For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.

Schrader's Canon

by Checkpoint Charlie
Taken from Paul Schrader’s “Canon Fodder” in the September-October 2006 edition of Film Comment, which you can read here (http://paulschrader.org/articles/2006-TheFilmCanon.html) “The 20 films I’d intended to write about (the Gold list) are listed below. Like [Harold] Bloom, I’ve added subsequent lists: the Silver and the Bronze. I’ve also attached the names of the directors because, for the most part, these are films that bear the indelible imprint of the director. Movies are a collaborative medium, however, and one can never be sure of the creative interplay that creates the final film. Even the most dominant directors are idebted to their… Read more

Taken from Paul Schrader’s “Canon Fodder” in the September-October 2006 edition of Film Comment, which you can read here (http://paulschrader.org/articles/2006-TheFilmCanon.html)

“The 20 films I’d intended to write about (the Gold list) are listed below. Like [Harold] Bloom, I’ve added subsequent lists: the Silver and the Bronze. I’ve also attached the names of the directors because, for the most part, these are films that bear the indelible imprint of the director. Movies are a collaborative medium, however, and one can never be sure of the creative interplay that creates the final film. Even the most dominant directors are idebted to their collaborators (loath as they are to admit it). What is Coppola’s ‘The Godfather’ without Mario Puzo, Welle’s ‘Citizen Kane’ without Gregg Toland, von Sternberg’s ‘Shanghai Express’ without Marlene Dietrich? In some cases the influence of the collaborators upon the film is apparent: Odets and Lehman on ‘Sweet Smell of Success’, Warner Bros. on ‘Casablanca’. In others it must be ferreted out: von Harbou on ‘Metropolis, Adolfo Bioy Casares on ’Last Year at Marienbad’. The closest thing to a true auteur was Charles Chaplin— producer, director, writer, actor, editor, composer—but even The Tramp was influenced by the clowns who preceded him. In addition, I’ve listed one film per director, a choice that borders on the arbitrary. An equal case could be made for ‘My Darling Clementine’ and ‘The Searchers’, ‘Diary of a Country Priest’ and ‘Pickpocket’, ’L’Avventura’ and ‘La Notte’, ‘Annie Hall’ and ‘Crimes and Misdemeanors’, ‘Autumn Sonata’ and ‘Persona’, ‘Vertigo’ and ‘Strangers on a Train’…”

Gold
1. The Rules of the Game Jean Renoir 1939
2. Tokyo Story Yasujiro Ozu 1953
3. City Lights Charles Chaplin 1931
4. Pickpocket Robert Bresson 1959
5. Metropolis Fritz Lang 1927
6. Citizen Kane Orson Welles 1941
7. Orphee Jean Cocteau 1950
8. Masculin-Feminin Jean-Luc Godard 1966
9. Persona Ingmar Bergman 1966
10. Vertigo Alfred Hitchcock 1958
11. Sunrise F.W. Murnau 1927
12. The Searchers John Ford 1956
13. The Lady Eve Preston Sturges 1941
14. The Conformist Bernardo Bertolucci 1970
15. 8 1/2 Federico Fellini 1963
16. The Godfather Francis Ford Coppola 1972
17. In the Mood for Love Wong Kar Wai 2000
18. The Third Man Carol Reed 1949
19. Performance Donald Cammell/Nicolas Roeg 1970
20. La Notte Michelangelo Antonioni 1961

Silver
21. Mother and Son Alexander Sokurov 1997
22. The Leopard Luchino Visconti 1963
23. The Dead John Huston 1987
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey Stanley Kubrick 1968
25. Last Year at Marienbad Alain Resnais 1961
26. The Passion of Joan of Arc Carl Dreyer 1928
27. Jules and Jim Francois Truffaut 1962
28. The Wild Bunch Sam Peckinpah 1969
29. All That Jazz Bob Fosse 1979
30. The Life of Oharu Kenji Mizoguchi 1952
31. High and Low Akira Kurosawa 1963
32. Sweet Smell of Success Alexander Mackendrick 1957
33. That Obscure Object of Desire Luis Bunuel 1977
34. An American in Paris Vincente Minnelli 1951
35. Voyage to Italy Roberto Rossellini 1954
36. Taxi Driver Martin Scorsese 1976
37. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul Rainer Werner Fassbinder 1974
38. Blue Velvet David Lynch 1986
39. Crimes and Misdemeanors Woody Allen 1989
40. The Big Lebowski Joel Coen 1998

Bronze
41. The Red Shoes Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger 1948
42. Singin’ in the Rain Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly 1952
43. Chinatown Roman Polanski 1974
44. The Crowd King Vidor 1928
45. Sunset Boulevard Billy Wilder 1950
46. Talk to Her Pedro Almodovar 2002
47. Shanghai Express Josef von Sternberg 1932
48. Letter from a Unknown Woman Max Ophuls 1948
49. Once Upon a Time in the West Sergio Leone 1968
50. Salvatore Giuliano Francesco Rosi 1962
51. Nostalghia Andrei Tarkovsky 1963
52. Seven Men From Now Budd Boetticher 1956
53. Claire’s Knee Eric Rohmer 1970
54. Earth Alexander Dovzhenko 1930
55. Gun Crazy Joseph H. Lewis 1949
56. Out of the Past Jacques Tourneur 1947
57. Children of Paradise Marcel Carne 1945
58. The Naked Spur Anthony Mann 1953
59. A Place in the Sun George Stevens 1950
60. The General Buster Keaton 1927

Endnotes Excerpt

“2. The Harvard Classics Reading Guide quoted Emerson: “There 850,000 volumes in the Imperial Library in Paris. If a man were to read industriously from dawn to dusk for sixty years, he would die in the first alcove. Would that same charitable soul…would namethose which have been bridges or ships to carry him safely over dark morasses and barren oceans into the heart of sacred cities, into palaces and temples…”

Read less