Monday, January 21, 2013

Top 10 21/01/2013

Billy Liar: Because all small towns share one thing for any nineteen year old: they are not good enough.

Rear Window: Alright, so I'm getting through my Hitchcock Blu-ray set. But this still compels and shines. The vouyeurism of the protagonist might be obscured by the crime he seeks to expose but it is left disturbingly bare. The initial screen kiss between James Stewart and Grace Kelly was done with deliberate camera shake, giving it an extraordinary alien feel, as though for his audiences that's what kissing Grace Kelly was like.

Eraserhead: Because I never of the completeness of its world. I feel I could walk into it and I'd try if I knew I could get back.

Isle of the Dead: I love films of people waiting. With skill they become deep and troubling observations of human behaviour (see also Key Largo and Beat the Devil). Here the force keeping the people in one place is pestilence but there is another force preying upon them. The neat and Lewtonian touch is that there is no guarantee that the purported monster is real. At-mos-phere!

Dracula: Veteran carny Todd Browning, fresh from edgy/dodgy fare like Freaks or his Lon Chaney movies, gave the Stoker tale a real sense of dread in brilliant use of mise en scene. It's too slow and dragged further by its lack of music score but this early (not first, mind you) venture into vampire mythology still wins. "Leeesssen to dem .... what mewsik they mike."

Fight Club: Because it's as funny and poignant and relevant as it was in 1999 and probably will be in the future. Not long after its first run expired there were late night screenings of this one at a few arthouse and marginal mainstream cinemas giving it the feel of an old fashioned cult movie.

The Turin Horse: Bela Tarr uses such long takes that he leaves himself open to effortless ridicule but just as James Joyce is good at long sentences Tarr is great with ten minute long shots, lighting and choregraphing them to the extent that the impression they leave can be as wildly diverse as to appear like paint drying or busily edited. Here he examines a lonely windswept apocalypse where a father and daughter team live as they must until such time as they don't. Sounds like porridge but is deep, flavoursome and sobering. This is Tarr's farewell. What a beautiful way to go.

Citizen Kane: Because it's good even if some snobs like it and other snobs hate it.

Two or Three Things I Know About Her: Godard's midpoint between a mounting politicisation in his subject matter to increasingly political ways to make cinema. This non-narrative fiction is also an essay on prostitution and consumerism in everyday life is weighty in material but feels light as a feather. This vies with Masculin/Feminin as my favourite Jean Luc piece. This week it's this one.

Onibaba: I could just watch the atmosphere of this one but the sense of it being a cinema verite record of a folk tale is too compelling. Wins me over every time and I've never known anyone to dislike it when I've shown it.

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