Saturday, June 29, 2013

Top 10 29/06/13

PURPLE NOON: Lean and spry telling of The Talented Mr Ripley with none of the condescension of Anthony Minghella's blob of an attempt. The outstanding 1960s location work in Italy comes across less as big important cinema than a master photographer's travelogue. Alain Delon is magnetic. His amorality entices rather than alienates. There is an impressive focus on the processes of his criminality. His signature-forging scene with a projector prefigures the titular scene in Blow Up, giving off the same kind of thrill. The decades later Minghellla version feels pointless after seeing this.

THE GREAT DICTATOR: Less a fan of Charlie Chaplin than an admirer. Seeing this on blu-ray recently reminded me of how strongly he came back from the bridging silent to talky film Modern Times which, while inspired, still relied on the visual over the verbal. Here there's an interplay of the two so seamlessly woven that it feels natural. Hinkel going from his Hitlerian sub-gibberish to his calculating paranoia allows a chill through as the laughs flow. His poor Jewish barber more as you would want to imagine Chaplin in real life. The situations, language play and dizzy absurdism make this a legitimate predecessor to the anarchic genius of Python at their best, or they its inheritors. Genius.

ERASERHEAD: Because it is and will always be for me the bestest of the best.

MOUCHETTE: A village girl on the outer of her tiny society ventures outside its constriction to find a troubling kind of freedom. Its aftermath and her response are both incredible and inevitable. I first saw only the tail end of this film after a sizeable night out but went to bed sober.

PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK: The refined and privileged daughters of the invading forces meet the spirit of the ancient clay and are consumed. With all that corsetry and summer heat this is a record of the worst case of the vapours in genteel history. But haunting, frame by frame.

NETWORK: Because when someone who shouldn't says that he's tired of all the bullshit we should listen. A time capsule for our times with some of the most finely wrought speeches on screen. Not a syllable of them is believable but that's the point.

BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO: I know of many films that document the process of corruption as absorption but none so finely nor so brutally as here. There is a violence to this thinking that need never speak louder than a whisper. Toby Jones's career will carry this brand.

THE PRODUCERS: It has never not been funny.

CITIZEN KANE: Because it doesn't need its reputation to impress.

WAKE IN FRIGHT: Because horror lives in blinding light.

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