Thursday, August 11, 2016

412. My 18 Favorite Films

Recently, my brother Alan inititated a Facebook thread about our favorite films!

I took this list of 73 and whittled it down to 18! It took me several hours to do this. Some difficult decisions -- I felt like I was chopping off something precious. The Final Eighteen are marked with an asterisk.
  1. Grand Illusion 1938 RENOIR, Jean
  2. *Seven Samurai 1954 KUROSAWA, Akira
  3. Andrei Rublev 1966 TARKOVSKY, Andrei
  4. Nights of Cabiria 1957 FELLINI, Federico
  5. Brazil 1985 GILLIAM, Terry
  6. Yojimbo 1961 KUROSAWA, Akira
  7. The Unbearable Lightness of Being 1988 KAUFMAN, Philip
  8. Rashomon 1950 KUROSAWA, Akira
  9. 8-1/2 1963 FELLINI, Federico
  10. *Children of Paradise 1945 CARNÉ, Marcel
  11. Red Beard 1965 KUROSAWA, Akira
  12. *Ikiru 1952 KUROSAWA, Akira
  13. Floating Weeds 1959 OZU, Yasujiro
  14. Stray Dog 1949 KUROSAWA, Akira
  15. Smiles of a Summer Night 1955 BERGMAN, Ingmar
  16. Early Summer 1951 OZU, Yasujiro
  17. *Fanny & Alexander (312-minute
    TV version) 1982 BERGMAN, Ingmar
  18. Unfaithfully Yours 1948 STURGES, Preston
  19. Harakiri 1962 KOBAYASHI, Masaki
  20. *Ran 1985 KUROSAWA, Akira
  21. Late Spring 1949 OZU, Yasujiro
  22. Sansho the Bailiff 1954 MIZOGUCHI, Kenji
  23. Earrings of Madame de… 1953 OPHULS, Max
  24. An Autumn Afternoon 1962 OZU, Yasujiro
  25. The Exterminating Angel 1962 BUNUEL, Luis
  26. *The Human Condition 1959-61 KOBAYASHI, Masaki
  27. Shoah 1985 LANZMANN, Claude
  28. *The Umbrellas of Cherbourg 1964 DEMY, Jacques
  29. The Fisher King 1991 GILLIAM, Terry
  30. Run Lola Run 1998 TYKWER, Tom
  31. *Babel 2006 INARRITU, Alejandro
  32. North by Northwest 1959 HITCHCOCK, Alfred
  33. Boyhood 2014 LINKLATER, Richard
  34. *Irrational Man 2015 ALLEN, Woody
  35. Amélie 2001 JEUNET, Jean-Pierre
  36. Dil Chahta Hai 2001 AKHTAR, Farhan
  37. 127 Hours 2010 BOYLE, Danny
  38. *12 Monkeys 1995 GILLIAM, Terry
  39. 2001: A Space Odyssey 1968 KUBRICK, Stanley
  40. Baby Snakes 1979 ZAPPA, Frank
  41. Audition 1999 MIIKE, Takashi
  42. The Artist 2011 HAZANAVICIUS, Michel
  43. *Birdman 2014 INARRITU, Alejandro
  44. *Cloud Atlas 2012 WACHOWSKI/TYKWER
  45. Eat Drink Man Woman 1994 LEE, Ang
  46. *Eroica 2003 JONES, Simon Cellan
  47. Eyes Wide Shut 1999 KUBRICK, Stanley
  48. Fantasia 1940 JACKSON/BEEBE
  49. Farewell My Concubine 1993 CHEN, Kaige
  50. Groundhog Day 1993 RAMIS, Harold
  51. Kill Bill I & II 2003-04 TARANTINO, Quentin
  52. Once Upon a Time in America 1984 LEONE, Sergio
  53. Lawrence of Arabia 1962 LEAN, David
  54. An Inconvenient Truth 2006 GUGGENHEIM, Davis
  55. *Napoleon 1927 GANCE, Abel
  56. Lust, Caution 2007 LEE, Ang
  57. Metropolis 1928 LANG, Fritz
  58. The Meaning of Life 1983 JONES, Terry
  59. Not One Less 1999 ZHANG, Yimou
  60. Open Your Eyes 1997 AMENABAR, Alejandro
  61. Parting Glances 1986 SHERWOOD, Bill
  62. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer 2006 TYKWER, Tom
  63. *The Princess and the Warrior 2000 TYKWER, Tom
  64. Schindler's List 1993 SPIELBERG, Steven
  65. *Artificial Intelligence: AI 2001 SPIELBERG, Steven
  66. *Tampopo 1985 ITAMI, Juzo
  67. Together 2002 KAIGE, Chen
  68. *Waking Life 2001 LINKLATER, Richard
  69. Wall-E 2008 STANTON, Andrew
  70. Being Two Isn't Easy 1962 ICHIKAWA, Kon
  71. Minbo 1994 ITAMI, Juzo
  72. Raise the Red Lantern 1991 ZHANG, Yimou
  73. Steambath 1973 BRINCKERHOFF, Burt & Bruce
Here are some general ramblings about the Final Eighteen:
  1. Seven Samurai 1954 KUROSAWA, Akira
    -- 207 glorious minutes depicting a sprawling human tableaux of 16th century feudal Japan, painted with masterful brushstrokes by the Emperor of Film...
  2. Children of Paradise 1945 CARNÉ, Marcel
    -- An awesome feat of filmmaking under unthinkable conditions (the German occupation). Jean-Louis Barrault (Baptiste) steals the show, but everyone is fantastic...
  3. Ikiru 1952 KUROSAWA, Akira
    -- Unique filmic storytelling from one of the very first films post-occupation...
  4. Fanny & Alexander (312-minute TV version) 1982 BERGMAN, Ingmar
    -- Do not watch the 2-hour "theatrical version" which left the best of Erland Josephson's performance as Isak Jacobi on the cutting room floor...
  5. Ran 1985 KUROSAWA, Akira
    -- The culmination of a career of greatness with AK's take on King Lear switching the daughters to sons. Absolutely magnificent, including an awesome score by Takemitsu. Watch for all the triple axial cuts!
  6. The Human Condition 1959-61 KOBAYASHI, Masaki
    -- 9-1/2 hours (3 films); but the best antiwar film ever made...
  7. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg 1964 DEMY, Jacques
    -- I'm a sucker for a film that is entirely sung from beginning to end! Not only that, but the music (Michel Legrand) is amazing and unusual -- filled with vocal leaps of major sevenths and ninths! And the story is beautiful and heart-wrenching...
  8. Babel 2006 INARRITU, Alejandro
    -- A many-layered hard gaze into life at several different places around the globe. What happens in Morroco affects Mexico and Japan and Southern California, like a crazy butterfly flapping its wings in Central Park. Great acting and hardcore direction...
  9. Irrational Man 2015 ALLEN, Woody
    -- Woody again reprises the "get-away-with-murder" theme he'd previously explored in "Manhattan Murder Mystery" and "Crimes and Misdemeanors." This is the best of all of them!
  10. 12 Monkeys 1995 GILLIAM, Terry
    -- The best Bruce Willis! The best Brad Pitt! The best Madeleine Stowe! Repeat viewings are always rewarding...
  11. Birdman 2014 INARRITU, Alejandro
    -- Twelve cuts -- total -- in the entire film! Raymond Carver would have been proud of the acting...
  12. Cloud Atlas 2012 WACHOWSKI/TYKWER
-- Perhaps my favorite film of the new century. A mammoth production, put together by three brilliant directors...

  • Eroica 2003 JONES, Simon Cellan
    -- The imagining of the very first rehearsal of the Third Symphony. I'll bet this is probably not in your library. Rectify that immediately: Amazon.
  • Napoleon 1927 GANCE, Abel
    -- Unfortunately, you won't be able to see this film. At least, not in the way that I saw it several years ago at a movie palace in Oakland, California, where this 6-hour film was shown with three projectors and a live symphony orchestra! My blog post on that amazing event.
  • The Princess and the Warrior 2000 TYKWER, Tom
    -- "Run Lola Run" would be #19 or #20 -- but having to choose between that masterpiece and this one, TPATW wins out by a hair. Watch the last shot and be amazed...
  • Artificial Intelligence: AI 2001 SPIELBERG, Steven
    -- Of course, it would have been amazing to see what Stanley might have done -- but I think Steven outdid himself with this wonderful film. If the final minute doesn't bring a tear to your eye, check to see if your species matches mine...
  • Tampopo 1985 ITAMI, Juzo
    -- or "I Dream of Ramen." Fabulous stuff by a director who left us way too soon...
  • Waking Life 2001 LINKLATER, Richard
    -- Not just for the amazing technical achievements, but the way all the talking heads ultimately melt into your consciousness until you let go of the car door handle.