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Hidden Masterpieces

By: Greg

This is a list of films that I think haven’t gotten much due — or at least not as much as I think that they deserve. In some cases a better title for this list might be “forgotten masterpieces.” For example, Louisiana Story was once thought of as one of the greatest films ever and now its hardly remembered. It may even be a telling fact that most video stores (e.g., Netflix) file it under documentary. Its not a documentary.

Screen still from Louisiana Story.

At the same time I’ve included Reds. I’m not suggesting that anyone has forgotten it – one person observed that the Oscars certainly didn’t forget it – but I think people have forgotten just how good it is. And this is the part of the project that I’ve been struggling with: what films are there, hidden before our noses, that are arguably masterpieces, but have never been recognized as such? It would be a silly exercise to try and come up with an argument that (say) Dude, Where’s My Car is hitherto unrealized marvel. But what about something like Year of the Comet, which I’m sure no one has thought of since 1992. (Incidentally, I’ve never seen year of the Comet — I was trying to think of a movie that came and went without notice.

Screen still from Reds.

In addition, I’d like to list Separation (1968), Krzyzacy (Knights of the Teutonic Order (1960)), Romeo, Julia a tma (Romero and Juliet, and Darkness (1960)), and the Music Teacher (1989). I also would have included Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, but since it was recently profiled by the NYT and released by Criterion, I don’t think it can very well qualify as “hidden.” (FYI I wrote this list before Criterion announced that they were releasing Red Dessert on blu ray and DVD. Hooray. But I’ll keep the film on my list all the same.)

Scene from The Music Teacher

[An aside of sorts. I’ve made some modest additions, mainly based on some recommendations, including some from Sight + Sound.]



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Dimitris Psachos


yup, Reds is hardly hidden BUT, compared to plenty of Hollywood bjs of the last decade, it certainly deserves re-discovery! more kudos to Cairo Station, Humanity, Pitfall and Louisiana. you can add other Akerman films like All Night Long which was unjustly criticized in our World Cup of Films and i hope Knights of Teutonic Order will be submitted.

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Nice list. Louisiana Story is an interesting case with the recent blowout in the gulf. Flaherty had them coming in, capping the well hole and all was in order. He was a master propagandist as well as documentaist. Great film though.

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Wow! I want to see all of these films!

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Yes, we could do with Knights of the Teutonic Order on auteurs. Two English Girls is one of Truffaut's very best