The world cinema canon

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Re: The world cinema canon

Postby wpqx » Tue Mar 07, 2006 6:01 pm

Well if you're adding Pabst films, I'd suggest Westfront 1918, which gets my vote for his masterpiece (even above Pandora's Box).

Re: The world cinema canon

Postby A » Sat Mar 11, 2006 6:29 pm

Thanks for another great list John. I like your idea very much, and I would like to see it extended way over 1000 films.
I know it may be much work, but I think it would be better if you would list the films chronologically than alphabetically, so that one has a better overview. But it may be much work.
Additional masterpieces (or close to it), but I'm not sure if all of them are missing:

Zina (Ken Mc Mullen / UK / 1985)
Mes petites amoureuses (Jean Eustache / France / 1974)
Red Wheat (Zivojin Pavlovic / Yugoslavia / 1971)
Dancing in the rain (Bostjan Hladnik / Yugoslavia / 1961)
Ganga Bruta (Humberto Mauro / Brazil / 1933)
Saint Tukaram (Vishnupant Govind Damle, Sheikh Fattelal / India / 1936)
The Fiances (Ermanno Olmi / Itakly / 1963)
Black Peter (Milos Forman / Czechoslovakia / 1964)
La derive (Paula Delsol / France / 1964)
Identification Marks: None" (Jerzy Skolimowski / Poland / 1964)
The Sword of Doom" (Kihachi Okamoto / Japan / 1965)
Django (Sergio Corbucci / Italy, Spain, France / 1966)
Othon (Jean-Marie Straub, Danile Huillet / West Germany, Italy / 1969)
A Simple Event" (Sohreb Shahid Saless / Iran / 1973)
Lady Snowblood" (Toshiya Fujita / Japan / 1973)
Two Men in Town" (Jos Giovanni / France, Italy / 1973)
The little Mermaid" (Karel Kachyna / Czechoslovakia / 1975)
Mad Dog Morgan (Philippe Mora / Australia / 1976)
Raise Ravens" (Carlos Saura / Spain / 1976)
A Dirty Story (Jean Eustache / France / 1977)
Mother and Daughter (Giovanna Gagliardo / Italy / 197
Possession (Andrzej Zulawski / France, West Germany / 1981)
Moonlighting (Jerzy Skolimowski / UK / 1982)
Wu lang ba gua gun "Eight Diagram Pole Fighter" (Chia-Liang Liu / Hong Kong / 1983)
Der Aufenthalt "The Turning Point" (Frank Beyer / East Germany / 1983)
Class Relations (Danile Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub / West Germany, France / 1984)
Angels Egg (Mamoru Oshii / Japan / 1985)

and I'll list more in the future, as my time on this PC is almost up.

Re: The world cinema canon

Postby Johndav » Sun Mar 12, 2006 8:32 pm

Cria Cuervos/ Raise Ravens and Sant Tukaram are in already and i've added Lady Snowblood, which i'd thought was too. I'm excluding British English-language films, even if by non-Anglophone directors (though films in Welsh are of course a different matter!). I'll consider your other suggestions, when i've done more study, as most i've not seen and some titles are not very familiar, and also it's now very close to 1000 (which would be a significant threshold to cross, decimal tyranny and all that). Sorry to take this awkward stance, but if i include everything suggested the list really could get out of hand, however long you might want it to be!

O.k, i've now added A Simple Event + Lau's Pole Fighter (difficult to know which to have by the director, Tony Rayns loves Dirty Ho and i'd already been tempted by that, but i'll give precedence to you, the imdb average score precedence, and my own sense of its probably greater popularity).

I first came across Othon in John Kobal's book of Top 100 Movies- not as one of the 100, but when each critic/contributor named their least favourite film! In this case 2 chose it as their worst; Michel Ciment (who picked Sansho the Bailiff, Sunrise and La Regle du Jeu in his top 10!) and Giovanni Grazzini. I'd be interested in why they hated it so much, haven't seen it, but can imagine Straub's style may alienate quite a few critics. It's not included in my Bloomsbury Foriegn Film Guide but here's what Time Out guide has to say:
"the film can be mesmerising or irritating: irritating if one tries to force it into fulfilling preconceived notions of plot and character, mesmeric if one trusts the film-maker to lead one into fresh areas of perception". Which makes it sound both significant + intriguing.

By Straub, i'd most like to see Not Reconciled, which many hate. Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach was certainly worthwhile, and Gilbert Adair's book Flickers picked (the quite obscure?) The Death of Empedocles to represent the year 1987.

I disliked Zulawski's Possession, but then there are quite a few films in the canon i'm not keen on, so that certainly doesn't rule it out. I'd rather be inclusive than exclusive + overly conservative. Do say more about any you specially want to champion.

Re: The world cinema canon

Postby Johndav » Mon Mar 13, 2006 7:08 pm

Right, A: I've looked up the ones i wasn't familiar with- unfortunately most of them weren't in any of my usual trusty world cinema reference/history books.

Ganga Bruta i remembered as important to/influential on Brazil's Cinema Novo and my book on Brazilian cinema also says it's his masterpiece. So that's in.

Also Dancing in the Rain, for its very high imdb average score, albeit not many votes. And the Oshii rang a bell and sounds intriguing. Django i have seen- it's o.k- + Black Peter i'd read about before; both still borderline. I don't think i'm qualified to decide on the others though- The Little Mermaid, Red Wheat and The Turning Point rate higher than the remainder at imdb.

Anyway, it's alway exciting to have new films to check out from round the world, thanks.

Re: The world cinema canon

Postby madhuban » Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:28 am

John, I am surprised that "Lagaan" makes the list. A very bad film, I think. Definitely shouldn't be on this great list.

I would love to see Rivette's "Paris Belongs To Us" here.


Re: The world cinema canon

Postby Johndav » Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:22 am

I wasn't very keen on Lagaan either but this is a canon as much as my own personal choices, and in fact at imdb a couple of people bemoaned its absence from the original 500. I've enjoyed all the Rivette films i've seen and would love to see Paris nous Appartient, which has a reputation as among the most underrated of the early new wave, though it was among the BFI 360 classics- so in here it goes too.

Re: The world cinema canon

Postby arsaib4 » Wed Mar 15, 2006 1:24 am

Lagaan may not be worthy of this list, but it shouldn't be thrown aside, either. It's not an art film, and it doesn't pretend to be one. The film's allegorical premise works rather well considering that it largely supports stock characters and motifs. And the fact that a large part of its 3+ hr running is simply devoted to the game of cricket is encouraging in a sense because the filmmakers can't be blamed for pandering to the western viewers.

Re: The world cinema canon

Postby madhuban » Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:01 pm

arsaib, I have nothing against popular films. Rather, I genuinely think that they deserve serious study. I appreciate the fact that a film can be made about cricket. But, my problem with "Lagaan" is somewhat akin to what I said about "Mr and Mrs Iyer". The film pays lip service to the hugely contested issue of caste in India. One could have done without Kachra and his moment of triumph! It says nothing about the crude realities of being an "untouchable" in India. Nor is the "untouchable" ever accepted into the fold in such an admirable fashion. It is just too naively and simplistically rendered, just as the fact of colonialism is all black and white. The film should have left the caste issue alone and simply made a film about cricket. Also, the first half of the film drags so much that you wish it began and ended with the racy second half. Finally, my objection to having "Lagaan" on this list as a representative of contemporary Indian cinema comes from the fact that there are at least five films made after it that deserve to be here instead of this feel good, empire-writing-back kind of moviemaking!

Re: The world cinema canon

Postby arsaib4 » Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:50 am

You've made some good points, although I was perhaps aware of them and took them in consideration before my verdict. And that's because, as simplistic as the rendition might be, a film like Lagaan still reaches a much wider audience and thus is more effective than a more comtemplative art film. I can't disagree however that there are countless films that are more worthy of the list.

Re: The world cinema canon

Postby A » Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:17 pm

Sorry for my very late answer John.
I will hopefully write more about the films I listed and maybe add some others when I have more time.
For now let me just say, that by Straub/Huillet, I think "Class Relations" (1984) is a must. An adaptation of Kafka's Amerika in german the film is imo one of the greatest films in cinema history. I've written a lengthy review of it, but as it's in german, and I don't have the time or nerve to translate it, I hope you will just believe me Or maybe you can find something on it in the net.
Othon is of a different quality, and one which I would think much more accessible, but obviously I was wrong in my judgment. Nevertheless the two critics listing it as the "worst film" must have skipped the film, as this is a very very stupid assessment. Maybe more excusable if they are not used to the french language but even then The film is a very static "enactment" of a phenomenal french play of which I have unfortunately forgotten title and author. It may not be one of the greatest films ever, but in it's use of language it may be one of the most pleasurable films imaginable. The beautiful text recited in the context of this film - presented through the powerful cinematography of Renato Berta -Straub/Huillet's structuring brings about a tremendous sensual pleasure as well as bringing its meaning to the surface.
If you speak french, a must!!


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