Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Top 5 "Essential Films"

...as determined, somehow, by the Toronto International Film Festival:

  • 1. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Theodor Dreyer)
  • 2. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles)
  • 3. L’Avventura (Michaelangelo Antonioni)
  • 4. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola)
  • 5. Pickpocket (Robert Bresson)
The only films in the Top 100 that are also firmly on my personal favorites list are The Godfather (4), Seven Samurai (6), Taxi Driver (45), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (72), Blue Velvet (92) and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (93). No Peckinpah, no Laurel and Hardy; the wrong Cronenberg, Hitchcock and Almodovar.

How out of step are you?



Tulkinghorn said...

This is actually much less boring than most such lists...

Films five through fifteen are particularly apt -- putting Casablanca between Pather Panchali and Man with a Movie Camera is great, and one welcomes Fassbinder and all those Italians at the top of the list.

At about twenty, it falls apart, alas, and gets downright silly at about fifty. "Pan's Labyrinth"?

Also there appear to be no British films on the list apart from Lawrence and Third Man... Is there no Ealing comedy better than "Oldboy"?

Generic said...

Silly critics.

Tulkinghorn said...

Are you seriously proposing that some computer model of consensus opinion should matter to me?

You're out of your fucking mind. I'd rather poke out my eyes with a stick than pay attention to Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes.....

Generic said...

Not even an argument. Wrong side of the bed?

Tulkinghorn said...

Of course it's an argument.

Let me spell it out.

Telling me that a lot of people liked some movie as a response to my dislike of it -- AND believing that that was a meaningful response -- was completely idiotic.

One thing that really doesn't work for me -- and shouldn't work with anyone with an IQ above room temperature -- is the argument from mass opinion.

I'm astonished that you have ever even SEEN "Rotten Tomatoes."

Generic said...

Jesus. Climb down.

The Del Toro film made it onto the TIFF list because the list was voted by critics. Perfectly apt response to remind you that a great many critics (not all of whome are "silly") liked it a lot.

What's up with you? Want to talk about it?

Tulkinghorn said...

In saying the list was silly, I did not intend to indicate that it did not reflect consensus opinion. I did intend to indicate that consensus opinion was silly.

If you want to see a masterpiece about life in occupied Europe check out "Army of Shadows" (not on the list). Not the overpraised "Pan's Labyrinth."

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Or rather, just watch "L'Avventura" and luxuriate in its beauty.

I wasn't thrilled by "Pan's Labyrinth" myself. I agree that the Cronenberg and Almodovar movies are the wrong ones, but nice to see them there at least. A Greenaway would have been good.

But no list is complete without "Thundercrack!"

Tulkinghorn said...

The last record I ever played like a teenager -- over and over and over again -- was the Michael Nyman soundtrack record for Drowning by Numbers. I felt the same way about the movie, too. Since Greenaway had a taste for Dutch/English/Klingon/Iranian co-productions, most of his movies seem to be unavailable.

As for Thundercrack, well... I had a brief George Kuchar fling as a teenager -- David and I may well have seen "Hold Me While I'm Naked" at a midnight screening at the Janus Theatre in DC back in the late sixties -- but it was over by that time...

Generic said...

Perhaps the term "essential films" is finally just too vague? It's not quite "the best," a little too close to "historically important." A list of personal favorites is the only type I'd feel comfortable drawing up these days. (My true top 100 faves list would include "Viva Los Vagas," "Die Hard," "A Better Tomorrow," "Army of Shadows," "Sholay," "The Tall T" and many others that would never make it past the "consensus taste" gate keepers.)

What I suspect happened here is that too many people went with the titles they thought they ought to include, rather than the ones they'd always be inclined to stop and watch if they clicked on them while channel surfing -- the Die Hard Test.

Tulkinghorn said...

It's a canon.... If you take a college freshman and require her to watch two movies a week for a year -- and at the end of the year, she's on her own, but no longer uneducated -- what are the movies? (Perhaps two lists of fifty would do, with one having priority, but please don't expect anyone to parse the differences between 35 and 36...)

I think the shifting is interesting.

"Die Hard"? -- nothing wrong with leaving it off the list: nothing personal.

Generic said...

Really? "Salo"?

"Die Hard" wouldn't make an essential films list unless it was titled a bit more toward genre -- as perhaps it should be, if you're interested in giving the (gender neutral) student an accurate overview of The Movies, rather than in propagandizing for a particular view of what movies should be.

Tulkinghorn said...

The inclusion of Salo, I suspect, is based upon canons of criticism that are outside my interests -- but which are probably 'necessary' to understand current academic discourse about movies....

I'm less troubled by people putting things on here because they think they should (that's one definition of a canon, after all, but by people putting things on here because they really really like them -- like Cinema Paradiso, which is the one movie here (that I know about) that I find inexcusable. Apocolypse Now,for example, which is simply dumb, fakes being a great movie well enough that many may be fooled.