this whole discussion is predicated on received ideas of what constitutes a ‘’great film’’ . while i am personally shocked at those who have failed to see a single fassbinder ,that is really just a form of common prejudice on my part!
Lawrence of Arabia
I’ve never seen an Ozu movie. It hurts to say that. Also never saw The Maltese Falcon.
Please DO see the Maltese Falcon!
I’m always weary to watch an Ozu, but am greatful after I’m done.
And for the great number of people who’ve said they Haven’t seen Virginia Woolf, I urge you to! I’d never even heard of it until this thread and it blew me away. That was one of the most intence films I’ve ever seen. And perfectly written, I mean PERFECTLY.
“Touch of Evil” plays at the Astor Theatre (preceded by “The Third Man”) this Sunday evening! I’ve experienced both films, and they are very good. The climax to “Touch of Evil” is especially enthralling.
You’re not missing much at all if you haven’t seen “La Dolce Vita”, other than Fellini’s usual collection of voluptuous dames filmed lovingly in gorgeous black-and-white…but that is all. Ditto “Otto e Mezzo”.
The few Portuguese films I have experienced have left me limp and disillusioned.
“Shichinin no Samurai” by Akira Kurosawa is awesome, gets better each time…but viewings of his other films (if you start with “Samurai”) may seem smallish in comparison. That is to say, they don’t quite reach the same level of brilliance overall.
“Battleship Potemkin” is highly recommended for the immortal “Odessa Steps” sequence, but apart from that…it really needed a score (the version I saw was totally silent: anyone else seen this film at the cinema?).
As I’ve explained elsewhere, I’m waiting for “Lawrence” and “Psycho” to be screened at the Astor (not yet seen ’em!).
Okay now, hands up if you’ve never seen Paddy Chayefsky’s “Network”? It’s probably the most neglected masterpiece out there. That is to say, everyone knows “Gone With The Wind” and Casablanca" even if they don’t really care for movies, but “Network” is the one to which many film buff people are oblivious.
Odd when you consider it is the last film to date to score three Academy Awards for its acting and was nominated for 10 Oscars and is neither black-and-white nor subtitled (plus it’s about television, and how many people don’t have one in the house?).
Apart from its absolute brilliance throughout every scene, “Network” holds some odd distinctions that should be of interest to film buffs. For example “Network” contains the shortest Oscar-winning performance on record (Beatrice Straight, with less than six minutes screen time). It’s also an American film that features no incidental music (the only music to be heard in the film is the intro theme for “The Network News Hour”). Also, Peter Finch, who plays Howard Beale, is still the only person to win a posthumous Oscar for Best Actor (and boy, did he deserve that golden statuette—a fascinating performance!).
If you can’t catch “Network” at your cinema, I implore you to see it on television or D.V.D. It is actually very interesting to watch it on the small screen: it adds a sense of irony and it makes you feel as if you’re one of Howard Beale’s television audience members. Of course, when this is on at the cinema in Melbourne, you know where to find me!
“You’re not missing much at all if you haven’t seen “La Dolce Vita”, other than Fellini’s usual collection of voluptuous dames filmed lovingly in gorgeous black-and-white…but that is all. Ditto “Otto e Mezzo”.
“Shichinin no Samurai” by Akira Kurosawa is awesome, gets better each time…but subsequent viewings of his other films may seem smallish in comparison. That is to say, they don’t quite reach the same level of brilliance overall."
Ummm…OK dude, whatever…I think I’ve read it all now…
“La Dolce Vita” and “Otto e Mezzo” are prime examples of films that have luscious visuals, yet are very self-important and largely hollow. Everytime (and I mean EVERYTIME) I ask someone to explain what makes these films so great, they cannot tell me with sounding like (to pinch a line from Clint Eastwood) an intellectual dipshit (as opposed to an intellectual who actually sounds coherent and unpretentious).
If someone can tell me what these films mean to them, without sounding like an 89 year old Gender Studies college professor on the rag and a dose of acid, I will happily accept what that person has to say. That doesn’t mean I shall like the films, but I shall at least be able to see it from their perspective.
Dimitris, if you love these films so much, you might offer a reasoned and mature defence of them, rather than your normal clumsy sarcasm.
I have seen a few Portuguese films, and they were boring to the extreme. I counted about 20 walk-outs from “Colossal Youth”, so I wasn’t the only one who found it tedious (and even if I were, I’m entitled to my belief).
My comment about Akira Kurosawa’s films was not intended as an insult. What I’m saying is “Samurai” set a damn high bar, for Akira and others…I really dig “Sanjuro” and I think that too, gets better with each viewing. However, “Samurai” is a film of exceptional quality, it’s Akira’s masterpiece…so what’s the problem?
so walkouts constitute an accurate and coherent criticism of a film does it! david bordwell himself felt compelled to leave a screening of satantango but later produced a cogent and respectful analysis of the film. ones initial reaction to any film should be examined.
No, I never said “walkouts constitute blah blah blah” anything. But Dimitris has a way of believing his opinion (no matter how right or wrong) automatically constitutes Popular Belief. Hence I’m showing him that, for once, his belief is not the Popular One (I do that by referencing walkouts). I show him his belief is not the Right One by reasoned debate about a film’s merits. Liam, you (and other) are welcome to having differing opinions to moi about cinema. All I ask is you have some damn good reasons for hailing a movie as the greatest spectacle since Jesus turned H20 into Shiraz and hopscotched across the lake.
It doesn’t get tiring when people call this or that film a masterpiece IF I can see from where they are coming with their viewpoint. It sure as hell gets dull when people talk empty ramble about a film that they THEMSELVES cannot understand why they fancy it.
fair enough,except for your strange belief that pedro costa represents the mainstream of Portuguese cinema,the man is part of the contemplative cinema trend.
Well, now that I think about it… I’ve only seen one Ozu, two Welles, two Bergman films, no Bresson, No Dreyer, no Rossellini, no fucking European cinema at all… at all. Apart from Amelie and The Seventh Seal I got nothing, as a matter of fact, I don’t watch any world cinema, I was into Wong Kar Wai for a while, and I like Drunken Master, but apart from that I’m a very sheltered American comfortable within the confines of my own culture… I’m a horrible human being, the thing is who has the time to watch all of these foreign movies! I watched Run Lola Run once, and Goodbye Lenin twice, and I just thought to myself “I don’t get it… I just don’t get it.. it’s fucking German for christ’s sake…” So yes, I’m a fan of Billy Friedkin, and Bob Altman, and Sam Peckinpah, and John Ford, and Raoul Walsh, and Preston Sturges, but I just haven’t fucking gotten my shit straight with that world cinema…oh yeah, and no Godard, or Resnais, or Renoir, or Mizoguchi, (yes Fellini) but no Bunuel…
“All I ask is you have some damn good reasons for hailing a movie as the greatest spectacle since Jesus turned H20 into Shiraz and hopscotched across the lake.”
Satirizing an argument by offering a shitty Christian thinking is an automatic bullshit from your part, hence your argument is bullshit to begin against Fellini, Kurosawa and Portuguese cinema.
“If someone can tell me what these films mean to them, without sounding like an 89 year old Gender Studies college professor on the rag and a dose of acid, I will happily accept what that person has to say.”
I see….so now Gender Studies are also shit in your empirical philosophy. Give this guy a Prozac or something.
“However, “Samurai” is a film of exceptional quality, it’s Akira’s masterpiece…so what’s the problem?”
So Throne of Blood didn’t set the bar high by surpassing the Shakespearean play? So Yojimbo doesn’t express an almost-detective, mischievous ambition which impressed almost every Angllo-fucking-phone remake copying that film? So High and Low doesn’t combine drama and a bad-ass evil psycho, with scenes that can beat Samurai’s one-sided nature? Please dude, many films are masterpieces.
“I have seen a few Portuguese films, and they were boring to the extreme. I counted about 20 walk-outs from “Colossal Youth”, so I wasn’t the only one who found it tedious (and even if I were, I’m entitled to my belief).”
I would never walk out of a film (and I’d only do it if it were a shitty Hollywood film, at least art-house films have something to offer you, even the mediocre ones) and I would NEVER CALL A NATION’S FILMOGRAPHY BORING NO MATTER HOW MANY FILMS I HAD SEEN FROM IT. Your pathetic little brain probably thinks that has seen ENOUGH from that nation’s filmography to be a decent judge of “boredom” and of quality!
“La Dolce Vita” and “Otto e Mezzo” are prime examples of films that have luscious visuals, yet are very self-important and largely hollow. Everytime (and I mean EVERYTIME) I ask someone to explain what makes these films so great, they cannot tell me with sounding like (to pinch a line from Clint Eastwood) an intellectual dipshit (as opposed to an intellectual who actually sounds coherent and unpretentious)."
Wow Vanselow, 8 1/2 is self-important and Graduate isn’t, hahahahahaha. Nice one.
To pinch a line from Clint Eastwood…as opposed to an intellectual whom sounds coherent and unpretentious, bravo…your intellectual red line is close to zero. So intellect as a word and term should be excluded when judging cinema and only applied to the, who did you say again? Unpretentious ones, I see. You idiotic creature, intellect has simply one term and is the fucking key to criticize ART! From Jesus fucking Franco to Sergei fucking Eisenstein, intellect is applied to all fucking genres and by any objective individual who is confident enough to believe this statement! Now if you think YOUR intellect is to pinch lines from fucking Clint Eastwood, no wonder your critical ability has ceased to exist after your puberty years were over!
Maybe your cinema review belief of “unpretentiousness” is connected to the likes of a Playboy film review as opposed to a film journal’s, it’s OK, it happens.
The Cure for Insomnia, Out 1, Evolution of a Filipino Family, Cinematón, Crude Oil, The Satin Slipper, Star Spangled to Death
So Yojimbo doesn’t express an almost-detective, mischievous ambition which impressed almost every Angllo-fucking-phone remake copying that film? So High and Low doesn’t combine drama and a bad-ass evil psycho, with scenes that can beat Samurai’s one-sided nature?
Both Yojimbo and High and Low were conscious remakes of “Angllo-fucking-phone” cinema (specifically, Hollywood genre).
I have a dream that one day I’ll be able to see The Cure for Insomnia and Cinematón.
I was lucky enough to get a copy of Out 1 a few months ago, but still haven’t watched it. (Oh, the shame)
I can almost guarantee you that I’d want to watch Evolution of a Filipino Family and Crude Oil as well.
Best movie I haven’t seen and HATE to admit it? Well, there are plenty, but the only ones I’ll admit to are the Apu Triology by Satyajit Ray. I have them sitting in my “To Watch” corner, but just haven’t gotten around to them. The others… well, I’m TOO ashamed to admit it.
“Out 1” is one of those I’ve been wanting to watch for years, but I will need to find the time and concentration to sit through the whole 13 hours. I might also check out “Evolution of a Filipino Family” someday soon, his “Batang West Side” interests me just as much, but as J.P. stated it still can’t be released because of legal trouble. Lord Quas has been very impressed by “Crude Oil”, and I will try to watch it as soon as there can be found a DVD-release. As for “Cinematón” and “The Cure of Insomnia” it’s unlikely that I would make myself watch these in their entirety at least in the next couple of years. And you really need to watch the “Apu Trilogy”, because if not I will have to select all three films in the Directors’ Cup in order to force you to watch them. ;)
I have only seen one John Ford (The Searchers)
I have only seen one Orson Welles (Citizen Kane) or two if you want to count The Third Man
I have never seen an entire Bresson
I have only seen two Resnais films (Wild Grass and Last Year at Marienbad)
Gosford Park, as far as I can remember, is the only Altman I have seen (Yes, I know, it’s pathetic) Nashville and McCabe and Mrs. Miller are high up on my list, although I’m not in as much of a rush to see MASH, and I know he has some other titles on Criterion, which I would like to see
I’m there are others
Oh, yes, I have not seen a Pasolini
Oh yeah Altman is someone I need to see more of! Actually pretty much every director you listed.
Pasolini is my glaring blind spot. And I’ve only seen one Marx Bros film.
Gone With The Wind
Gladiator (not the whole way through)
The Jazz Singer
@MARK D VANSELOW — When you actually make a film, 8 1/2 will come across as much better, its depth profound, its message timeless. And with all of that absolute beauty of its filming and its writing.
“So Throne of Blood didn’t set the bar high by surpassing the Shakespearean play? So Yojimbo doesn’t express an almost-detective, mischievous ambition which impressed almost every Angllo-fucking-phone remake copying that film?”
really, Dimitris? Throne of Blood surpasses Shakespeare’s text? No. Sorry. It doesn’t.
and your line of influence regarding Yojimbo and High and Low is backwards. Both are adaptations of AMERICAN crime novels.
American culture influenced Kurosawa more than Kurosawa influenced American culture.
I’ve never seen any part of any of the three Lord of the Rings films
Cinematon does in fact stand as a giant question mark over my philosophy that movies should be as long as necessary. 150 hours. Seems like something to take a summer off to experience, but I’m not in school anymore.
@Christopher Sepesy — “When you actually make a film, 8 1/2 will come across as much better, its depth profound, its message timeless. And with all of that absolute beauty of its filming and its writing.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about that recently. Lately I’ve been feeling frustrated about the difference between seeing a movie as a film maker, and as a film watcher, and how that changes the relationship in some ways and in others doesn’t change at all. Of course there is no line deciding what the difference actually is, but it’s definitely felt. The thing is, I’m starting to feel like people need to actually try to make a movie before they go on to judge other movies. However, that line of reasoning is flawed because a) not everyone wants to make movies, even if they enjoy watching them and b) movies should be able to speak to people, even if they are not aware of the craft behind it.
It’s on that latter point that I hesitate to support your comment. Is it really so good, profound, and timeless if you have to have tried to make a movie to understand that?
That said, I’m only questioning your reasoning, not arguing against 8 1/2 . To bring more light to the matter, I loved 8 1/2 when I first saw it and had never made a movie, and years later I still really enjoy it but think it overglamourizes filmmaking a little bit. So I think making movies has actually lessened the impact of it a little bit for me.
“I’m starting to feel like people need to actually try to make a movie before they go on to judge other movies.”
PolarisDIB reminded me of a great piece of critical wisdom from Pauline Kael:
“There is a standard answer to this old idiocy of if-you-know-so-much-about-the-art-of-film-why-don’t-you-make-movies. You don’t have to lay an egg to know if it tastes good.”