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16 July 2016 @ 03:05 pm
Sight & Sound "Greatest Films of All Time" Top 250 (2012 edition) PART 1  
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 - Recommended
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 - Recommended
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 - Recommended
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 Monogatari

5. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, 1927 - Recommended
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.

6. 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968 - Recommended
No-one told me it was a horror film and I watched it in the dead middle of the night! ...Finnish summer night so it was light out, but you know. Uhuh, it's a visually impressive film with strong audio as well, slow and haunting. Creepy as fuck. Yeah I'm going to have fun trying to sleep after this. Awesome scifi tho yeah! (I know, the quality of my commentary is astonishing)

7. The Searchers, 1956 - Recommended
Mmmm... I liked Martin? He was hot, too. At the beginning I thought the film was rather ridiculous, and the main character was openly racist (and a general douche) so I was like oh boy this is going to be one of those films where Indians are mere vicious savages who attack 'innocent white folks'. I think we got to see some of the other side as well, however. But I think Martin was the hero of this film, even if he certainly wasn't the brightest guy around. But he was smart enough to see that Ethan (the main character) needed to be watched. Also liked that the events in the film took place over the span of several years (over five years). Could you imagine putting your life aside for over five years to find one person? Or trying to wait for someone for all those years? This shit is still reality to many people in our world. It's pretty insane. Loved some of the scenery in the film, it was the kind of stuff that would make me want to drive through the States. I wouldn't consider this film amazeballs out of context, but I heard it has partly received appreciation in years after its release because it did something new to the Western genre at the time (complex characters and story) and that's cool man.

8. Chelovek s kino-apparatom, 1929 - I did not make it through
This is actually a documentary. I made it 14 minutes in but I'm sorry - my minimum requirement for any films to watch on this list is a story or storyline. I don't have patience for collections of seemingly random shots, no matter how nice those shots are. "SO I TAKE IT YOU'RE NOT A HUGE FAN OF MONTAGE HA HA" yeah no, not for me...

9. La passion de Jeanne d'Arc, 1928 - Recommended?
Kinda weird to watch something like this and be rooting for Jeanne even if I don't really believe in god and stuffs. The film can have an emotional impact because we see injustice take place and there's nothing that can really be done. The close-ups of Jeanne's face reveal the range of her emotions. Since I don't really go for the saint thing tho, I just thought "well played" when she became a martyr, whatever it was that benefited from it the most.

10. 8½, 1963 - Booooo
What a chore... Some douchebag director's first world issues and over half the film is fantasy suiting his egoistic needs... Oh. Of course it's an autobiographical film. Of course. I could guess it before confirming it from imdb. His wife was hot, that's what I got out of it. I'll just summarize my feelings towards this film with one word: NOPE.

11. Bronenosets Potemkin, 1925 - Recommended
Such a powerful film about revolution and the price you have to pay. The chaos, desperation, unity are all so well portrayed. And Odessa's stairway is really something else... Heart-breaking and scary and this shit still happens even in countries that like to pretend they are past mindless violence towards civilians. Not a new favourite film, but I'm glad I've seen it.

12. L'Atalante, 1934 - Looking at my commentary, I have no idea if I actually liked this film
Passion on a boat. We on a boat. Lots of cats. Boat life boring, city dangerous. More cats.

13. À bout de souffle, 1960 - Not my cup of tea
Well I didn't experience this film the best possible way because it was not available anywhere proper. I spent an hour looking for a way to watch it in ways legal and illegal and found no stream with English subs, so I ended up having to watch it with no hard subs but a notepad file open with subs at the same time and reading that while a stream was running. So I ended up not watching the film a whole lot, just trying to keep up with the convos. LOL Not sure what to take away from this film. The main character was a douchebag sociopathic thief who tried to convince a girl that he was in love with her. His dick was, maybe. But the girl seemed strangely cold and unaffected as well. It was like watching two empty shells of people chatting about random things without reaching anything important. I suppose I could say this film was a bore. After reading more about the film it seems it was supposed to be a style over substance type of thing, which is kind of bad because I could hardly even look at the video LOL. So yeah. A lacking experience...

14. Apocalypse Now, 1979 - Recommended

15. Banshun, 1949 - Recommended
Another beautiful Japanese movie about life and how the most difficult way of showing love is being able to let go. I could relate somewhat to the main character, also being a single late 20s woman still living with my parents (note: I watched this a few years ago)... Unlike her I don't really want to stay this way haha, but it's awful to have relatives asking where "your man" is or what your plans are when nothing's going on. I find the traditional concept of marriage quite old-fashioned today (as in, the assumption of marriage being the only natural way of progressing in life), but I still found the father's speech to her daughter about what marriage is like insightful. It was a bit of a pro-marriage film LOL, but it also showed that it doesn't guarantee happiness and rather can be quite painful, at least at first. I love films that provide a glimpse to someone's life - not extraordinary life, just an average person - and this was one of those.

16. Au hasard Balthazar, 1966 - Nope
What a sad story. People are awful. This film makes me hate life. None of the characters even truly felt alive. Basically watch this film if you want to feel depressed. (I wonder if now after seeing more 'challenging' films I could understand a film like this better)

17. Shichinin no Samurai, 1954 - Recommended
YES GOOD STUFF. Great characters, great story, Toshiro Mifune ♥ Really well done battle scenes, atmosphere and emotion were well captured throughout. The film is long as hell, but definitely worth it. I now know why this film always makes best movie lists, tho I think it's a shame if it's the sole Japanese film on such lists. But yeah, I would rank this above so many of the films I saw before, hahaha. It's not just well-made, but also genuinely entertaining. And it's interesting you almost know from the start what will happen, but it's still enjoyable. Also: yay for constantly visible manbutts

18. Persona, 1966 - Recommended?
I have no idea what really happened just now, but I think it was beautiful and haunting and peculiar.

19. Zerkalo, 1975 - Not my cup of tea
This is one of those films, I reckon, that I should've read a bit about before watching it. Most films I prefer to just dive into, but I find it so taxing if I spend most of the film wondering what kind of film it's trying to be. I mean, some of it gave me major creepy vibes so I wondered if it was a thriller, if there were ghosts, if there was something psychological going on. But apparently it was just a non-linear collection of memories (and dreams) from a person's life, a loosely auto-biographical collection of experiences. The same actors portray different roles, so that adds to the confusion at first. This film is certainly not easy watching and would possibly require more than one viewing, which unfortunately I don't have enough time or interest in.

20. Singin' in the Rain, 1952 - Recommended
Oh how happy I am that this film was on this list, just to get a break from all the deeply artistic stuff. Not that this film isn't art. As you all might and should know, this is a musical. It has incredibly impressive musical scenes with fun choreographies and some very visually stunning moments (like the Broadway scene that the main character plans for his film towards the end of Singin' in the Rain - beautiful, vibrant, a party for the eyes). It's nice to watch a movie that puts a smile on my face for a change. And this film is so AMERICAN, in a celebrating way. The story is incredibly predictable, but who cares! The way it plays out is still entertaining and the dedication and hard work of the performers is amazing to watch.

21. L'avventura, 1960 - Nnnnaaww
Sooooo slooooooooooooowww and booooooorriiiiiinggg
The girl who goes missing is annoying, but at least things were more interesting when she was around

22. The Godfather, 1972 - Recommended
Seen before, great! Like the Seven Samurai it's both well-made and entertaining, the type I think almost anyone would appreciate and enjoy.

23. Le mépris, 1963 - Naw
I watched this before in a film studies class, and I can't remember anything about it. Except a blonde chick. Not my thing.

24. Rashomon, 1950 - Recommended
Seen before, great! I analysed something (sound?) about this for a film class and really, there's so much to appreciate about it artistically, but the story is also quite interesting. If I recall correctly, it has unreliable narrators recounting the same scene and it's up to the viewer to ponder or decide what really happened. Juicy juicy.

25. Ordet, 1955 - Not my cup of tea
The reason why it took me such a long time to get into the habit of watching the films on this list again was that there was this religion-heavy one lined up next. It's rather annoying to watch people debating religion when every point of view sounds equally ridiculous. The bullshit about innocents dying so god can prove a point to someone just makes me angry. Yes some nice camera work etc., but as a story, to me, this was a total waste of time. It felt like a propaganda film. Yes yes "you did not understand it, deep ponderings about religion and belief, blah blah"

26. In the Mood for Love, 2000 - Recommended
Tony Leung is my favourite actor and I'm a bad fan for not having watched all of this film before. In this film, two new neighbours discover that their partners are cheating on them with each other and the 'cheatees' form a special bond. It's very slow-paced, but the cinematography is great, the acting is great, it's beautiful to look at and the story is fascinating, if depressing. I like the scenes with music playing while the main characters are, for example, merely passing each other by. It almost feels like the film is seducing the viewer. I like that the main characters are not cheating, but sort of are because they're meeting in secret. It's a good film - not my favourite Wong Kar Wai film, but good!

27. Andrei Rublev, 1966 - Recommended?
Well this film started slowly and I was a bit confused about which character was relevant and which wasn't, and turned out kind of all of them were, oop at me. I'd say if you can get past the first hour, you'll enjoy the last two hours (well, that was my experience!). The main character's story didn't really interest me as much as the events happening around him and the side-characters around him. What a massive production, anyway. Tartars taking over one of the cities was insanity. I kind of liked this film, at least I was impressed by it. Didn't think I'd be so anxious at the end to find out if the bell would ring.

28. Mulholland Drive, 2001 - Recommended??
I've seen this before so unfortunately I am not rewatching this now, even if I should, because I don't remember much of it. It was weird but enjoyable, I think.

29. Stalker, 1979 - Recommended
I think I've found my favourite Tarkovsky film, if that's worth anything! This film is slow-paced, but the slowness makes sense and fits this film well, and the entire thing is very beautifully shot. I find the setting interesting and I am not surprised that this film has inspired a series of video games.

30. Shoah, 1985 - Could not watch
I was unable to find this anywhere. I'm disappointed because I actually wanted to watch this, since it's a documentary of the Holocaust.

31. Taxi Driver, 1976 - Recommended?
I've seen this before and liked it - it's another film I should watch again, but to be able to make progress, I must skip it for now. Maybe once I get to 100 or something I can go back and rewatch some selected films.

32. The Godfather: Part II, 1974 - Recommended
I was so excited to finally watch this movie - no, I hadn't seen it before - and it was good, but I think I remember liking the first movie more. The parts with Michael's dad Vito when he was young, aka young Robert de Niro, were especially great, but I wasn't as much drawn to the main story, likely because I found what happened a little predictable. Possibly because I've seen all of The Sopranos. I basically could expect that a whole lot of people would get killed, etc.

33. Ladri di biciclette (The Bicycle Thief), 1948 - Recommended-ish
Depressing, but good. I liked the boy constantly glancing up at his father for reassurance, or whatever.

34. Psycho, 1960 - Recommended
Very suspenseful and enjoyable, quite pleasing to the eye as well. I kind of wish I wasn't spoiled by the shower scene; I've heard it was quite shocking at the time.

35. The General, 1926 - Recommended
Very entertaining and funny! Amazing stunts! This is the kind of film that makes me happy I started watching this list.

36. Sátántangó, 1994 - Nope
This movie is seven hours long and I made it three hours in until suddenly this kid started terrorizing a cat and I am not watching that shit. The director claims the cat wasn't harmed and he adopted it after, but the scenes were too much and imo so unnecessary. Using an animal's distress for your "art", motherfucker there's never a good enough reason. I'm not even going to bother mentioning the things I liked about the film. I made it three hours in, three wasted hours that I could have spent watching Metropolis instead.

37. Metropolis, 1927 - Recommended
Loved this!! So visually stunning, delightfully creepy, dystopian & entertaining. The sets were incredible. Clearly it reflected concerns about industrialism, inequality etc. at the time of its creation. But also about how anger & revolution can turn people blind... Some of the effects are so cool, considering this was created in 1927! The story is kind of predictable and even corny at times, but I still found it enjoyable.

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.
Tove :): Adventure Time - Jake is ready for his ctwissie on July 18th, 2016 12:13 am (UTC)
Oh my god, this is such a cool project!

Way too much to comment on o____o!

I became a member of Tsutaya (Japanese rental video chain lol) while waiting for my Internet to get hooked up, so I've been renting random films to keep me entertained, I rented Vertigo on a whim (never seen it before), and it was SO AMAZING. I really loved it!

I loooooove Citizen Kane, I think I saw it at Cinemateket (so on the big screen) the first time I watched it, and it was such an unforgettable experience. This film also features a character with one of my favourite names ever. Jedediah. Come on, it's so fun to say!

I haven't seen Tokyo Monogatari yet, but I have it on blu-ray back in Oslo .......

2001 is horror? .... I guess it is. I haven't watched it in years and years, thanks for the reminder, I guess I'm due a re-watch! I don't really remember it at all XD;; It's available on Netflix here! O_O wow.

Lol your Apocalypse Now commentary. But I get it! It's a powerful film, definitely one of my all time favourites (which is a little cliché-y, but I don't care).

I saw Stalker for the first time at Cinemateket, I walked into it knowing absolutely nothing, and walked out having enjoyed it, but felt weird because I'd brought some of my co-workers along! I had no idea it would be so slow paced and dark hahahahhaha. Apparently the director made it super slow paced (especially in the beginning) on purpose. To scare away people who didn't really care about the film. I laughed so much when I first learnt about this.

METROPOLIS IS FANTASTIC. I'm just annoyed that they keep re-releasing it in new collector's edition boxes, because each new box is more beautiful than the last, and I don't really need more than one copy ;____;
Sari: ga-in unfshirenu on July 18th, 2016 04:27 am (UTC)

Lucky re:Citizen Kane, I haven't seen any of these on the big screen!

I clearly thought 2001 was creepy when I was watching it :D Artificial intelligence taking over? Though I guess the overall style is most memorable about it. Honestly I'm a little disappointed on some of my commentary because I don't even know myself what I was thinking at the time.

Hee re:Stalker, it can be awkward if you need to worry about how other people are responding to the film D:

Omg I keep wishing I could watch more of Metropolis. Seriously everything about it visually, and the woman as non-Maria keeps haunting my mind aaahhaa. So brilliant... It is EVERYTHING