|Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on October 16, 2010 at 4:45 PM|
As promised, I am going to start a countdown of my 10 favorite films (or at least as close and as satisfying a Top 10 as I've yet made). This is a process I find very difficult, and after several failed attempts at comprising a Best Of All Time list I have finally made one I feel mostly comfortable with. Of course, films had to be left off, and with only 10 slots there were quite a few that unfortunately could not make the cut.
Without further ado...
(Some) of My Other Favorites
8 1/2 (1963), by Federico Fellini
Amadeus (1984), by Milos Forman
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), by Andrew Dominik
Au Revoir les Enfants (1987), by Louis Malle
Billy Elliot (2000), by Stephen Daldry
The Black Stallion (1979), by Carol Ballard
Chinatown (1974), by Roman Polanski
City Lights (1931), by Charlie Chaplin
The Conversation (1974), by Francis Ford Coppola
Cries and Whispers (1973), by Ingmar Bergman
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), by Woody Allen
Double Indemnity (1944), by Billy Wilder
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), by Steven Spielberg
The English Patient (1996), by Anthony Minghella
Forbidden Games (1952), by René Clément
The Godfather: Parts I and II (1972/1974), by Francis Ford Coppola
The Graduate (1967), by Mike Nichols
Hour of the Wolf (1968), by Ingmar Bergman
Howards End (1992), by James Ivory
Hud (1963), by Martin Ritt
Late Spring (1949), by Yasujiro Ozu
Network (1976), by Sidney Lumet
On the Waterfront (1954), by Elia Kazan
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), by Sergio Leone
Pelle the Conqueror (1988), by Bille August
Ran (1985), by Akira Kurosawa
The Right Stuff (1983), by Philip Kaufman
The Silence (1963), by Ingmar Bergman
Sunrise (1927), by F.W. Murnau
Sunset Boulevard (1950), by Billy Wilder
Ugetsu (1953), by Kenji Mizoguchi
Vertigo (1958), by Alfred Hitchcock
And the list begins...
#10 - 2001: A Space Odyssey STANLEY KUBRICK, 1968
In 1968, Stanley Kubrick made a film that was as big and heady as any film that had been created yet. His characters weren't elaborate, his story didn't follow a conventional narrative, and his focus was not on humans, but on the entire universe - its past and its infinite future. Painting in methodical, abstract movements of color and shape, he managed to put forth a vision of worldly existence that was transcendent and eminently radical. Some saw it as boring, pretentious drudgery, others saw a hallucinatory odyssey that explored human life and the beyond as no other had ever done. In 1968, it was a Space Oddity. In 2010, it is simply one of the greatest pieces of art to emerge from the 20th century.
What makes 2001: A Space Odyssey so resonant to me? In purely cinematic terms, Stanley Kubrick's visual stylings can hardly be matched. His mise-en-scène is as deliberate and controlled as the coolly futuristic architecture he navigates, and his steady arm knows exactly how long a scene should progress. The use of classical music, most notably (and famously) Richard Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra creates an operatic sonic landscape that reverberates through the vast planes of space. It's a movie that trusts its inhibitions, one that fully lets its images do the speaking. And its visual effects, revolutionary for the time, are still as robust and gloriously naturalistic today. But what makes the film one for the ages is just how grand in scope it is. Very few films, if any, can claim to be working on such a massive universal scale as 2001. It is a purely visual film, a testament to the powers of the moving picture, and it uses its devices to examine an epic, winding timeline of life. From the monkeys at the beginning to the bone that morphs into a spaceship, to a diabolical machine named HAL 9000 and the weakly humans who challenge him, to an old man in a sterile room looking up at a giant monolith, and finally, to the birth of a star child that will perhaps carry on the cycle innumerably; Kubrick's space-aged masterpiece discovers a compendium of time and space in a way our linear lives just can't experience. Metaphysical, mystical, scientific, mind-expanding, 2001: A Space Odyssey remains a film well ahead of its comparatively archaic times.
Categories: My Top 10 of All Time