Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sight and Sound's Critics and Directors Top 10's and 64th and Broadway's Top Ten

Four years have passed since the last top 10 from the BFI and Sight and Sound Top Ten Poll. But over at Greencine Daily yesterday they made note of it, and more specifically about Rules of the Game which I have inexplicably yet to see. About rules of the game, they said...

The Rules of the Game. There it sits at #3 in the most recent Sight & Sound Critics' Poll, #9 for the Directors'. And now that it's been restored from a master print, it's seeing a rerelease. J Hoberman: "It is required viewing, if only to understand the ideal that filmmakers from Robert Altman to Woody Allen have been after. And even if you think you know it, see it again for its newly rediscovered depth of field, and even more, for its infinite wellsprings of character and empathy."

That's then been bumped up a bit in the Netflix queue.

But the looking through Sight and Sound's top ten, and another gentleman's ambitious top 300 Movies list got me creating my own top ten list. One of favorite movies, which is slightly different than best movies. They are presented below...

1. Contempt - d. Jean-Luc Godard, France 1963 - Godard is my favorite director and this is his best. It's commentary on film, it's Homer's Oddesey, and marraige or at least the dificulty of marraige or love. On top of that it's beautiful to look at. And it has the most wonderful haunting score of all time. One that Scocese even borrowed for Casino. It's not for everyone. It may be viewed as cynical, but I love it and watch it at least once a month.

2. Band of Outsiders - d. jean-Luc Godard, France 1964. - Jean-Luc Godard once said all you need to make a movie is a woman and a gun. Here is a simple tale. An english class, a house by the river, a bundle of money, a romantic girl. It also contains my favorite film scene ever. You will know it when you see it. It oozes cool. This movie actually made me love film again after being lukewarm on it for years. And, Anna Karina is the most beautiful woman ever, and shines in this film.

3. Late Spring - d. Yasijuro Ozu, Japan, 1949 - Ozu is one of our greatest directors. His films move s-l-o-w-l-y. Some say at the pace of life. Here a father wants to marry off his daughter. She wants to stay and take care of her father. All Ozu films focus on generational conflict in Japan. This is the best and most affecting.

4. Au hasard Balthazar - d. Robert Bresson France, 1966 - - Yes its a film about a girl and her donkey and the hardships both go through. No it isn't just that. I was more affected by the life of this donkey than nearly any person in any film. Beautiful.

5. No End - d. Krysztzof Kieslowski Poland, 1985 - A woman widowed by her husband attempts to find solace by contiuing on his work in the Solidarity movement through legal trials, at least for a bit. Kieslowski is only behind Godard on my list of favorites. This may be the saddest of his works though.

6. Birth - d. Jonathan Glazer USA, 2004 - Yes, there is Nicole Kidman and a 12 year old boy she is convinced is her husband reincarnated. It's more than that, though. This film is all about memory though. And it's nearly perfect.

7. Before Sunset - d. Richard Linklater USA, 2004 - Before Sunrise should probably be counted in this too as one film. But this is the better of the two. As two people get older, they deal with memory, love, regrets, life, dreams. As romantic as it gets, and as perfect an ending as possible.

8. Ugetsu - d. Kenji Mizoguchi Japan 1953 - 16th Century Japan, two peasants try to get rich against their wifes wishes during war time. A timeless moral fable, and visually the most beautiful black and white film ever, save #10 on this list.

9.The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance - d. John Ford USA, 1962 - The western is such an underappreciated genre. John Wayne may actually be an underappreciated actor. James Stewart is one of the all time greats.

10. A Place in the Sun - d. George Stevens USA, 1951 - The most beautiful black and white film ever made. Poor boy moves to LA to get job with rich uncle. Wants a place in the sun. falls in love with elizabeth taylor who was actually 18 and beautiful once, and then....Montgomery Clift is amazing in his lead role.

And just for good measure 20 which just missed the list...

11. Wings of Desire - Wim Wenders Germany 1987
12. Decalogue d. Krysztof Kieslowski Poland 1989
13. Small Change d. Francois Truffaut France 1976
14. Bob Le Flambeur d. Jean-Pierre Melville France 1955
15. Young Mr. Lincoln d. John Ford USA 1939
16. In the Mood for Love d. Wong Kar-Wai Japan 2000
17. Kwaidan d. Masaki Koboyashi Japan 1964
18. Do the Right Thing d.Spike Lee USA 1989
19. the Deer Hunter d. Michael Cimino USA 1978
20. Rear Window d. Alfred Hitchcock USA/England 1954
21. Crimes and Misdemeanors d. Woody Allen USA 1989
22. Three Colors d. Krysztzof Kieslowski Poland 1993-4
23. L'Aventura d.Michaelangelo Antonioni Italy 1960
24. The Searchers d. John Ford USA 1956
25. Beautiful Girls d. Ted Demme USA 1996
26. All the Real Girls d. David Gordon Green USA 2003
27. Solaris d. Andrei Tarkovsky Russia 1972
28. A Woman is a Woman d. Jean-Luc Godard France 1961
29. Le Petit Soldat d. Jean-Luc Godard France 1963
30. Eyes Wide Shut d. Stanley Kubrick England 1999


Anonymous said...


You are going to see Rules Of The Game for the first time on DVD!!??

Are you nuts?

Reel Fanatic said...

Great list ... My favorite Godard flick would have to be 400 Blows, but Contempt is also a masterpiece

scot said...

anonymous, sadly there are no arthouses in indy which will get a decent print of rules of the game

reel fanatic,

thanks, but 400 blows is truffaut, maybe contempt can move to your #1 Godard now! :)

Tim Froh said...

We actually showed Rules here at Doc Films last year in an apparently terrible print (I unfortunately had class). We do have an archive copy, but it's quality is also variable (and it may be 16mm which would be a travesty). I always enjoy reading your comments and find your top ten interesting. I don't if I can give you a top ten, but I can give you a top three:

1. The Rules of the Game (Renoir, 1939)
2. Sunrise (Murnau, 1928)
3. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1957)

Also, the Mizoguchi retrospective that has already premiered in NY is coming to Chicago at the end of this month (around Thanksgiving). I haven't seen any of his other films except Ugetsu (which I admittedly enjoy). A friend of mine here swears that his other films are all superior.

scot said...

Is the Mizoguchi retro definitely coming? It's not also at Doc is it? I may have a tough decision to make if I need to decide between the Mizoguchi retro or the showing of Godard's Nouvelle Vague. sadly my funds situation, especially around the holidays would not permit me to do both.

Did you ever watch the documentary on the second disc of the Criterion Ugetsu release? It really makes me want to see as much of his stuff as possible.

mike said...

Have you read about Kubrick telling a friend that Eyes Wide Shut was a piece of crap and that he let Tom and Nicole push him around?

I don't know where I read that.

scot said...


yeah, I've seen that mentioned recently, and truthfully I don't buy it. I forget who it was that actually said it, but apparently he has a track record of saying some strange things in regards to Kubrick.

oddly enough, i read your comment right after posting some thoughts on eyes wide shut.

Tim Froh said...

It'll be at the Music Box which is a pain in the ass for me (on the South side) to get to. It also has terrible parking and is for the most part a terrible theater. When I saw Seven Samurai there I was stuck between a guy about my height but I was craning my neck for all three hours of that movie's running time. Anyway, you can probably check their website (just google Music Box Theatre); it unfortunately won't be at Doc. That said, it's a touring retrospective of new prints, so (cross your fingers) hopefully it'll come to Indy.

Tim Froh said...

Oh, and the person in question (with regard to the Kubrick comment) is Sgt. Lee Ermey of Full Metal Jacket and Mail Call fame.