Some years ago I started watching the Sight & Sound list of "Greatest films of all time", which is available on imdb here
. I've only made it to #38 now, taking my time, but I thought I should finally make some kind of a post about the project or experiment so far. The reason why I chose to start watching films on this particular list was that it is much more international than the lists you typically see; it has more Japanese films than just the Seven Samurai
, etc. Basically it doesn't just have "the token" film of each major film production country and that makes it more interesting and gives it more credibility from my point of view. And yes, I wanted to both widen my horizons when it comes to the types of films I see and challenge myself to watch stuff I normally wouldn't, and try to appreciate them for what they are.
I don't have lengthy analyses of the films I've watched and I've been very lazy about doing additional research on them that might explain why the films have been chosen for this list above others. But I have written down some short thoughts after or during watching and will at least mention whether I recommend them or not, my recommendation basically meaning "it's worth your time" 8) 1. Vertigo, 1958
Atmospheric in an unnerving way? I'm glad I didn't know any of the story beforehand for there were a quite few twists and surprises. I reckon it had some impressive techniques used for the time (the nightmare scene was pretty awesome) and the characters being anti-heroes was quite interesting; all of them basically turned out to be creepy fucks. It's a bit depressing that even today, people still misunderstand anti-heroes (see: people who justify everything Breaking Bad's Walter White ever did, confusing 'hero' with 'anti-hero') when classics like this show you can have a thrilling story with flawed complex characters, and IT'S OKAY to admit that they're not perfect. It's almost like nothing has been learned. DERP. Anyway, no, Vertigo is not going to be my favourite film ever, but I can understand why it's been embraced by critics as it gives quite a bit to chew on, and is really quite aesthetically pleasing. Btw San Francisco looks amazing in this film.2. Citizen Kane, 1941
Ok I can now see what people mean when they say that Citizen Kane changed how stories are told in movies (or widened the scope, shall we say). It's an old movie, but even I as a modern viewer got the feeling it was innovative, and at its time it really must have been something else. Interesting that this film as well had anti-heroes as main characters. To me it doesn't have the most intriguing topic for a story (we have too many stories about white rich men with issues; I oft find myself thinking "why should I care?"), but the way it's told kept me entertained. Also, this movie looked like it was expensive to make. Was it? "Other scenes effectively employed miniatures to make the film look much more expensive than it truly was" says google - Ok I see, well that was brilliantly done.3. Tokyo Monogatari, 1953
I've seen this movie years ago so I can't remember many details about it, and to spare time for films I haven't seen yet I won't watch it again (although I'd like to). There were some interesting camera angles, artistic choices that show creativity in direction at the time. As a story, it was one of those films where nothing in particular happens, just life... And I love those kind of movies. I think the situations depicted in the film were easy to relate to, as well. I really enjoyed this one.4. La regle du jeu, 1939
- It appears I did not 'get' this one
What was this drama stuff, everybody cheating on everybody and lying to everybody and acting all carefree about it, and a man getting away with murder & all kinds of shit. How is this the 4th greatest film ever? Mostly I think it shows that marriage is a joke. And the seemingly never-ending hunting scene with bunnies and things... Despicable things they have in this film. No-one really seemed to care about anyone or anything. Uhh. Maybe I'm overdosing on films with anti-heroes but I would like to see some characters I am free to like, as well, some time soon... Note that at the time I skipped Tokyo Monogatari5. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, 1927
I loved this film! It definitely pulled my emotional strings, even if aspects of the story are side-eye worthy. So yeah, it's a silent film, but the music and sound effects were brilliantly done to match the film... I think some impressive techniques for the time were used, too. The story had both really dark and funny moments. Some shots I felt lasted a bit too long, so maybe in editing it could have just lost a second here and a second there, but overall what a great movie! (Haha, you can tell I watched this film before all the Russian ones...
) I'm impressed with the use of animals and the baby in this film, too... Even today working with both can be challenging, but here they managed to capture great moments, I think. Ah. I'm just ready to gush over this film right now. Also what a lovely actress in the role of the wife. She has a healing smile.( The restCollapse )
Overall, so far it seems that classic Japanese films really have the kind of storytelling and aesthetics that I find pleasing and enjoyable, which to me has been surprising because while I've generally been interested in Japanese culture for a long time, I didn't expect "old Japanese films" to also draw me in so well. It also appears that I like some Western silent films quite a bit? But then some European films I find really difficult to enjoy. However, I also think that going through the list, and maybe maturing more, has broadened my tastes and understanding and if I were to watch some of the films I didn't first appreciate again, I might now be able to see what is good about them. But I also don't think it's quite worth the trouble, seeing as there is so much out there for me to watch, especially television, that I know I will instantly enjoy tremendously. I'll continue slowly making my way through the list and challenging myself that way.