Sunday, September 10, 2006

Thirty is the Magic Number

Yes, I realize that Mrs. Fellini (Giuliet-
ta Masina) has Spock eyebrows in
57's Nights of Cabiria. That was her
style at the time. (See
La Strada.) I
swear it adds to her impish charm.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Three weeks ago, I met the founder/editor of the fine German film
journal or "filmzeitschrift" STEADYCAM. He happened to mention
that he was looking for top 30s, so I put one together (see below).
I haven't sent it to him yet, though. It's a work in progress. Ev-
ery few days, I take a look at it and make a change or two.

At first, I thought: How easy. Yeah, right. Well, it wasn't really
that hard to put together, but I had to leave out some major films
and filmmakers, like Akira Kurosawa (I prefer Kiyoshi). Granted,
my objective wasn't to list the 30 greatest movies of all time, but
rather the ones that have impacted me the most, along with a
few that have influenced my favorite modern-day directors.

For an inveterate list-maker like myself, the compiling part was
fun. Not so fun was the leaving-stuff-out part. Guilt quickly set in.
And hasn't left. But why should I feel guilty? It's my list after all,
and a lot of the filmmakers left out are no longer with us, so it's
not as if they're gonna know (or care). I still feel like I'm slight-
ing their work by omission. I also feel a little sheepish for ele-
vating Touch of Evil above Citizen Kane. Does that make
me a bad person? An unreliable critic? I'm not suggest-
ing one film is better or more important than the
other--only that I like one more. That is all.

All-Time Top 30
1. Nights of Cabiria / Le Notti di Cabiria (Federico Fellini)
2. The Third Man (Carol Reed)
3. M / Eine Stadt Sucht Einen Mörder (Fritz Lang)
4. Sunset Blvd. (Billy Wilder)
5. They Live By Night (Nicholas Ray)
6. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese)
7. Touch of Evil (Orson Welles)
8. The Manchurian Candidate (John Frankenheimer)
9. Beau Travail (Claire Denis)
10. Contempt / Le Mépris (Jean-Luc Godard)

11. Chinatown (Roman Polanski)
12. The Seventh Seal / Det Sjunde Inseglet (Ingmar Bergman)
13. Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola)
14. Rocco and His Brothers / Rocco ei Suoi Fratelli (Luchino Visconti)
15. Point Blank (John Boorman)
16. Le Samouraï (Jean-Pierre Melville)
17. A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick)
18. Don't Look Now (Nicolas Roeg)
19. All About Eve (Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
20. Ratcatcher (Lynn Ramsay)

21. Brief Encoun-
(David Lean)
22. Night of the Hun-
ter (Charles Laughton)
23. Vertigo (Al-
fred Hitchcock)
24. The Postman Always Rings Twice (Tay Garnett)

Imitation of Life (Douglas Sirk)
26. The Mother and the Whore / La
Mamain et la Putain
(Jean Eustache)
27. Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee)
28. His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks)
29. Branded to Kill / Koroshi no Rakuin (Seijun Suzuki)
30. Trainspotting (Danny Boyle)

With apologies to: Frank Capra, John Huston, Henri-Georg-
es Clouzot, Elia Kazan, Yasujiro Ozu, Luis Buñuel, Sergio Leone,
Sam Peckinpah, Robert Aldrich, François Truffaut, Michelange-
lo Antonioni, Eric Rohmer, Kinji Fukasaku, Rainer Werner Fass-
binder, Sidney Lumet, Richard Lester, Lindsay Anderson, John
Schlesinger, Joseph Losey, Shohei Imamura, Bernardo Bertoluc-
, Clint Eastwood, Robert Altman, Peter Weir, David Lynch, Ter-
ry Gilliam
, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Neil Jordan, Aki Kaur-
ismäki, David Cronenberg, Paul Schrader, Gus Van Sant, Mich-
ael Mann
, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Jim Jarmusch, Olivier Assayas,
Wong Kar-wai, the Dardenne Brothers, and Jonathan Glazer.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Endnote: Fritz Lang, Orson Welles, Trevor Howard, La-
na Turner, Janet Leigh, and Alain Delon all show up twice
(Lang cameos in Contempt). And Brief Encounter doesn't
really star cats--but it would be kinda cool if it did. Im-
ages from Salon, Box Office Online, and Chris Beetles.

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