Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Yesterday while I was writing on CATHERINE AND CO., a film that I admitted wasn't very good, the thought crossed my mind as to why I was writing about it instead of a great film I love like THE GODFATHER. I suppose it mainly has to do with the fact that I was probably the only person on the planet writing on CATHERINE AND CO. yesterday while I am willing to bet that there were probably many writing on an undeniably great film like THE GODFATHER. It did dawn on me though that while I have written on many films I do love here, I have ignored many that are among my actual favorite films.
There are a couple of reasons for this I think. One is that some of my favorite films have been covered so much elsewhere that I am not sure what I can bring to the table on them. I mean what could I possibly say about films I love like CITIZEN KANE or THE EXORCIST that hasn't been said a thousand times before when I could be talking about a Jean Rollin film that hopefully some readers don't know about? The other and more prevalent reason that I haven't talked about many of my favorite films is that many of them are just too personal for me. I would have difficulty explaining why I love Mike Figgis' LEAVING LAS VEGAS so much without disclosing perhaps some aspects about myself that I am not willing to share here. My all time favorite films are movies that I think are great as films but also speak to me in ways that few others do.
So I thought I would make a little post just briefly highlighting ten films that I consider among my most treasured that I may, or may not, cover on here in the future. I love all the following films like thay are family, they all have managed to speak to me about my life, dreams, beliefs, passions, failings and most importantly spirit and I never tire of them. I may not ever write on them in detail here but I wouldn't give anything in the world for them.
So here are ten of my favorites in alphabetical order:
BETTY BLUE (1986): Even though I named the blog after another Jean-Jacques Beineix film, this one is my favorite. To this day I don't know quite what it is that moves me so much about this film but 20 years after I first saw it, it continues to weave a very strong and intense spell on me.
LA BELLE NOISEUSE (1991): Jacques Rivette is the secret weapon of the French New Wave and this remarkable film is among his greatest works. It is one of the most penetrating looks at the process of creating art ever filmed and features Emmanuelle Beart giving one of the great performances in modern cinema.
LAST TANGO IN PARIS (1972): This film has such an impact on me that I can't even come up with a simple two sentence description...all I can think of is...Brando, Bertolucci, Leaud, Schneider, Paris, 1972.
LEAVING LAS VEGAS (1995): This film means more to me than any other. I went through a rough period about ten years ago when it felt like this film was the only thing that kept me afloat. I can't say any more about it.
MAGNOLIA (1999): I think Paul Thomas Anderson is the best American writer and director to come out since this seventies and as much as I love his other films this is the one that hits me emotionally like a truck every time I watch it. Just thinking about the last shot of Melora Walters reminds me that hope is the last thing that the world can strip away.
THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (1976): I could have chosen any Roeg film from this period as I think he is the most underrated and important visionary in all of cinema. This one seems like a logical choice to me though because of Bowie but I could have easily put DON'T LOOK NOW, WALKABOUT or BAD TIMING on here.
MS 45 (1981): Zoe Lund was an astonishing artist and with my main man Abel Ferrara fashioned one of the great American films with this just his second feature. It was a toss up between this and BAD LIEUTENANT, but since I have actually written already on the latter I chose this one.
RED (1994): I love this film so much that I actually feel indebted to Krzystof Kieslowski and Irene Jacob. If any director and actress ever truly shared something spiritual with an audience it was these two.
ROCKY (1976): Sylvester Stallone's film and character probably shaped my childhood more than any other. This work is still among the most inspirational works of art I have ever seen and one of the only films honored as 'Best Picture' that truly deserved it. The monologue he delivers to Talia Shire the night before the fight is probably my favorite in screen history.
TWO ENGLISH GIRLS (1971): Truffaut's most underrated film and the best work that Jean-Pierre Leaud ever delivered to my eyes. I find this film insanely moving and so much better than the more well known JULES AND JIM.
There are many others ranging from Capra's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE to Godard's SLOW MOTION to Jodie Foster's LITTLE MAN TATE to any number of seventies masterpieces from the great American directors of that period, and it pains me that I don't have any horror films on the list but these are ten that continue to speak to me in the deepest of ways. I intentionally left out PARIS TEXAS which would have been on the list because I will be covering it over at Nostalgia Kinky very soon. I am trying to get away from lists but I wanted to pay a small tribute to a group of films that I might not be able to focus on here...to paraphrase one of my favorite Lou Reed songs, all of these films have gotten me through the darkest of nights and I have no doubt they will continue to do so in the future.