Tuesday, December 19, 2006

2006: Ten Favorite Older Films


Radley Metzger's The Lickerish Quartet (1970)

Seen for the first time this year, and in no particular order:

  • Teorema (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1968). A mysterious visitor (Terence Stamp) arrives at the home of a Milanese bourgeois family and proceeds to seduce them all one by one. Is he an angel? Or a devil? Whatever he is, Pasolini thinks of him as someone “authentic” who disrupts the placid and frozen surface of their life, driving them all toward madness. I realize that my brief plot summary makes it sound sort of schematic but the film is not at all rote or mechanical: it is constantly stupefying and full of mysterious formal gestures and performance details. Sex, politics, religion—they're all entities in the ‘theorem’ of the film’s title.

  • The Lickerish Quartet (Radley Metzger, 1970). Until I discovered Metzger this year, I had no idea that there existed cinema that was utterly serious both about its value as art and its value as softcore pornography. Metzger’s movies are almost Alain Resnais-like, preoccupied with memory and strewn with atemporal shot-fragments, flashbacks and flash-forwards both real and imagined. The Lickerish Quartet is a collection of sexual fantasies played out in a picturesque European castle. These flights of fancy are rolled up into Pirandellian games of reality and fiction, and their nexus is, meta-cinematically, a movie projector in the living room that throws images on a screen, images that may be equally ‘true’ or ‘false.’ Great, imaginative film, both intellectually playful and, it must be said, inventively titillating. Next in line to check out: Walerian Borowczyk.

  • Love Streams (John Cassavetes, 1984). In a just world, it’s performances like these—by Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands in Love Streams—that would win Oscars; no Academy Award-winning performances I’ve ever seen can match their emotional truth and power. The physical presence of these characters and the complexity of their desires make you think—this is what human beings are really like! In the wake of Cassavetes films, other movies can feel a bit fake and cartoony in their human depictions….

  • The Chelsea Girls (Andy Warhol, 1966). When I was a kid, I used to think that Ben-Hur was an epic film. No, this is an epic film. I'd propose that what makes an epic film is not just its length or its large cast of characters but how vast and challenging it can be to fully apprehend on one viewing. The Chelsea Girls is composed of twelve little mini-films (or sequences), each running about a half-hour. At any time, two of these films are projected simultaneously on the screen, with the sound of only one being heard. Each of the individual films comprises one shot with no edits. The Chelsea Girls runs three-and-a-half hours, without intermission. The film opens and closes with Nico and in between is a set of mostly improvised performances by Factory regulars. It’s thrilling, funny, boring, creepy, gross, wicked, laughable, disturbing, sadistic—epic stuff. (More reading on the film here.)

  • The Woman Of Rumor (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954). Mother and daughter fall in love with the same man; he is a client at the geisha house the mother runs. Tradition and modernity—kimonos and business suits—collide with each other both in the storyline of the film and in the film frame. The aggressively patterned décor—slatted partitions, latticed windows, gridded railings—hold the women vice-like. I also realized how much Mizoguchi likes to use art-making and art-experiencing as an explicit element in his films. He shows us characters watching a Noh play which echoes the story of our film; it’s like a double voyeurism. Later, we see two scenes of eavesdropping, with mother and daughter. (More patterned voyeurism.) When the film ended, I overheard the Japanese man sitting next to me tell his companion that the the word “geisha” was never heard in the film, only seen in the subtitles. The film referred to the women simply as prostitutes.

  • A program of films by Jean Painlevé accompanied live by Yo La Tengo. Painlevé made uniquely unclassifiable experimental documentaries about marine life which were poetic, witty and scientifically rigorous but also had the deep enchantment of art. I saw this program at Buffalo’s old and historic Shea’s Theatre. Perhaps because I was sitting in the fourth row, not far from the band, my memory of this evening is physical. My body remembers this film—big, strong waves of sound and image crashing into the audience—as much as my mind does.

  • Lonesome (Paul Fejos, 1928). A masterpiece of silent cinema that I caught at George Eastman House; I had never even heard of it. It follows one day in the lives of a man and a woman in New York City. Both of them are single and lonely. The formal invention in this film is to be seen to be believed. Rhythmic parallel editing, lightning dissolves, multiple superimpositions, fluidly mobile camera—they were performing all this intricate magic in….1928? Interestingly, the film was released right after the coming of sound, and at the last minute three dialogue sequences were shot and shoehorned into the film. They are stiff and static, and the dialogue is risibly banal. But I loved that these scenes made it into the film because it showed by contrast how stunning the silent sequences were in their freedom and imaginativeness. This movie is crying out for wider discovery on DVD.

  • Zabriskie Point (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1970). The MGM logo has probably never preceded a film so un-Hollywood-like and experimental. The movie has three sections, all disjunctively different. The opening section, which includes the famous student meeting scene, has a loose, improvised feel (unlike other Antonioni); the second section sets us down in an engulfing landscape (very much like other Antonioni); and the third section ends with the most orgasmic explosion in movies. I had a pan-scan VHS copy of this film for years that I could never bring myself to watch; I tossed the tape soon after seeing it in teeming widescreen in the theater.

  • Shaolin Soccer (Stephen Chow, 2001). Cinephiles are suckers for films that exploit the unique powers of cinema, films that simply won't translate to other art-forms like literature, theatre, etc., without serious loss. Nearly every moment in Shaolin Soccer might qualify on this count. The ideas per foot of celluloid here are amazing. Not one opportunity for filmic ingenuity goes untapped: composition, camera movement, staging, editing, the physical movement of the actors, and of course, CGI—they’re all jaw-dropping, but in a playful, not in a pretentious or overblown, way. Alas, I’ve only managed to see the butchered Miramax version.

  • And now to cheat by squeezing into this final slot some great ones I've already had a chance to blog about in the last few months: Jacques Tati's Playtime (1967); Roberto Rossellini's India Matri Bhumi (1958); Pedro Costa's Ossos (1997); the experimental films of Martin Arnold; and Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet's The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach (1968).

If you're in the mood, please feel free to share any great older films you might've discovered this year....

56 Comments:

Blogger Zach Campbell said...

Girish, I'm jealous you got a chance to see Lonesome--I've wanted to for years, ever since seeing it mentioned in Rosenbaum's AFI article. And once again I kick myself for missing late Antonioni films. (Is Zabriskie Point weirder than Hopper's The Last Movie? I have to know!)

And Teorema is a great, great film! Nice choices, Girish ...

I'll be doing my own older films post (I don't see enough new films to do a decent rundown of them), but I'll say that off the top of my head some of the major experiences of the year were Godard (catching up with ones I'd never seen or revisiting old favorites), flicker films (Sharits, Conrad, McClure, Kubelka), catching up with a few major Bunuel classics, Robert Breer, Satantango, and lately Rossellini (on whom I've sadly had to focus energy at the expense of Rivette--sorry Rivette-ians, under normal circumstances I'd be there with you). The single greatest experience of the year had to be seeing Love Streams--second time 'round, first in 35mm.

December 19, 2006 9:53 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Zach, I'd give anything to see The Last Movie! I've been hearing about it for so long...

After reading violently negative reviews of Zabriskie Point for a long time (even Seymour Chatman's book on Antonioni totally and cluelessly trashes the film!), I was amazed by how fresh and visually voluptuous and wonderfully weird it is...

I've never seen any flicker films, and missed a chance to see Conrad present his films here (where he lives and works) a couple of weeks back.

I look forward to your own older films post, Zach. And thank you for turning me on to Metzger during our very first blog-a-thon, Showgirls, a year ago....

December 19, 2006 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Filmbrain said...

Great list Girish.

The problem with seeing Love Streams, especially in a year full of such mediocrity, is that it makes almost everything else pale by comparison.

Though I've seen both The Last Movie and Zabriskie Point several times, this was the first time I saw them screened in beautiful prints and, more importantly, with a sold-out crowd. It was like seeing them for the first time.

December 19, 2006 12:41 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Girish, a screening of Mizoguchi and Painleve films accompanied live by Yo La Tengo -- those had to be killer!

There were certain older films that I discovered this year that have forever altered how I think about the cinema: Mizoguchi's Ugetsu, Ozu's Late Spring, and Zhang's Raise the Red Lantern. Ugetsu is the most mysterious and magical, especially in a purely visual sense; Late Spring is easily the most moving, and I think it's a more beautiful looking film than Tokyo Story; and Raise the Red Lantern is, for me at least, the most formally interesting. Of the three, I liked Red Lantern the most; painterly, as deeply dramatic as a Shakespearean tragedy, with some incomparably good acting and devastating social commentary. Some of Zhang's images are forever seared into my brain.

December 19, 2006 1:54 PM  
Anonymous Thom said...

I have that pan-and-scan Zabriskie Point tape, G. I watched it once, but couldn't stand the unstable viewing experience and never watched it again—not even to hear the otherwise unreleased Pink Floyd songs; I just bought the soundtrack instead. Your and Filmbrain's comments have encouraged me to make this one of the films that I must revisit in widescreen...as soon as I figure out how.

December 19, 2006 2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favourite older film of the year was probably Mizoguchi's Sisters of Gion , partly because I'd never seen anything like it before (it seems incredibly modern in many ways), and especially because it bewitched me despite a terribly poor print. I'm hoping to see the big-screen print shortly.

It was also good to finally catch up with a couple of key African films, especially Mandabi and Touki-Bouki.

Next year, I think I'd like to go back and re-visit some of my favourite older American films; I'm also keen to discover some of the pre-Hays Code films recently released on DVD, and continue my more-or-less constant trawling of all aspects of French cinema.

December 19, 2006 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Aaron Hillis said...

Girish, did you get my email a few days ago? I need your mailing address ASAP for some holiday love... can you send it on over, por favor?

December 19, 2006 3:09 PM  
Anonymous David Lowery said...

The best film I've seen this year is also the best old film: Melville's Army Of Shadows. New Yorkers take note, it's coming for a return engagement at the Film Forum next week!

I've never seen any Rossellini films, but all these postings on him of late - as well as seeing Guy Madden and Isabella Rossellini's beautiful My Dad Is 100 Years Old - has urged me to bump all available titles to the top of my Netflix queue.

December 19, 2006 3:45 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

What a great list idea, Girish!! As ever, you facilitate analysis. But how difficult! With so many traveling retrospectives coming through the Bay Area this year, it's actually hard to condense what I've seen down to 10; but, since it must be done!

Jean-Pierre Melville: Army of Shadows—Rich performances in this one. Worth the price of seeing Simone Signoret's face when she realizes she's going to be gunned down in the street. I was struck by how so much was said in this movie without words. True cinematic visuals.

Agnès Varda: Cléo From 5 to 7—I loved this film, its frothiness, its feminine perspective, and hope to have a post up on it sometime in the near future. But it keeps getting bumped to a back burner due to more pressing commitments. At least I get to tip my hat to it via this list.

Jacques Demy: Donkey Skin—I am, admittedly, a sucker for the fairy tale mise-en-scène, especially this one with its Cocteauesque flourishes and its fanciful anachronisms. Deneuve was never lovelier and never more apt a princess.

Marco Bellocchio: Fists in the Pocket—I knew nothing about Bellocchio before the San Francisco Film Society's New Italian Cinema festival. It was wonderful to have him introduce and comment upon his films. Lou Castel's performance in this film remains riveting. I've reviewed the film but have as yet to transcribe the informative Q&A. Hopefully, soon. Again, this list mollifies my procrastination.

Stuart Cooper: Overlord—We're so lucky here in San Francisco to have a programmer like Gary Meyer who has such a keen eye for unearthing gems like this one. It's great that it got some distribution and I hope some of you got to see it.

Georg Wilhelm Pabst: Pandora's Box—have I really not written this up? I can't believe it. It was a sold-out event at the Castro Theater this year with everyone who's anyone in Bay Area film culture in attendance. I'm beginning to feel guilty about listing these marvelous cinematic treasures without even having commented on them on my blog. Never enough time, even with a man who has nothing but time.

Dardenne Brothers: Rosetta—the Pacific Film Archives recently had a retrospective of the films of the Dardenne Brothers and, first and foremost, it fulfilled a dream I had of seeing these films projected on a screen. I had only seen them on dvd. Rosetta I had never seen and I found it profoundly disturbing and transcendent. Another one that I really wanted to write something about but so much has already been written and far better than I could hope to attain.

Frank Borzage: Seventh Heaven—Drippingly romantic and a wonderful exposure to silent movies the way they're meant to be seen, with a Mighty Wurlitzer, and an appreciative, adoring audience. Incidentally, the director of the Silent Film Festival, Stephen Samuels, has just been awarded the Marlon Riggs Award by the San Francisco Critics Circle for his outstanding contribution to film culture. Walking away from a film like this tingling to my toes, you can understand just what he's done, just what he's given.

Víctor Erice: The Spirit of the Beehive—Here's another treasure that I've actually seen three times this year. I can't seem to get enough of it. Haunting, sad, beautiful. And one of the most ingenious usages of cinematic citation I have ever seen.

Kenji Mizoguchi: Ugetsu—I'm right with you, Michael, on this one. I saw it twice this year, first on Turner Classics and then at the Pacific Film Archives. Friends of mine weren't as taken with it as I was, found it static, which I couldn't understand at all. It is a timeless beautiful piece.

Hmmmm. Now that I review that top ten and realize how few of them I've written up, it makes me wonder if the richer a cinematic experience, the more difficult to articulate?

December 19, 2006 3:47 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Merci, tout le monde!

Filmbrain, I didn't realize Zabriskie Point had a NYC limited release this year; I hope that means it's on its way to DVD....

Michael, that's some great Asian film viewing there. I hope Criterion decides to issue some remastered Mizoguchi, like Sansho the Bailiff or Oharu or The Story of the LAst Chrysanthemum....

Thom, I didn't know about the soundtrack going in but it works surprisingly well. (Great Jerry Garcia tune....) The print was radiant too, especially because it's such a sun-drenched film....

Gareth, as luck would have it, I have Sisters of the Gion waiting to be watched. I stole a look at the first few minutes over the weekend (the great long take traveling shot that opens the film!)....

Aaron, Sorry for not replying sooner. I just sent you a message. Gracias, amigo....

David, I'm hoping this means Army of Shadows will get a DVD release. It's playing Eastman soon, along with Old Joy and Frank Borzage's films, and I can only go up for one or two of those screenings....

Powerful list, Maya! Thanks for posting it, and for putting Seventh Heaven on it. It seals my decision--I *will* drive up to Eastman House to catch it in a couple of weeks. (I'm a big Borzage fan.)

December 19, 2006 4:49 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Take a tissue. It jerks the heartstrings no matter how crusty you are.

December 19, 2006 5:29 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Maya--Three Comrades and Farewell To Arms, both Borzages, reduced me to a little puddle...

December 19, 2006 5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I’d never seen Barbara Loden’s Wanda (1971) until it came out on DVD this year. Although it received enthusiastic reviews in its day, it had a limited run and rarely played outside of urban areas. Loden was married to Elia Kazan, and she had a brief but memorable role as Warren Beatty’s alcoholic sister in Splendor in the Grass (1961). Wanda, however, is unlike anything Kazan had attempted. Stark, aloof, it traces the steps of a woman distanced from societal norms. It veers into the genre of a bank robbery picture, but instead emerges as a portrait of the loneliness consuming someone inherently incapable of assimilating. There are long, slow stretches in the film, such as the single take of Wanda’s lengthy trek through a field, and plenty of sad, haunting images, notably her drinking at the bar near the end. Tom Sutpen wrote an excellent review of it here.

December 19, 2006 5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too sound a hurrah at the mention of Army of Shadows, though it doesn't really count for nous Américains, oui?

The other "older" films I saw this year that made the biggest impression on me were, in no particular order:

-Harry Smith's Mahagonny (1980), which ignited my dormant curiosity about avant-garde film (Girish, I submit that this, too, is an "epic" film)

-McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) and Nashville (1975) in advance of the opening of Prarie Home Companion (2006). So this is what everyone's talking about when the extoll the brilliance of Robert Altman, I thought...

-Minnie & Moskowitz (1971). I already liked Cassavetes, but... wow. I echo everyone else's sentiments about Love Streams and apply them to this film.

December 19, 2006 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very cool post! With the holidays, I doubt I'll get around to writing up a longer post (though I'd like to, especially about some of the film series' I saw, but never really wrote about), so I'll try a list... Might be in order, as far as that means anything.

1) Flowers of St. Francis - I've never been disappointed by Rosselini. Beautiful, funny, great stuff.
2) Spirit of the Beehive - it's played around before, but this is the first time I went, for some reason. Lived up to expectations.
3) This is cheating, but I saw a 7 film Luc Moullet series last spring - all of it a joy. Plenty of standouts - especially Anatomy of a Relationship and his first two films, Brigitte and Brigitte and The Smugglers - though A Girl is a Gun, with Jean-Pierre Leaud as the least likely western gunslinger on the planet deserves special mention. Definitely the best series I saw last year.
4) Blood of a Poet - a halloween treat, along with The Clergyman and the Seashell.
5) Pitfall - early Teshigahara - his strange, disruptive style applied to overt politics.
6) Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Law of Desire - another great series. I'd seen most of Almodovar's 90s and 00s films, but not so much of the 80s stuff. I'd always thought him a little overrated, but I'd say these two especially earn him his reputation.
7) Enthusiasm - Dziga Vertov filming the five year plan, in sound.
8) Withnail & I - saw this as part of maybe the funiest double feature of the year - with The Big Lebowski. Another of those films people talk about almost too much - it can't really be as good as they let on. But turns out to be, maybe not a great film, but a funny, clever film, that keeps nagging at your memory.
9) The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean - another series - John Huston. I went to a bunch of them, but this is the only one I hadn't seen. Paul Newman skulking around, hanging people, fighting... Miscellaneous over the top cameos from the likes of Anthony Perkins and a bear.
10) Gilda - another fine old film I'd managed to miss so far...

I don't know whether to put Army of Shadows on here or not - it's definitely in the range of these films, but it was also given a regular theatrical release - I don't know. Actually, I suppose the real reason I'm separating it is to be able to list more films.

December 19, 2006 8:57 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Flickhead -- I've been meaning to Netflix Wanda for a while now, and I did not know about Splendor in the Grass, which I saw for the first time last year. I remember her well in it. Thanks for linking to Tom's review.

Andy -- I've only heard about Mahoganny as legend, and have never seen it. I picked up the Minnie & Moskowitz DVD for three bucks at K-Mart (!) and look forward to seeing it....

Weeping Sam -- Ah, thanks for recommending Withnail; I've seen it on video store shelves forever but had no idea if it was worth seeing. Now I'll know to give it a spin.

btw, a word about the above image for this post. I didn't crop the image, it's a full screen grab of a scene from Radley Metzger's Lickerish Quartet in which a man and a woman make love on the floor of a library; the floor is covered with large lexicographical patterns (!) of dictionary pages with 'sexual' words. They're rolling around, and the camera swims around with them; the hand belongs to the woman.

December 19, 2006 10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, Army of Shadows was for me the restoration event of the year and, arguably, the decade so far (though on that score Big Red One comes close). A lot of energy was invbested in that restoration so I'd be beyond shocked if an excellent DVD edition wasn't forthcoming. Army of Shadows is EPIC.

I saw two movies with the stench of the undead for the first time this year: Kwaidan and Herzog's version of Noseferatu. Nosferatu, as my friend said to me after the film, starts with the shots of those amazing mummified corpses as if to say "we are humans and condemned to die and here the myths we tell to make sense of this fact." Kwaidan's elegant suspense was, for me, at it's stongest in the 'Hoichi the Earless' segment.

I also saw Aguirre, Der Zorn Gottes for the 1st time in '06... I was painfully under-Herzog-ed before, but now I'm making up for it. Mein Got, that opening shot! That jungle! Those monkeys! (I swear I thought Kinski would eat one).

Other assorted notes:
The early scene-set of Zoo in Budapest taught me more about montage than reading Bazin ever did, 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her was a masterclass in Brecht as well as cinematic diversion, while The Rules of the Game was a masterclass in pretty much everything relating to the movies. Spirit of the Beehive revealed itself in many ways as the model for one of my favorite non-Almodovar Spanish films, Julio Medem's Vacas. Claude Lelouch's C'était un Rendez-vous proved to be one of the most physically intense viewing experiences I've had, and that was watching it on YouTube - which also proved that the big screen could take over the small one as much as the reverse.

I'm sure I've got more but they evade me at the moment so I'll follow up later. oh, to say I'm jealous that you saw Lonesome is an understatement...

December 19, 2006 11:05 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Being in the boondocks of Pennsylvania (not stuck, it's my--our--choice to settle here), I don't exactly get the cream of the crop (that Rivette screening I'm especially jealous of). But I manage.

Army of Shadows was tremendous, of course--strangely enough, it's the second time I've seen this on 35 mm (it was shown in Manila, during a French Embassy festival). Also finally managed to see the reconstructed The Big Red One.

Managed to see what Bresson is available on DVD--even, surprisingly, L'Argent and Lancelot du Lac. Managed to see Aldrich's Ulzana's Raid, which was quite an experience, the first time I really got Aldrich's greatness (I'd seen Kiss Me Deadly several times before). Was also impressed by Kaufman's The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, and two by Hubert Cornfield. And I'm starting to agree with the sentiment that Spirit of the Beehive may be one of the greatest, if not THE greatest Spanish film ever made.

Also managed to see Whale's Showboat, Abras los ojos, Night Moves, and The Green Ray. Plus Trouble in Paradise, and the tremendous Quatermass and the Pit.

Not to mention I managed to see the Spanish DVD of Campanadas a medianoche--one of my all-time favorite films, and one I'd seen on 35 mm over ten years ago, in Detroit of all places...

Just being able to rent all these DVDs/see all these films on cable is no small thing, especially as there's a dearth of older films available in Manila (with some notable exceptions abovementioned).

But I'd say my most memorable viewings were of older Filipino films--Gerardo de Leon's two (much unappreciated) vampire films, Mario O'Hara's tragically unseen Uhaw na Pagibig, and, above all, Lino Brocka's almost as unseen masterpiece, Bona.
Truism it may be, but sometimes your most special finds are in your own back yard, so to speak.

December 20, 2006 1:31 AM  
Anonymous Adrian said...

Marvellous list, Girish!

For me, the great ‘old movie’ revelation was (on DVD) Stephen Dwoskin’s Behindert from the ‘70s – an absolute masterpiece, where Dwoskin (who, because of polio, gets around on crutches) and great German actress Carola Regnier ‘recreate’ their love relationship from start (over a dinner-party table) to finish (her walking away down the street). Constructed in ‘tableaux’ of about 10 minutes each (one of which rates among cinema’s greatest sex scenes), with an incredible avant-garde music score, it’s intimate, painful, completely extraordinary – sort of a Garrelian narrative before Garrel started making them, with the same autobiographical pang, but also with an entirely unique exploration of a complex and dynamic ‘first person’ camera. Dwoskin is a shamefully under-known and underrated artist, and this is one of the summits of his great career.

I had the good fortune to spend a few months goofing off in Paris this year (after quitting my 11-year job as a weekly newspaper film reviewer), and treated myself to virtually one old big-screen experience a day. In that context, and in a new, immaculately restored print. Mankiewicz’s The Barefoot Contessa – which I have always liked – just hit me with full force as the monument it is: profound and rich. And Ava Gardner!

Since I did three DVD audio commentaries for Godard films this year (for the Australian company Madman), I got in touch, again, with his work. Always a good thing to do! And I was able to identify two of his very best, at either end of his career: Vivre sa vie, deeper than I ever thought it was, and On the Origin of the 21st Century (available on an ECM DVD) , among his best and most haunting video collages.

Ditto for Resnais – I finally saw his lovely film about a library, All the Memory of the World; and caught again – this time on a big screen – L’amour à mort (Love Unto Death): that one is devastating, a superb dramatic essay on faith, agnosticism, and the mystery of ‘resurrection’. For me, it formed a double-bill with another rare and remarkable film I caught on-screen at the time, Ingmar Bergman’s made-for-TV After the Rehearsal.

In the same series of French classics at the Champo in Paris where I saw the Resnais feature, I also saw at last Pialat’s À nos amours: every bit the equal of the finest Cassavetes masterpieces! The editing, the mise en scène, the acting, everything: it’s all dazzling in Pialat’s distinctive ‘action painting’ way – and what an intense depiction of the father-daughter bond! (Also caught at the Champo: Tati’s magnificent Parade plus his last, little-seen short edited after his death, a very Tati-esque documentary about a soccer match in a small town.)

Borowczyk has come up a few times here; I’ve followed his work for years, but it was another revelation to finally see his classic animated shorts of the ‘50s and ‘60s (available as extras on a French DVD): they were decades before their time, and incredibly influential on so many cutting-edge animators.

I know we’re not talking about new films here, but I also liked: A History of Violence, The Host, The New World, The Black Dahlia, Ten Canoes, Basic Instinct 2 and My Super Ex-Girlfriend!

December 20, 2006 1:55 AM  
Blogger David said...

Thanks for asking for the input! Far too many to list, but there are two I can't get out of my head. First, Chimes at Midnight (in 35mm!), which rather impossibly and joyously races through life as though death were the only thing left--in its modest scale it leaves few emotions untapped. The tenderness of every shot, and the brutality and fluidity with which they're packed together, cutting each other off furiously, makes me wonder if Peckinpah saw it, and if his Wild Bunch really is the fastest cut film of the 60s. I'd do nearly anything to see it again.

The second, Anatomy of a Murder, I love for the opposite reasons--it's anything but sweeping, and maybe the best example of real termite art I've encountered, burrowing down into a courtroom to peel away layers of human performance (and I hate courtroom dramas). Somehow the people are more like real people I recognize than any other movie I can think of, even while they remain impossible to fully grasp as distinct characters. Famously, of course, it imposes no viewpoint, leaving us queasily to judge the characters for ourselves, but it's also completely stylish at the same time--Ellington's jazz score is perfect for a film in which the story and characterizations are mostly discernible as themes to be riffed off of.

December 20, 2006 2:31 AM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

Interesting list. Teorema was my first Pasolini film. I also saw Zabriskie Point once, at a students' screening. Strangely, you've seen one of the few Metzger films I haven't seen. I also saw Shoalin Soccer on DVD and Chow's full version is included, as well as the Weinstein cut. I hope you can find time to see Chow's King of Comedy. I still haven't seen Lonesome but curiously, my Significant Other, who claimed to not care for silent films, has become more enthusiastic since going to the San Francisco Silent Film Festival and also seeing Capra's Submarine.

By the way, at a DVD/VCD rental outlet here in Chiang Mai, I spotted a VCD of Black Narcissus starring "Deborah Keer"!

December 20, 2006 2:39 AM  
Blogger Mubarak Ali said...

Hey Girish - great list, with some of my favourites too! Especially love: Chelsea Girls (the segments I love the most are both the Ondine ones, anything with Nico, and Eric Emerson talking about his sweat!), Lonesome (which I also saw this year - a masterpiece comparable to Murnau's Sunrise and Vigo's L'Atalante), not to mention Love Streams and Teorema. I'd love to see Zabriskie Point in widescreen - I've only seen it on that terrible pan-scan vhs, but still consider it one of my favourite Antonioni films. Oh, and my Metzger pick of the year: Score, probably followed by The Image. Both are on DVD, of course.

I've been thinking about doing this kind of recap for older films too... It should clear my head and sort of condense so many unrealised posts throughout the year.

December 20, 2006 4:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Noel Vera mentioned Hubert Cornfield, an otherwise overlooked director. He had a passion for his work, which becomes evident in his DVD commentaries - recorded while he's struggling for breath in ill health. Another of his films that's worth tracking down is Plunder Road (1957), unavailable on DVD, and horribly cropped in a pan/scan VHS version released ages ago.

December 20, 2006 7:18 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Whoa, so much fun reading....Thank you, all!

Adrian, that Paris sojourn sounds pretty much un-toppable--Wow. Thank you for the many viewing ideas: Dwoskin, Pialat, Barefoot Contessa....I've seen none. Your comments and asides quicken my interest for each of the films/filmmakers you mention....And thanks for tipping us off to the Madman/Godard DVDs with commentaries: they sound like cinephile must-owns!

I caught a Resnais shorts program in Toronto 5 years ago that is one of my most unforgettable screening memories: Toute la memoire du monde, Van Gogh, Guernica, Le Chant du Styrene, Les statues meurent aussi, all on one bill. To dream for a sec here: how cool it would be to find all those preserved on one precious DVD!

Dave, I recently discovered your "Chained to the Cinematheque" blog and look forward to keeping up with your posts.

Noel, I didn't know whether you lived in the Philippines or in the States. PA, eh? And thanks for corralling all those links in one place.

David, what I remember most about Anatomy of a Murder are the unusually long-held shots (for classical Hollywood anyway), lots of moving the camera rather than cutting, and Duke playing a Nat Cole-style piano player in a bar. And you're so right about Preminger's withholding of judgment....

Peter, Duh! I didn't realize the full Chow version was on the DVD. I must've simply clicked on the default version. Thanks for the tip-off. And I hope you're out of the hospital in Chiang Mai, and out & about.

Mubarak, those are also my favorite segments, especially Nico. The Eric Emerson bit is far-out! Re: Metzger, I haven't seen Score yet but I noticed Zach had it in his counter-canon. And I'd never heard of The Image. Goody.

Flickhead, Hubert Cornfield is also new to me....

Well, cars are jamming the streets today and holiday shopping fever is at its peak. Think I'll stay indoors and self-curate a triple....I'm in the mood for some Rossellini, Hawks, Makavejev....

December 20, 2006 9:42 AM  
Blogger Zach Campbell said...

Hmmmm. I've heard decent things about Hubert Cornfield along the lines of "minor but certifiably under-recognized talent" for years--better add something to the to-see list, as comments here are the final kick in the pants for me. Flickhead, do you know if anyone's done a double bill of Cornfield's Plunder Road with Ripley's Thunder Road? I haven't seen either yet but now I can't imagine introducing myself to these two films in any other way ...

Let me echo praise for À nos amours--quite possibly the best thing Pialat's done (I haven't seen 2-3 of his features and some other works though). I'd say it's one of the indisputable high points of 1980s cinema along with the likes of Videodrome, Sans soleil, Love Streams (there we go again), and a few others. I imagine it plays well on a television screen, too.

December 20, 2006 10:59 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Great--A Nos Amours and Loulou are both (I recently realized) netflixable...

December 20, 2006 11:07 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

For most memorable older film I saw this year, that’s easy. Melville’s ‘69 Army of Shadows. And for the best film I saw this year, Army of Shadows. Most powerful cinematic moment in the theater? Army of Shadows. Film that stuck the most to my ribs, again, Army of Shadows. One could say I liked it.

Also got to see Antonioni’s The Passenger (1975) in the theater. I’m thinking its pretty much necessary to see all of Antonioni’s films on the large screen. This is the only one I’ve had an opportunity to do so with, but what a difference. Prior, Antonioni tended to slip on by without taking me along, but The Passenger from start to finish never dropped. Although, I’ve always enjoyed the flight scene in Zabriskie Point ;-)

December 20, 2006 11:40 AM  
Blogger Maya said...

Wonderful suggestions all around. I'm heartened to read my taste isn't too idiosyncratic. Or rather, that I've found an idiosyncratic lot who can hear me out. Heh.

Just wanted to mention that this is also one of the best years for seeing older films because of the Janus 50-year retrospective, which is not only being released on dvd, but traveling around the country to select cities, and also being screened on both TCM and IFC if you pay attention to your calendars. For example, Tuesday nights are Janus films night on IFC. Having caught Eastwood's new flick on Iwo Jima this week, I was intrigued by the three war movies offered on IFC last night. They were of such good caliber that I just sat there watching one after the other. They were: Grigori Chukrai's Ballad Of A Solider, Andrzej Wajda's Ashes and Diamonds and Kon Ichikawa's Fires on the Plain. I could have easily added any of those three onto my list.

I only mention this to those who don't have as ready access to traveling retrospectives as some of us do in the larger urban centers.

December 20, 2006 1:03 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Oh, and I meant to mention that I too adored Rosselini's Flowers of Saint Francis, which I just saw last week at the Castro Theatre. Yet again, another film I want so much to write about. I was turned on to it through Martin Scorsese's Voyage to Italy and have been looking forward to seeing it on the big screen. What a beautiful film, rendered all the more poignant for being seen in San Francisco, a city dedicated to the film's patron saint, and a city that--like the film's title character--has wept while embraced its ill.

December 20, 2006 1:06 PM  
Anonymous acquarello said...

Adrian said: "For me, the great ‘old movie’ revelation was (on DVD) Stephen Dwoskin’s Behindert from the ‘70s"

That's funny, I was going to suggest the Dwoskin Renard release as well. Before that, I'd only seen his Dyn Amo which really baffled me and Dad (from NYVF) which was autobiographical and melancholic, but also too brief to get a sense of what makes a Steve Dwoskin film a Steve Dowskin film (Why the over-lingering gaze? Why the repetition? Heck, why all the randiness?). Seeing his films within the context of this hinderedness is really quite interesting because it's another representation of otherness that we're not used to seeing. Also, there's something quite erotic and physical about his images that aren't "quite right", transgressive even, that equally enraptures and frustrates, like in Lost Dreams where it's almost a perfect evocation of desire and seduction, until he goes too far with the final, fuzzy shot of a saluting Mr. Fireman. Too jar us back to reality, I guess, but also to confront the nature of voyeurism.

Anyway, I had a great time discovering the films of Johan van der Keuken from the two French boxsets this year. Before that, I had only seen his name in passing with respect to other filmmakers I admire like Trinh T. Minh-ha and Jean Rouch. If I had to single one out, it would have to be Brass Unbound with its brilliant commentary of colonialization and cultural imperialism.

December 20, 2006 3:22 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

girish, I live in PA. I depend on Netflix and what little trickles through the arthouse circuit, not to mention TCM and IFC (Sundance has interesting choices, on occasion).

Hubert Cornfield I got turned on to when he was mentioned in a_film_by.

As for Filipino films, some of it I get from official sources--Gerardo de Leon's two vampire movies I recommend, not only for the jawdroppingly small budgets (his vampire bat is essentially a felt cutout being flapped on a stick), but for the nevertheless interesting mis-en-scene he invests even in the cheesiest projects.

I think he's great, maybe the equal of Kurosawa or Aldrich, albeit on a far smaller budget.

Other stuff--well, I Still Have My Ways.

I just looked at my long-unwatched VCD of Burlesk Queen, and discovered it has subtitles. It's available from this online company, tho I honestly can't say you'll still get a subbed version (it doesn't say so, and my copy I got three years ago), and it's a terrible video transfer, all fuzzy and dim and all, with lousy sound, and sometimes the frame goes up or down that either the titles are obscured or the top of their heads cut off.

But I think it's a great film. Filmmaker Mario O'Hara thinks of all Filipino filmmakers, Celso Ad. Castillo has the most talented eye, even superior to Gerardo de Leon. I don't know if I agree; I have to think about that for a while. But he's breathtaking to watch, even on a lousy VCD copy (playable on a DVD player--a Phillips, anyway).

December 20, 2006 10:47 PM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

Girish: I've been out of the hospital since Saturday. Sadly, I have to give up eating hot curry, so I'll be more limited in what Indian foods I can enjoy.

Regarding Cornfield, check out Night of the Following Day. I saw it in NYC in a Brando double feature with Pontecorvo's Burn!.

December 21, 2006 12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

one more that comes to mind: this year I had my first real exposure to Terence Malick - Days of Heaven. Previously I had only seen The Thin Red Line on DVD, so seeing a Malick on the big screen was a revelation. Malick's work appears closer to the work of a Rennaisance painter than that of a filmmaker, in that he's a painter of broad scenes with a dual eye toward the impressive beauty of the scene and what their placement within the frame tells you about his characters in the world. He's especially interested in the relationship between his characters and the world they inhabit - most of all as a stand in for the idea of humans vs. nature, or maybe humans vs. expansive natural space.

let me add that I am with Brian on the essentialness of Army of Shadows, the newest addition to my All-Time Top 5. Girish, your desire to keep up with my blog may help end my recent hiatus. It's a delicate balance between writing about cinema and finding time to create it, but I'm working to make time for both.

December 21, 2006 12:51 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Girish, what a great post, evidence of a year of active cinema-scouring. I saw the haunting Zabriskie Point for the first time towards the end of 2005, and placed it on a somewhat similar list I made up a year ago. I'm anxious to finalize this year's edition of that effort, but I don't feel right doing it quite yet, knowing there are still a few late-December screenings I'm thinking of attending.

On the other hand I was one of the many sad San Francisco moviegoers who neglected to buy a ticket for Yo La Tengo's premiere performance of those Painlevé shorts before the event was sold out five and a half years ago. I keep hoping they'll come back for a return engagement; in the meantime I've caught up with a number of Painlevé films on video and fallen in love with them.

I totally agree with your comments on Teorema and Shaolin Soccer. The latter is one of the only recent special effects films I've seen in which the reliance on computer-aided effects was not distracting but felt like an appropriate, creative application of the technology (perhaps mirroring the Chiau character's creative application of kung fu to something other than fighting).

The others I have yet to see. At least one of them (Lonesome has already secured a slot on another list I'm working on, a Frisco Bay cinema screening "wish list" for 2007. I may add a few others from your and your commenters' selections to that list as well).

December 21, 2006 4:00 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Brian S., Maya, Acquarello, Noel, Peter, Dave, Brian D. -- Many thanks for all the recommendations! They make for great reading.

I find a sharp uptick in my viewing pace soon after I do a post requesting viewing recommendations/tips...!

Brian, thanks for that link. They're doing both Seventh Heaven and Street Angel at Eastman in a couple of weeks. I had decided to drive up for the former but after seeing the latter on your list, I'm now very tempted to go up, a week later, for that one too....Some of these Borzages are so hard to come by....

December 21, 2006 9:15 AM  
Blogger girish said...

--Film Comment 2006 Critics Poll results.
--At PopLicks: Best Quotes of 2006.
--A good and long post by David Byrne on the Miami/Basel art fair.
--Music/mp3 posts at Darren's and Eric's.

December 21, 2006 9:43 AM  
Blogger girish said...

There's no Village Voice poll this year but in its place, there is the IndieWire Critics poll.

December 21, 2006 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Mas said...

A man escaped:I could not take my eyes from the screen. I'm coming late to Bresson, but better late than never.

El sur: I'm not sure if a film from 1983 classifies as 'old', but rather than worrying about definitions and categories, I'm just going to say I found this film utterly compelling. The weight of the past affecting the present: there's something so powerful and so touching about that for me. I'm longing to see Erice's Spirit of the beehive now, but trying to hold out for it on the big screen.

Two Tarkovskys: Mirror and Andrei Rublev. I find Tarkovsky pulls me into his way of being, his timing and pacing and framing, and I experience his films, rather than watching and analysing them. And those non-sequitur sequences that open his films: puzzling, beautiful gifts.

I quadzuple everyone else on L'armee des ombres.

A nos amours: I hadn't thought about it in terms of the father-daughter relationship, but I see Adrian's point. I was more struck by the family dynamic as a whole. Can't everybody relate to unhappy, messed-up families?

Speaking of which, Bellochio's Fists in the pocket, with the kind of mannered, manic gestures I see everywhere in real life but so rarely on the screen. And for a new old film, his Good morning, night (2003) just knocked me out. Stunning. Politics, violence, commitment, compromise. When the woman works out that it's all turned to shit, Moro will be killed anyway, and it won't achieve anything, it's heartbreaking.

As an aside, does anybody else besides me fixate on the books characters are reading in movies? I squirmed uncomfortably when I saw she and I had the same bedside reading: Marx and Engels' The holy family. Great book, by the way, one of their early funny ones. The subtitle, A critique of critical criticism, gives the gist.

December 21, 2006 5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ugetsu, Sansho the Bailiff, Lightning, Wife Be Like a Rose, Joan the Maiden Parts I and II, Cleo from 5 to 7, Celine and Julie Go Boating, and Up/Down/Fragile, all at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley.

December 21, 2006 6:05 PM  
Blogger Campaspe said...

I envy you seeing Teorema. I have wanted to see it ever since the movie turned up in Lawrence Quirk's The Great Romantic Films, right alongside Smilin' Through, Stella Dallas and Letter from an Unknown Woman. Pasolini tackles romance; intriguing, yes? Plus, Terence Stamp in his prime ... rowr.

Of course almost all of the movies I see are old, so I'll skip the ones I blogged about. I look back over the year and realize I have seen more than I thought, but the most intense viewing experiences were definitely at the second half of the Naruse retrospective. I really did get addicted to the man's films.

Seen this year:
Repast
Sudden Rain
Scattered Clouds
Hideko the Bus Conductress
Three Sisters with Maiden Hearts
Her Lonely Lane

Honorable mention to Les Tontons Flingeuers, viewed at Mr. Campaspe's behest; marvelously witty. Also saw Casque d'Or on DVD, causing me to wonder why I didn't have more Simone Signoret in my life; Stray Dog, Ikiru, Crossfire, The Lodger, Lured, The Young in Heart, Dodsworth. Re-viewed La Grande Illusion and fell in love with it all over again. Saw Algiers and preferred it in some ways to Pepe le Moko, mostly for James Wong Howe's cinematography. Instead of finding a way to catch Army of Shadows I wound up seeing Un Flic, which I wasn't especially impressed by.

Looking forward to next year already!

December 21, 2006 9:31 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thank you, Mas, SisterRye and Campaspe.

Ah yes, Campaspe, I remember the evening you & I saw Repast, after having spent most of the afternoon slow-lunching and movie-talking....Toronto misses you.

And I enjoyed your new post on Remember the Night, a movie I dearly love and watch with regularity around this time of year, although it bears 0% relation to my own childhood or culture. Now there's the global seduction of the Hollywood dream factory for you....

December 21, 2006 10:16 PM  
Blogger girish said...

--Michael Guillen interviews film critic Molly Haskell.
--The latest in Harry Tuttle's Critical Fallacy Series: Mannerism. For previous installments, check his sidebar.
--Aaron Hillis' best of 2006 list.
--Altman and Kael posts at Pacze Moj's place.
--Dave Kehr's best of 2006 list.

December 22, 2006 5:48 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Jonathan Rosenbaum's top 20 of the year. There's a Sidney Lumet/Vin Diesel film on there I hadn't even heard of.

December 22, 2006 9:49 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Ah. Just realized that Old Joy and Army of Shadows play as a double bill at Eastman in 2 weeks. I'm so there.

December 22, 2006 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Mike DiGiacomo said...

A terrific post! I saw "Zabriskie Point" last year at the Cleveland Cinemateque and thought it was the most unique film I had seen in a long time. The final twenty minutes was incredible. Do you think he used miniatures in that scene or did he really blow up that building? I've been thinking a lot lately about special effects that were produced before the era of computer animation. This year we watched Jim Henson's "Labyrinth" and Richard Donner's "Superman" and were amazed by set designs, use of miniatures, and other non-computer effects. Current special effects don't impress or interest me, perhaps because the computers make things seem less alive and real.

"Shaolin Soccer" looks like a hilarious film that I would love given my long history working as a soccer referee. I love John Cassavetes so I'll definitely check out "Love Streams".

December 22, 2006 11:37 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Hey Mikey, good to hear from you. I'm not sure how Antonioni designed the explosion. I'm curious too....

Let's get together over break, yes? I have some indie comics for you...

December 22, 2006 11:45 AM  
Blogger Tim Lucas said...

The best older films I saw this year for the first time were Antonioni's THE PASSENGER (1975) and two by Louis Malle, ZAZIE DANS LE MÉTRO (1960) and LE FEU FOLLET (1963).

I watched THE LAST MOVIE a few months ago, for the first time in ten years or so -- I think it's getting better with age. It's more fractured than fragmented, there's no sinew in its stoned-out pacing, and it's too oblique to honor its central idea; that said, it's often beautiful, unexpectedly moving at times, and Julie Adams and Don Gordon give the best performances of their respective careers. The film would still get an X (or NC-17) rating today too, which isn't true of most films thus branded back in the day. Hopper engages in a very authentic looking sex scene on a waterfall, and there is imagery of a woman lactating all over him during a climactic delirium sequence. Not a success, but a fascinating failure -- and I bet this movie's outtakes would be some of the most interesting ever. I'd jump at a three disc "integral" release of THE LAST MOVIE like a shot.

Zach Campbell asked if ZABRISKIE POINT is weirder than THE LAST MOVIE. I don't know the answer to that (replace THE LAST MOVIE with LADY IN THE WATER, and I'll give you an answer!), but when I finally caught up with a widescreen copy of ZABRISKIE POINT, I was astonished to recognize Norman "Woo Woo" Grabowski in a bit part. After his work in SON OF FLUBBER, THE MONKEY'S UNCLE and OUT OF SIGHT (the 1960s one), who would have pegged "Woo Woo" as a guy who would work with Antonioni down the road?

Happy Holidays!

December 22, 2006 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Fascinating post, Girish.

Refreshing after arguing with, nay, surviving aggressively ignorant Matrix fans. Or maybe that makes it more infuriating, I don't know. I wish I had my own list but watching movies all the time is an expensive habit, plus all the major releases make it a depressing one as well.

December 22, 2006 9:55 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Hey there, Tim and Brent--Thank you...

--Brian Darr has a movie wish list for 2007.
--Peter Nellhaus announces a William Shakespeare blog-a-thon for April 23.
--Darren on Godard's '66-'67 films.
--Chuck Tryon's best of 2006 list.
--The new issue of Cineaste has a few articles on-line but is well worth picking up.

December 23, 2006 7:37 AM  
Blogger girish said...

--Acquarello's favorite films of the year.
--David Bordwell: "Catching up with several of the fall’s films, I was struck by how often they played quite self-consciously with the overall shape of their plots. Here are some examples."
--Several new reviews at Framing Device.
--Steve Shaviro's favorite albums of 2006.

Merry Christmas, all! Hope you had a relaxing one. One too many late nights here, so the rest of the week will be spent in downtempo mode....hope to possibly post something by tomorrow....

December 26, 2006 9:34 AM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

girish, on the Lumet, I assume you're talking about Find Me Guilty. They talked it up early this year on a_film_by, and the cover's been staring at me in Blockbuster for some months. That Rosenbaum loves it makes me feel the need to rent the damned thing. Along with Little Miss Sunshine.

Bordwell's suggestion of Ozu and Fuller to do Tora! Tora! Tora! is inspired.

December 28, 2006 5:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen Find Me Guilty. It's a bit funny and I guess a bit thought-provoking as well, but I don't know where Rosenbaum gets off on calling the whole thing "Brechtian." Probably his way of drawing viewers normally turned off by Vin Diesel or 1970s darling Sidney Lumet.

December 28, 2006 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You got the chance to see Chelsea Girls?!

Sigh.

Love Streams was playing at a nearby local movie theater (well, a twenty minute bus ride away). But it played for one week, and I had exams to study :(

December 29, 2006 3:04 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Noel & Anonymous -- Yes, it's Rosenbaum putting Find Me Guilty on his list that automatically makes me feel like I should see it now. I'd never have given it a second look otherwise...!

Tram -- Chelsea Girls, turns out, was a rare screening at Cinematheque Ontario in Toronto. And I hope Love Streams gets a US DVD release (there's a French DVD version available).

December 29, 2006 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this approach, which acknowledges film not just as something ridiculously bookended by the months on a calendar (thanks to self-declared bodies that hand out unnecessary awards...), but as a deeply personal experience that is unique from one person to the next. Yeah, yeah, obvious observations Rob, I know...

I plan on keep track of ALL the movies I watch this year (as I've tried, unsuccessfully, in the past), so as to create a similar list for myself come January 2008. I know without hesitation that the best film I saw in 2006 was from ten years prior: Lars Von Trier's Breaking the Waves. So far, I expect 2007's Best Older Films list to include Werner Herzog's faux documentary The Wild Blue Yonder, which was damn near as elevating an experience to me as 2001: A Space Odyssey.

January 23, 2007 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for that, Rob. Breaking the Waves is the *only* von Trier I've never seen (for no reason). And I even bought the DVD 3 or 4 years ago. Need to watch it. And the Herzog is on my Netflix queue. So thanks for the nudges...

January 23, 2007 9:24 PM  

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