removed me from the pure joy of the experience as experienced. I just hope that everyone can step back occasionally and let the flickering moments take you away with no thought of camera angle, the comparison to the director's previous effort, etc. Its not easy to do, but kick back once in a while, ok? Then rip something to shreds.

La Règle du Jeu (Jean Renoir, 1939) If you put the Siren under hypnosis, this is the one she would probably name as all-time Number One.

Ivan the Terrible Part I (Sergei Eisenstein, 1944) Despite the extraordinarily creepy hagiography of Stalin, this movie is a superb visual achievement, so beautiful and composed with such extraordinary grace and precision that the Siren sat slack-jawed through much of it.

Les Enfants du Paradis (Marcel Carné, 1945) The most sweepingly romantic movie every made, with a script by Jacques Prevert that achieves the status of literature, yet remains cinematic at all times. "So you want to be loved for yourself, like the poor people? What's left for the poor people, then?"

Quai des Orfèvres (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1947) The relationship between the detective and his young son was beautifully done. A policier that is mostly a fine character study, this may not be as great as Le Salaire de la Peur or as twisty as Diabolique, but the Siren loves it more than either of those.

Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950) The Siren has wondered several times over the years if this movie gains in her memory from being the first significant Japanese film she ever saw. Perhaps, but it holds up for her, viewing after viewing.

Madame de... (Max Ophuls, 1953) If this one had not made the ballot the Siren would have been throwing her own jewelry boxes around the room.

Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953) Like listing Citizen Kane, but like Welles's masterpiece it deserves its reputation.

A Geisha (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953) Extraordinary study of the ways in which women bond.

I Vitelloni (Federico Fellini, 1953) 1953 was some year, wasn't it?

Smiles of a Summer Night (Ingmar Bergman, 1955) Pure, shimmering delight.

Lola Montes (Ophuls, 1955) The Siren thinks Martine Carol's marionette quality helps rather than hurts the film, emphasizing Lola as someone to whom history just happened--like other mortals who never slept with composers or kings.

Street of Shame (Mizoguchi, 1956) The movie that should have mothballed the "whore with a heart of gold" characters for all time, but alas, did not.

When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Mikio Naruse, 1960)

Viridiana (Luis Buñuel, 1961)

The Leopard (Luchino Visconti, 1963) Visconti's elegy for the aristocracy becomes a lament for the fleeting nature of all beauty.

Contempt (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963) Almost too much to ponder here, but the element that always grabbed the Siren was the fragility of love--how one misguided moment can erase it all.

Seduced and Abandoned (Pietro Germi, 1964) A breakneck farce with a Swiftian soul.

The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966) They say the Pentagon screened this one during preparations for the second Iraq War, which convinces the Siren that elementary principles of cinema studies should be taught in college. That way, maybe smart guys won't watch a movie and, somehow, miss the entire goddamn point.

L'Armée des Ombres (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969) Certainly the movie owes a great deal to Melville's studies of the gangster life, but it shows what a strict code among comrades can mean when applied to an honorable cause.

The Spirit of the Beehive (Victor Erice, 1973)

The Marriage of Maria Braun (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1979) The Siren wants to rewatch this one, as she suspects the scathing picture of a society rebuilt on false dreams is as relevant as ever. Entirely worthy of Fassbinder's idol Douglas Sirk.

Fanny and Alexander (Bergman, 1982)

Bullet in the Head (John Woo, 1990) The Siren surprised herself by selecting this one, but she had to include it. This action movie, despite some incongruous sentimentality and the bonkers editing of the first half-hour or so, captured unpleasant truths about the Vietnam War far better than many a high-minded prestige picture.

Raise the Red Lantern (Zhang Yimou, 1991) A women's picture like the ones the Siren worshipped as a girl, melodrama raised to the level of art.

The Blue Kite (Zhuangzhuang Tian, 1993) The Cultural Revolution through the eyes of a child, and family love seen as one of the few hopes we have.

So, according to her count, the Siren got 15 of her choices on the ballot, not a bad ratio at all. She makes no comment on the ballot; it seems pretty solid to her, and if there are a half-dozen or so the Siren would not have included, it still isn't as though Back to the Future showed up.

My mother is in town (yes Virginia, Sirens have mothers too) and so the Siren hopes to finish up with poor Tyrone Power by later this week. Meanwhile, the Siren leaves you with a piece of advice. Do not, for God's sake, ever, ever Google Image "Bullet in the Head" without plenty of other search terms such as "John Woo" and "Tony Leung." Sweet Saint Francis of Assisi. The Siren may have to spend the rest of the week watching MGM musicals in order to crowd that mistake out of her brain.


Peter said...

How incredible to even know that you saw A Bullet in the Head, much less list it as one of your favorite films. I did get to see this theatrically. By the way, perhaps my equivalent admission might be that Now Voyager is part of my own film collection. Based on the nominees, I have a bit of catching up to do mostly with the films of Dreyer. Of sixteen nominees, nine of mine made voting list.

Campaspe said...

I have catching up to do as well, mostly with (surprise!) the contemporary entries.

I was surprised myself to see Bullet in the Head on my list, but there it was, and as I whittled there it stayed. The way it took iconic images of Vietnam and used them in a fully integrated and exciting way--it was just a great movie. It does look a little odd sitting there between Fanny and Alexander and Raise the Red Lantern, but what can I say.

The Derelict said...

Wow, this will keep my netflix account busy for a few weeks! Great list!

I totally forgot to include Rashomon on my initial list [hangs head]. Well, it didn't need my help, fortunately, but boy I better vote for it in this next round. Like you Rashomon was my first experience with essential (non-animated) Japanese cinema and I still love it. You never forget your first, I guess.

Battle of Algiers is pretty fabulous, isn't it? It's funny that me, rock-ribbed conservative that I am, should love the films of an avowed Marxist so much. Algiers, Burn, Kapo -- I have loved each one, and I certainly have no illusions about their political point of view (unlike the Pentagon, apparently -- jeez, that is some crazy shite, yeesh!). Cinema is funny that way, I guess. Maybe that's why I love it.

Spirit of the Beehive was a film that I thought was brilliant in parts but just didn't do much for me as a whole. Is it available on DVD? Maybe I should try again...

Just watched Viridiana for the first time recently and WOW. Seriously. Loved your post on it, btw. Hilarious and insightful as always. One of these days, if I can get my head wrapped around my own thoughts, I'll write about the film from a believer's (Catholic) POV.

Campaspe said...

I'd be very, very interested in hearing your comments about Viridiana. Some of the critics I read when researching my own post were arguing that the movie is not nearly as blasphemous as it has been painted.

It really doesn't strike me as odd that you would like Battle of Algiers, as it is a superbly made movie. I would have to wonder about someone who couldn't appreciate the narrative and visual techniques, even if the politics gave them the vapors. And while I think the film is clearly on the side of the Algerians, it is not so slanted as to give you no picture of the French viewpoint, or to accept terrorism without asking hard moral questions. That sequence in the cafe, when you know the bomb is going to explode, and the camera forces you to look at the happy, chattering customers, is a very strong comment on violence against civilians.

The Derelict said...

Well, the thing you always hear about Bunuel is that he's "anti-Catholic," but with Viridiana I thought, "this movie isn't just going after the usual suspects re: Catholicism, it's going after Christianity itself!" I can't say I ultimately agree with Bunuel (duh, I'm still a Catholic), but his picture of humanity seems to me to have a lot (a lot) of truth to it, and that's frightening, from a believer's POV. Frightening and exhilarating. Like I said, I'm still trying to figure out just exactly what I think of the film, and the fact that days later I'm still obsessed with it just goes to show how awesome it is. Is it as blasphemous as its reputation? In some ways I don't think it fits easily into categories like "blasphemous" or "anti-Catholic" because so much is going on, and it's not a tract, it's a work of art, so there are a multitude of levels and meanings operating at the same time. I certainly felt a lot of sympathy for Viridiana herself, and yet she was often the butt of the joke. The film was funny that way, it never allowed you to have just one opinion about a character. And of course, it's Viridiana's refusal/inability to forgive her uncle that really starts her down her path to apostasy. The seemingly "model" Christian, and yet she cannot forgive the sins against her! I def. need to think about it more... watch it again...

Plus Bunuel's so smart in his humor. So much "blasphemous" humor that purports to ridicule Christianity is just the same tired jokes about lecherous priests, the pope's car, and church ladies, and variations thereof that it's insulting simply for being so banal. Bunuel's ridicule at least has the sting or truth to it, and it's original. I have a pretty big tolerance for humor against Christianity that's actually funny and original (Bunuel, Life of Brian, etc.). Not so much the latest screeds from Bill Maher.

I wish I could've included Simon of the Desert on my list as well, but it didn't meet the "features" requirement of the list.

Btw, I watched Viridiana as a double feature with Dreyer's Ordet and what an experience that was, watching those two films back-to-back! They were both all kinds of awesome, for very different reasons, of course.

operator_99 said...

Nice List! The position of Ivan the Terrible, Part 1, is much deserved IMHO. I would suggest that Ivan Groznyy II: Boyarsky zagovor (Ivan the Terrible, Part 2), be up there as well, but I was an Eisenstein fanatic at one time, having heavily annotated and dogeared my paperback copy of Film Form, Film Sense. BTW, this post caused me to drag it out again and do you know, the edition (1957) I bought at the time had a cover price of $3.45 - sigh. And Les Enfants du Paradis, a gem, beautiful, tragic, tender, cruel, and so evocative. I would like it to be at least the top 28 and would include Passion de Jeanne d'Arc, La - Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928, Woman in the Dunes, Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1964 and Ran, Akira Kurosawa (1985) - or any of a number of other great films such as...

Lastly, Siren, thanks for "getting it" regarding the comment of mine you referenced. Glad my site is occasionally graced by your visits.

Campaspe said...

Derelict, Viridiana also takes dead aim at do-gooders, so isn't as though there is nothing for a conservative to love. :) I agree with you, Bunuel's satire on Christianity stings because it goes well beyond the usual stale jokes and heads straight for the big theological inconsistencies. (In the comments to my post, Gloria, who is Spanish, pointed out that "taking a picture" is a Spanish idiom for a woman flashing her underwear--which also bears on the "Last Supper" scene. Bunuel was such a thorough, layered filmmaker.)

Operator, I visit more often than I comment. I have enjoyed the Dietrich series. I loved Ivan Grozny Part II as well but it wasn't quite as perfectly integrated as Part I. Les Enfants du Paradis has very special meaning for me, as it was the first foreign movie I ever saw in a theater. It is always a close thing, whether I prefer that one or Rules of the Game as all-time No. 1, and usually depends on which one I saw last.

Woman in the Dunes is one I need to see ...

Mrs. R said...

"My mother is in town (yes Virginia, Sirens have mothers too) and so the Siren hopes to finish up with poor Tyrone Power by later this week."

I am new to this site. Can you explain what you mean? Thanks, Blanche

Flickhead said...

All's well that Buñuels: I'm hosting a Buñuel-a-Thon. Details here.

Cinebeats said...

We only share one similar film on our list of favorites (Godard's Contempt) but La Règle du Jeu, The Leopard and The Spirit of the Beehive came very close to making my list and were only removed at the last minute. I was pretty sure Renoir would make it without my vote and I'm glad I was right. I was also having a hard time choosing between Grand Illusion and La Règle du Jeu since I like both a lot.

We also have similar directors listed such as Kuroswa, Fellini and Melville but we just picked different films. I also came very close to adding a Bunuel film (Belle de jour) to my own list but decided against it. Obviously he didn't need my vote since many Bunuel films got nominated.

I'm ashamed to say I have not seen any of Ophuls films and I should correct that. You're enthusiastic and glowing praise of his films is fun to read!

The Derelict said...

Derelict, Viridiana also takes dead aim at do-gooders, so isn't as though there is nothing for a conservative to love. :)

Yes, that did warm my cold, cold conservative heart! ;)

Flickhead, that Bunuel-a-thon sounds awesome, I'll try to have my Viridiana thoughts smoothed out by then, I'd love to participate.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Bullet in the Head! Dammit! There's another one that completely sailed over my head that would have made my 25 otherwise. A wonderful list, Campaspe. So many of yours I have yet to see (14!), and that's become the dominant theme of this exercise for me-- how far I have yet to go. And yet, what a wonderful thing, in a perverse way, to have so much greatness still before me! (There's gotta be a silver lining to have not yet seen The Earrings of Madame de... or When a Woman Ascends the Stairs yet, right?)

Peter said...

I just realized that I totally forgot to nominate the one film by Mizoguchi I do love, Yang Kwei Fei. I can't wait to get my stuff out of storage.

Brian said...

Someone mentioned Woman in the Dunes? The judges have returned to the scoring tables and determined that the film did indeed garner the minimum 3 votes, and is on the ballot where it belongs! (thanks, Edward!) It's been recently released on Criterion DVD, so it's quite possible to catch it before the ballot deadline!

I joined you, Siren, in voting for Madame de... and the Marriage of Maria Braun. I came close on several others but ultimately decided to leave them off. Removing the incredible Street of Shame and Wife! Be Like a Rose, and replacing them with the Story of the Last Chrysanthemum and Floating Clouds was my final change before submitting the list, and I must admit I did it for mostly strategic reasons, as I think I like the former pair marginally more, but thought them slightly less likely to get support from other quarters. I wonder if this over-thinking didn't prevent Street of Shame from making the final group (is there another fan out there?) If so, my apologies.

I own a Geisha on VHS but have not gotten around to watching yet. Now I have new-found incentive in your recommendation.

I also have not yet seen When a Woman Ascends the Stairs. Even though it's played in my vicinity twice in the past two years, I've always had prior plans I couldn't cancel. And I haven't gotten around to the DVD yet. Too bad Naruse didn't make it.

Mrs. R said...

Never mind my last post. Have been looking through your blogs and figured it out. Can't wait. Love your blogs.

Marilyn said...

My take on Viridiana:

Campaspe said...

Mrs. R, I remember you from the last time Tyrone Power came up (a special interest of yours? I do not blame you!) and I am absolutely delighted to see you again.

Flickhead, your blogathon may inspire me to sit down with Los Olvidados at last. I would love to blog about Bunuel again.

Dennis, notice that I have not posted my list of Haven't-Seens from the ballot. That is because it is so large as to be embarrassing. I don't want to post it and be reduced to whining "I was going to catch up with Red Desert, but it was Busby Berkeley Day at TCM!"

Brian, I didn't vote strategically at ALL and really I should have. It pains me that Spirit of the Beehive didn't make it, for example. Floating Clouds was the one Big Naruse that I missed (sold out, darn it) and I am tapping my toe and checking my watch, waiting for it to become available.

Marilyn, I read your take on Viridiana once before and liked it. You brought up something I always wondered about too, the fate of Don Jaime's first wife. I am glad I'm not the only one who thinks Bunuel wants us to suspect something was amiss there.

Marilyn said...

I thought you might have. Bunuel is my favorite director. That Obscure Object of Desire actually is my favorite of his films, though I really do love them all.

I saw Copeland's list and was pained to see so many Kurosawas (including some I don't think are his best) and no films by Satyajit Ray, Abbas Kiarostami, or Bertrand Tavernier. I think lists that don't do some weighting in their selections are inherently flawed. Still, though I shake my head at some of the nominees (Run Lola Run????), it's as decent a list as I've seen in a while.

That said, I'd be happy if I never saw another list again in my life (see previous post).

Campaspe said...

I wouldn't have picked Run Lola Run, or several others on there that I think are skillful but shallow. But it is a solid list. I am starting to get list-listless as well, though, and will be relieved when list season is behind me.

Flickhead said...

I didn't participate in the list. Whenever I try to assemble a list, a nagging (logical) voice in my head keeps asking "why bother?"

Siren, I'd love to read your take on Los Olvidados. I'm hoping the Buñuel-a-thon inspires people to check out his wonderful Mexican pictures. El and Archibaldo de la Cruz are exceptional.

Marilyn, Buñuel is my favorite director too. I'll be reading your review of Viridiana right after I finish this comment.

Derelict: am looking forward to your Viridiana piece.

As for Run, Lola, Run: shallow, yes. But I find myself going back and watching it every six or seven months. Ever see Twyker's Princess and the Warrior, Siren? A superior film. However, his recent Perfume may be an acquired taste. (I didn't care for it.)

Campaspe said...

Flickhead, there was something about Lola that just failed to grab me, skillful though it was. I haven't made it to the other Twyker films, incluidng Perfume, despite my interest in fragrances. Right now I see about two movies a week (on DVD) and that is a slow pace. Someone (Girish?) was talking about a film critic who had said there was no reason why serious cinephiles could not see a film a day. All I can say is, that critic does not have small kids ...

Flickhead said...

My initial exposure to Run, Lola, Run was an accidental situation. Mrs. Flick and myself were going to see The Red Violin, but all shows were sold out for the evening.

On screen #2 was Lola, which just came out that day. We had no idea what it was about, who was in it, nothing. But we decided to see it since we were already at the theater.

Prepared for Red Violin subtlety, we were tossed into Lola's rock 'n roll. On the big screen, having no expectations, no forewarning, it was an exhilarating experience. Being unaware of the Rashomon device beforehand helps. It's one of the few times I've heard an audience gasp. (A lot of them were there for Red Violin, too.)

Marilyn said...

Flickhead - I've also got a review of L'Age D'Or somewhere on my site.

Run Lola Run is an enjoyable, highly watchable film. I find it one of the best films to watch when I'm on my NordicTrack - keeps me in a good rhythm. Therefore, I highly recommend it as an exercise video. One of the great foreign films of all time - not.

Campaspe said...

Flickhead, the circumstances of seeing a movie play a big part no matter what, don't they? I saw Run Lola Run several weeks after it had been out and everybody from my boss to my then-boyfriend had been bugging me to se it, and so my response was like Peggy Lee: "is that all there is?" I saw The Vanishing the first weekend it opened and while I certainly found things to admire, its pitch-darkness didn't sit well with me at the time. I don't remember the movie I was trying to talk our group into seeing, but as I remember it was a comedy. You try having your mind all set for fun and getting "The Vanishing" instead.

Conversely, I saw Amelie only a few weeks after 9/11 and its essentially sunny take on my fellow humans was just what I needed at the time. It gave me the first good laughs I had experienced since that day, so I will always have a soft spot for it, even if I view it again and think, as Marilyn says, "one of the great foreign films of all time - not."

Marilyn said...

Siren - Maybe that's explains why Amelie always seems to rate so high. I found myself losing patience with it and Amelie's way excessive coyness.

I so totally agree that circumstances and individual mood play an important part in how we rate a film. That's another reason lists can only go so far.

Gareth said...

The comments about the circumstances of a viewing prompted me to go back and look at the films I selected from the shortlist provided, and it occurred to me that I had seen nearly every one of them on the big screen, no matter how old. Perhaps my selections should be named "best foreign films to be seen in the cinema" or some such thing. Or perhaps it's just that the list included many films that have played in repertory over the past twenty years, which I, in turn, had seen.

I can't help thinking, though, that the experience of enjoying a film like "M" or "Rififi" or "Eyes Without a Face" with a packed theatre has a certain impact...

Campaspe said...

Now that you mention it, Gareth, I saw 22 of the 25 movies I selected on the big screen. It does amplify a film. A good question for the rest of the crew. Think I will mosey over to Dennis's place and ask him.

RC said...

good list...i definitly have a good handful of these films I want to watch before I submit my vote by the deadline.

Cinebeats said...

I know that the circumstance of how I've seen films has been a factor in how I pick my own favorites but not the only factor.

I have seen 11 of the films I listed on the big screen and that must have made me appreciate them more. I don't think Jean De Florette / Manon of the Spring would have made my list if I hadn't seen it that way.

Rich said...

Siren -- You are a goddess. However, I must pontificate, as is my wont.

• "La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc" -- Didn't even make the master list! WTF? Is there a greater acting tour de force in cinema than Falconetti in this? Is there a more powerful piece of visual storytelling?

• "The Conformist" -- See this again. Possibly the most beautiful film ever made. You could take each frame of this film and hang it on your wall and be very happy. Also a masterful elucidation of Fascism.

• "Cinema Paradiso" -- Okay, I just LIKE the damn thing, okay? Makes me smile. (Is there a better ending in film history, outside "Some Like It Hot"?)

• "Riffifi" -- This one won't be on anyone's list but mine, but...dammit, Jules Dassin proved he could beat the blacklist and turn out a damn fine thriller.

• "8 1/2" -- One of the three great cinema autobiographies. (The other 2 are "All That Jazz" and "Glen or Glenda")

• "Z" -- One of the most imitated films of all time -- the template for the modern political thriller. People forget how bold this was when it came out.

Eccentric, I know. You're just lucky I didn't include "Godzilla Vs The Smog Monster"

Campaspe said...

RC, thanks very much. I have a few I want to see before submitting my ballot.

Cinebeats, it was just interesting to contemplate. I have certainly been blown away by films on DVD but there is no question that a big screen and an audience that totally gets it can really add to a film. OTOH, if you have a tiresome giggling audience, that hurts a film. Oy, the people when I saw Rocco & His Brothers ... but I still loved it.

Rich, silents were ruled out for this survey, otherwise I am positive the Passion of Jeanne d'Arc would have made it, maybe even topped it. The Conformist, 8 1/2 and Rififi are all on the ballot. I hope to see The Conformist soon. :)

The Derelict said...

Oh Rich, you're a man after my own heart! Cinema Paradiso just got me, right there, you know? And this list wasn't supposed to be "Best" but "Favorite" and it's one of my favorites, so I'm one of those philistines who voted for it. ;)

You are also so very right about The Conformist. I have to confess I didn't really get into the themes and stuff about Fascism, I was just blown away by the beauty. I wish there were posters made from the frames of that film, I would buy the lot!

For me seeing a film on the big screen with an audience was sometimes a factor (M was a movie I saw on the big screen and it blew me away; ditto Daisies; A Woman Is a Woman almost made it because I saw it on the big screen). But sometimes a movie made my list b/c of the time when I saw it, or the place I was at in my life at the time. Day of Wrath was a movie I stumbled on to late one night, 2 am, during a time in my life when I was seriously into questions of religion, and it slowly sucked me in until I was almost hypnotized by it and no longer tired in the least and I couldn't go to sleep afterward and I thought about it all the next day. So circumstances definitely matter, and not just movie theater circumstances.

Peter said...

That quote about seeing a film a day was from me quoting William K. Everson. In turn I was quoted by Adam Ross for his Friday profiles. To put it in some context, Everson was talking to a bunch of college students who were film majors. Everson also had two kids named Bambi and Griffith but probably left the heavy lifting to Mrs. Everson. I'm sure it's not easy to watch films and sit down and write when you have a family to take care of. Sometimes being part of a couple is a challenge.

Campaspe said...

Peter, thanks for clearing that up! Yes, film majors probably should be seeing that many, especially with today's technologies. It's like a writing prof telling you to read every day.

Bambi and Griffith, huh? When she gets older I will tell my Alida she got off easy. :)

Bob Turnbull said...

>Whenever I try to assemble a list, a nagging (logical) voice in my head keeps asking "why bother?"

I guess I know what you're saying Flickhead (lists without context or comment aren't overly useful), but look what Edward's list has wrought --> discussion (on blogs like Edward's, Scanners, Dennis', Cinebeats and right here) and additonal lists WITH comment (Cinebeats alone is worth it). This will definitely drive me to get around to viewing, before the mid-September deadline, some of the ~40 films on that list of 122 that I haven't seen. I'm excited about that. I think that's why you bother...

Rich, I loved your comments:

- I love "8 1/2" as it's a movie about itself (and Mastroianni looks great with that whip).

- "Z" made me angry while keeping me rivetted.

- People always talk about the 30 minute dialogue-free heist scene in "Rififi", and they do that because is just so freaking good. The almost as silent (except for one word) 27 minute heist scene from Melville's "Le Cercle Rouge" is almost as good, but nothing has compared to Rififi yet.

- And I had the exact same thought about "The Conformist. Pick any frame from that movie and hang it on a wall. Just pure art.

And some more comments about Siren's list:

- My expectations might have been overly high going into "Children Of Paradise" because of some glowing reviews I had read before seeing it, so there was the slightest disappointment lingering in me about half an hour in. But two moments really did it for me...When Baptiste came to Garance's rescue by being a witness (via his pantomime description of the events) and then Garance's come hither look to Baptiste later on (when she sits on the bed, taps it lightly and states "I'm not very sleepy"). Her look, movements and the way she said the words were simply one of the most sensual and feminine moments I've seen on screen - I almost jumped through the TV. It was a blindingly quick three hours and I continue to recall scenes from it after the fact.

- "Smiles On A Summer's Night" was one big smile for me the whole way through.

- I'll admit to just not getting "Bullet To The Head". I love Woo's violent ballets in "Hard Boiled" and "The Killer" even if there's plenty o' cheese to go with them, but I just couldn't stand Bullet...Maybe I expected something I shouldn't have...

Dan Leo said...

Dearest Siren, very belatedly I just wanted to say that as usual you've managed to mention some movies that A. I haven't seen in a long time and now want to see again, and B. I have never seen but now know I must see, instead of, you know, just renting the first piece of crap I see on the "new releases" shelf, and then saying to my friend, "Why are we watching this crap?"