The new issue of Sight & Sound has a fun feature on double bills. (Here's the pdf.) A number of writers propose their own, for example:
Geoff Andrew -- Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg and Terence Davies' Of Time and the City, along with Victor Erice's short film La Morte Rouge. All 'city films'.
Michael Atkinson -- William Klein's Mr. Freedom and Trey Parker's Team America: World Police. ("The two most merciless, sophomoric films ever, made 35 years apart but during identically idiotic imperialist wars.")
Ian Christie -- Ken Jacobs' Tom Tom The Piper's Son and Douglas Sirk's Imitation Of Life.
Roger Clarke -- Wang Xiaoshuai's Frozen and Robert Bresson's The Devil, Probably.
Kieron Corless -- Alexander Kluge's Strongman Ferdinand and Chris Petit's Unrequited Love. ("Both Petit and Kluge are thorns in their respective film cultures; a marriage of inconvenients.")
Mark Cousins -- Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Gods Of The Plague and Djibril Diop Mambety's Hyenas. ("in the spirit of surrealism and the chance encounter, and because I think there are affinities between the directors I don't quite understand.")
Chris Darke -- Chris Petit's Radio On and Bruce Robinson's Withnail & I. ("One film sings, the other doesn't--Petit can't get a word in over Robinson's gargling.")
Graham Fuller -- Werner Herzog's Aguirre, Wrath Of God and Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now. ("Herzog's and Coppola's odysseys seem like episodes from the same demented dream. They share the river, the jungle, the mythic quest and wonderfully portentous rock music.")
Maria Delgado -- Juan Antonio Bardem's Main Street and Neil LaBute's In the Company of Men. ("Both films offer a brilliant commentary on the sadistic excesses of a competitive culture that fails to respect ethical boundaries.")
Charlotte Garson -- David O. Russell's I ♥ Huckabees and Jean-Luc Godard's Two Or Three Things I Know About Her. ("focusing alternately on the face and on the landscape, with the same mania for transforming ideas into objects.")
Alexander Horwath -- Carl-Theodor Dreyer's Ordet and Larry Cohen's God Told Me To.
Mark Le Fanu -- Elan Kolirin's The Band's Visit and Ivan Passer's Intimate Lighting. ("Some of the best and most endurable films turn out to be those little 'unambitious' comedies that nonetheless capture the hopes and disappointments of ordinary life with miraculous accuracy.")
Tim Lucas -- Georges Franju's Les yeux sans visage and George P. Breakston & Kenneth G. Crane's The Manster.
Adrian Martin -- Mark L. Lester's The Ex and Alan Rudolph's Remember My Name. ("When it comes to intriguing stories about menacing ex-spouses, there's a lot more on the ground than the Fatal Attraction (1987) misogynist thriller formula.")
Peter Matthews -- "To illustrate the decline of an authentic cinéma de scandale, I propose the coupling of Makavejev's abominable, lyrical Sweet Movie with its milder epigone, The Idiots."
Olaf Moller -- Hanns Springer & Rolf von Sonjewski-Jamrowski's Ewiger Wald and Reinhard Kahn & Michel Leiner's Waldi. ("Everything you'll ever need to know about Germany in a double feature that'll never make it to a cinema near you.")
Kim Newman -- Peter Sykes' Demons of the Mind and Jim O'Connolly's Tower of Evil. ("Part of the surreal wonder of 1970s British horror was the use of well-spoken actors we knew from bland TV sitcoms and adventure shows in demented settings.")
James Quandt -- Frank Borzage's Three Comrades and Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger's A Canterbury Tale. ("Both are wartime accounts of a trio of friends whose lives are transformed by a fourth figure.")
Jonathan Rosenbaum -- Gordon Douglas' The Iron Mistress and Fritz Lang's Clash By Night. ("[S]ometimes, from a business angle, one film becomes the hook to lure audiences to see another. In my Friday evening film series at college, I once showed The Wild One (1953) + Orphée, two motorcycle movies, back to back with that rationale.")
Brad Stevens -- David Lynch's Inland Empire and Jacques Rivette's Celine and Julie Go Boating. (""Nothing analyses a film better than another film," wrote French critic Nicole Brenez.")
David Thomson -- Robert Bresson's A Man Escaped and Luis Buñuel's The Exterminating Angel. ("[M]y favourite double bills are secret, thematic pairings, films where deep below the surface one picture is speaking to another.")
Noel Vera -- Ishmael Bernal's At the Top and Mario O'Hara's Woman on a Tin Roof. ("a pair of lovely bookends for the dawning and passing of an era.")
Linda Ruth Williams -- Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits and Bruce Robinson's Withnail & I. ("Clever, quotable scripts, flawless performances, intelligent direction--can British cinema boast a more resoundingly entertaining pairing?")
Now let me toss in my proposal for a double bill: 3 Godfathers (John Ford, 1948) and Amar Akbar Anthony (Manmohan Desai, 1977).
They're both, in a way, 'masala movies' that combine many flavors--drama, adventure, comedy, and pathos. They're both mythic tales: Biblical in the Ford, secular-nationalist in the Desai.
In the Ford film, three men (including John Wayne) find the course of their lives drastically changed when they unexpectedly take on godfatherly (actually, step-motherly) duties for a baby. In the Desai film, three boys are abandoned by their father under a statue of Mahatma Gandhi (!), and get separated. They are then discovered, adopted, and raised in, respectively, Hindu, Muslim and Christian families; thus their names and the name of the film.
And now, your turn: one (or more) double bill(s) you might program if you had the chance?
-- Ryland and Mubarak present their double bills.
-- At The House Next Door, Man On Wire director James Marsh responds to Godfrey Cheshire's criticisms of his film, more specifically its use of Michael Nyman's music from Peter Greenaway's films.
-- via One-Way Street: Walter Benjamin's "1940 Survey of French Literature" is published for the first time in English, in the New Left Review.
-- Michael Newman at Zigzigger: "Notes on Cult Films and New Media Technology".
-- Ed Howard on Stephanie Zacharek's review of Richard Brody's Godard biography.
-- Steven Shaviro on Grace Jones' new "Corporate Cannibal" video.
Pics: (1) Rattle, baby Pedrito and gun in 3 Godfathers (John Ford, 1948); and (2) Shabana Azmi (at right) is a modern Indian art-film icon, what Jeanne Moreau was to the nouvelle vague. Here she moonlights in the thoroughly 'commercial' Amar Akbar Anthony (Manmohan Desai, 1977).