Author Topic: ET v. Sight and Sound's 100 Greatest Films of All Time  (Read 4198 times)

etdoesgood

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ET v. Sight and Sound's 100 Greatest Films of All Time
« on: March 20, 2020, 11:48:05 PM »
My month-by-month plan of attack to watch all of the Sight and Sound 100 this year.  All my travel plans for the summer are done for, so it's a good year to do it. I'm aware we're only a few years away from another poll, oh well. If you want to ride along on this fantastic voyage, then slide slide hoo-ride, watch some films and reply to the thread. Even if you just watch a few or have some responses to my impressions, it's all good. With the films I particularly like, I'll probably embark on new journeys into the movements, genres, or time periods to which they are associated. Feel free to give me recommendations over time, I have a running list.

rw=a personal rewatch, not the first time I've seen it

I have ethical hang-ups on a few of these films, which I note at the end, and you may read - or not - at your convenience.

WARNING: REVIEWS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.

RATINGS SYSTEM
4.5-5 STARS=GREAT
3-4 STARS=GOOD
2-2.5 STARS=MIXED
1-1.5 STARS=BAD


March
93. Madame de (Ophuls, 1953) 3.5 STARS LINK
93. Imitation of Life (Sirk, 1959) 1 STAR LINK
93. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Fassbinder, 1974) 4.5 STARS LINK
93. Touki Bouki (Mambety, 1973) 3.5 STARS LINK
93. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Powell/Pressburger, 1943) 5 STARS LINK
93. Yi Yi (Yang, 1999) 5 STARS LINK
93. Intolerance (Griffith, 1916) 2 STARS LINK
93. Un chien andalou (Bunuel, 1928) 3 STARS LINK
93. The Seventh Seal (Bergman, 1957) 4 STARS LINK

April
90. A Matter of Life and Death (Powell/Pressburger, 1946) 3 STARS LINK
90. Aguirre, Wrath of God (Herzog, 1972) 1.5 STARS LINK
90. Partie de campagne (Renoir, 1936) 3 STARS LINK
84. The Wild Bunch (Peckinpah, 1969) 4.5 STARS LINK
84. A Brighter Summer Day (Yang, 1991) 5 STARS LINK
84. Greed (von Stroheim, 1925) 2 STARS LINK
84. The Color of Pomegranates (Parajanov, 1968) 4 STARS LINK
84. Casablanca (Curtiz, 1942) 4 STARS LINK
84. Fanny and Alexander (Bergman, 1984) 5 STARS LINK
81. The Spirit of the Beehive (Erice, 1973) 5 STARS LINK
81. Lawrence of Arabia (Lean, 1962) 1 STAR LINK
81. The Magnificent Ambersons (Welles, 1942) 3.5 STARS LINK
78. Once Upon a Time in the West (Leone, 1968) 4.5 STARS LINK
78. Beau Travail (Denis, 1998) 4 STARS LINK
78. Chinatown (Polanski, 1974) (rw) 4 STARS LINK
73. Nashville (Altman, 1975) 5 STARS LINK
73. La grande illusion (Renoir, 1937) 2.5 STARS LINK
73. Les enfants du paradis (Carne, 1945) 4 STARS LINK
73. L'eclisse (Antonioni, 1962) 2.5 STARS LINK
73. The Third Man (Reed, 1949) 4 STARS LINK
69. A Man Escaped (Bresson, 1956) 5 STARS LINK
69. Sans Soleil (Marker, 1982) 4.5 STARS LINK
69. Blue Velvet (Lynch, 1986) (rw) 4 STARS LINK

May
69. Blade Runner (Scott, 1982) (rw) 4.5 STARS LINK
63. Rio Bravo (Hawks, 1958)(rw) 3 STARS LINK
63. Pickpocket (Bresson, 1959) 2 STARS LINK
63. Night of the Hunter, The (Laughton, 1955) 4 STARS LINK
63. Sunset Blvd. (Wilder, 1950) 2.5 STARS LINK
63. Modern Times (Chaplin, 1936) 4.5 STARS LINK
63. Wild Strawberries (Bergman, 1957) 4 STARS LINK
59. Sansho the Bailiff (Mizoguchi Kenji, 1954) 4 STARS LINK
59. La Maman et la putain (Eustache, 1973) 4 STARS LINK
59. Barry Lyndon (Kubrick, 1975) (rw) 4.5 STARS LINK
59. Sherlock Jr (Keaton, 1924) 4.5 STARS LINK
57. Touch of Evil (Welles, 1958) 1.5 STARS LINK
57. The Leopard (Visconti, 1963) 2 STARS LINK
56. M (Lang, 1931) 2.5 STARS LINK
53. Raging Bull (Scorsese, 1980) (rw) 3.5 STARS LINK
53. Rear Window (Hitchcock, 1954) (rw) 3 STARS LINK
53. North by Northwest (Hitchcock, 1959) 2 STARS LINK
50. La Jetee (Marker, 1962) 5 STARS LINK
50. Ugetsu monogatari (Mizoguchi Kenji, 1953) 4 STARS LINK
50. City Lights (Chaplin, 1931) 4.5 STARS LINK
48. Histoire(s) du cinema (Godard, 1998)
48. The Battles of Algiers (Pontecorvo, 1966)
42. Close-Up (Kiarostami, 1990) (rw)

June
42. Play Time (Tati, 1967)
42. Pierrot le fou (Godard, 1965)
42. Gertrud (Dreyer, 1964)
42. Some Like It Hot (Wilder, 1959)
42. Pather Panchali (Ray, 1955)
41. Journey to Italy (Rossellini, 1954)
39. La dolce vita (Fellini, 1960)
39. The 400 Blows (Truffaut, 1959)
35. Satantango (Tarr, 1994)
35. Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles (Akerman, 1975)
35. Psycho (Hitchcock, 1960)
35. Metropolis (Lang, 1927) (rw)
34. The General (Keaton & Bruckman, 1926)
33. Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948) (rw)
31. Taxi Driver (Scorsese, 1976) (rw)
31. The Godfather Part II (Coppola, 1974)
29. Shoa (Lanzmann, 1985)
29. Stalker (Tarkovsky, 1979)
28. Mulholland Dr (Lynch, 2001) (rw)
26. Andrei Rublev (Tarkovsky, 1966)
26. Rashomon (Kurosawa, 1950)
24. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000) (rw)
24. Ordet (Dreyer, 1955)

July
21. The Godfather (Coppola, 1972)
21. Le Mepris (Godard, 1963)
21. L'Avventura (Antonioni, 1960)
20. Singin' in the Rain (Donen & Kelly, 1951)
19. Mirror (Tarkovsky, 1974)
17. Persona (Bergman, 1966)
17. Seven Samurai (Kurosawa, 1954) (rw)
16. Au hasard Balthazar (Bresson, 1966)
15. Late Spring (Ozu Yasujiro, 1949)
14. Apocalypse Now (Coppola, 1979)
13. Breathless (Godard, 1960) (rw)
12. L'Atalante (Vigo, 1934)
11. Battleship Potemkin (Eisentein, 1925)
10. 8 1/2 (Fellini, 1963)
9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1927)
8. Man with a Movie Camera (Vertov, 1929)
7. The Searchers (Ford, 1956)
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968) (rw)
5. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (Murnau, 1927)
4. Le Regle du jeu (Renoir, 1939)
3. Tokyo Story (Ozu Yasujiro, 1953)
2. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
1. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958) (rw)

A personal caveat that I feel I must put out there: This is something I generally don't like to rub people's faces in, but necessary for this marathon: I'm a vegan who has a huge ethical dilemma with actual animal cruelty, as opposed to portrayal, in the film or in its making. Portrayal of cruelty to animals can be useful if done for reasonable artistic purposes that does not glorify harming animals, as can portrayal of any other sort of violence and cruelty, but as we know, some films actually tortured and killed animals for artistic effect, a trade-off that is unacceptable to me. In this marathon, Andrei Rublev, Apocalypse Now, and Satatango are major culprits. I plan to watch them in their entirety and endure the scenes of cruelty, even so as to bear witness, but I am also active in the struggle for the humane treatment of animals. Similarly, I advocate against cruelty toward human beings, especially the most vulnerable. I just want to make my ethics clear as I embark on my biggest journey on this forum yet, as it's important we are aware of these issues and advocate for humane practices with our increased modern consciousness moving toward/at cruelty being unacceptable in the creation of art and entertainment. If you disagree, please be respectful, as I always strive to be respectful to personal views expressed on the forum.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2020, 02:36:23 AM by etdoesgood »
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Teproc

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Re: ET v. Sight and Sound's 100 Greatest Films of All Time
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2020, 05:03:52 AM »
Will be reading along attentively. I find that this is an excellent way to watch canonical films that you wouldn't necessarily gravitate towards naturally, to challenge yourself.
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etdoesgood

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Re: ET v. Sight and Sound's 100 Greatest Films of All Time
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2020, 05:12:51 AM »
Thanks. :) And absolutely, I've always been fascinated with this list, even if I thought it kind of seemed on the stuffy side. I also think it's a step to me having a more-informed and complete personal pantheon of films, and it allows me to contrast what I believe about the art form with mainstream critical thought on cinema. They have the experience and expertise, but I have my thoughts, too.

The Earrings of Madame de... will probably be showing here tomorrow!
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Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: ET v. Sight and Sound's 100 Greatest Films of All Time
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2020, 05:28:21 AM »
Following along

Antares

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Re: ET v. Sight and Sound's 100 Greatest Films of All Time
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2020, 01:16:32 PM »
I can't wait to see your reaction to The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. It's one of my all time favorite films, with one of the greatest soliloquies by one of my favorite actors, Anton Walbrook. 
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etdoesgood

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Re: ET v. Sight and Sound's 100 Greatest Films of All Time
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2020, 03:02:31 AM »
Madame de...
MAX OPHULS, 1953
3.5 STARS OUT OF 5

I find the three primary characters, Madame de..., the general, and Baron Donati, tiresome at best and loathsome at worst. Usually, if you are to engage in the intrigues of aristocrats, you must do one of two things: Critique the aristocracy, preferably harshly; or, find an angle that is so irresistible that I can't help but feel hooked. In Madame de..., I can hardly tell if my perception of a critique is real or not, considering the representation of wealth per frame is nearly farcical in nature. The film also seems to conflate such private decadence with the opulence of the Catholic church, again a seeming critique on religion. Yet, most of what I've read on the film leads me to believe my perceptions of an Ophuls' critique on the aristocracy or religion are all in my head. Thus, we move on to whether or not this film found an angle to hook me into the lives of the tiresome Madame de... and her little love triangle; in short, is the Brotherhood of the Traveling Earrings enough? Maybe halfway. With every sale and every movement of these earrings, Madame's house of cards grows larger and more unstable, even as the general's own transgressions are - strangely inconsequentially - woven in. This leads to some of the most tiresome dramatics, spells of fainting at opportune times, until they cease being mere dramatics. Nonetheless, waiting for the cards to fall, the other shoe to drop, or whatever metaphor or cliche you prefer, is only mildly interesting. Even the outcome and possible two deaths led me to an audible "Hmph." Or maybe "Hmmm." Maybe both. But at least there is consequence to all of this.

Since it's a film about three people I could care less about that simultaneously only holds mild intrigue or mystery for me, why did I still come away with a moderate sense of satisfaction? It's the look and technical brilliance. Whether or not all of the decadence, the riches per square inch, were for critique or titillation, every setting is meticulously arranged. Then, only something I could notice at times during the film, but later through reflection and reading a few reviews did I realize to be absolutely true: The filmography is damn near perfect. I noticed it best during the scene where we are situated outside of the mansion looking in as the colonel closed the windows, and the camera elegantly moves from window to window as the general shuts the house to us, with the effect that he's shutting in their secrets and transgressions, something he'll clean up without having to air out his dirty laundry to the world. But really, you can see it from the opening scene, where the camera follows Madame's movements as she looks through her closet, wardrobe, and collection of jewels, which she takes seemingly for granted, but with which we can't help but be taken. Though she's apparently selling off the earrings, in the first of many transactions involving these items, to pay-off debts, it's clear she has enough to clear the streets of Paris of its tramps and ne're-do-wells. I'm not much on film strictly for the purpose of study, unless you are an aspiring film-maker, or maybe an aspiring film critic, but the editing-in-scene we see here, the absolute minimization of superfluous cutting, is as instructional as it is fascinating and enjoyable. It's important a writer and director build characters that I love or love to hate, but here I could care less about them because I just liked looking at the movie. It might not have been enough, but it was enough not to put me off or leave me cold.

I know there are many films to come in this marathon that will be more thematically in my wheelhouse than this melodramatic piece, but it's also an interesting sensation to have something offend my sensibilities in several ways, and yet satisfy me in several others. I recommend such an experience, but not too frequently.

Side Note: Vittorio de Sica as the baron is interesting. I knew he was an actor, but it's strange and rather disorienting to see him in a setting of riches when his most important work as a director documents the struggles of the poor.

A Note on Ratings: I'm going to add my ratings scale to the first post in the topic. I don't normally like giving ratings to films right away, would rather they sink in and rate them in waves. Nevertheless, I'm going to give it a go this time around, and do any necessary revisions when I put a bow on this later this year. Then, leave it alone.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2020, 03:59:20 AM by etdoesgood »
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etdoesgood

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Re: ET v. Sight and Sound's 100 Greatest Films of All Time
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2020, 06:33:34 AM »
Imitation of Life
DOUGLAS SIRK, 1959
1 STAR OUT OF 5

While watching this film, I was initially taken with it. One woman, Lora Meredith, taking in another, Annie Johnson, when she was in need, save the white-black power dynamic issues for a moment. Then that woman surviving a bad modeling gig and an Ailes or Weinstein-esque attack by an agent, and making a career for herself in acting (while flipping the power dynamic with that agent). Annie plays the help, sure, but she's the source of wisdom, comfort, and love in the family, and her daughter, Sarah Jane, who shows as white despite being very (very - to be continued) light-skinned black is the real interesting character in all of this anyway. Her confusion leaves her in a place where she has to literally escape home and figuratively escape herself. And Susie, well, whether she's 6 or 16, she's just adorable.

But then, this film really is pretty racist. The black woman is saved by a white woman and eager to fulfill the role of her help from the beginning of the film to its/her end. Now, Annie says Sarah Jane's father was fair-skinned, but the girls who play Sarah Jane (younger and older) are white. Could you imagine if such a thing were done in a film in 2020? I mean, it wouldn't, because immediately there'd be a meltdown throughout social media before a single bit of footage could be shot, and rightfully so. It is demeaning. And, like any film of its ilk, we are meant to feel OK about the positioning of Annie as a maid because she is treated so well by Lora and Susie and is able to save up relatively good money, at least to take one flight and fund her own funeral. You can see how choices made by Sirk and the screenwriters are built-in defenses against racism, even going so far to exhibiting that Annie has a rich social and civic life outside the house (showing how little Lora knows about her after so much time). In the end, the white woman becomes a star actress, the white girl goes to college in Denver, the black woman dies a maid to a white woman in that white woman's house, and the black girl (who is played by white girls) ends up in burlesque shows.

Unacceptable.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2020, 11:56:44 PM by etdoesgood »
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Junior

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Re: ET v. Sight and Sound's 100 Greatest Films of All Time
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2020, 07:36:41 AM »
If you think that version is racist, you should definitely not watch the original 1930s version. This one at least attempts to understand the black characters as complex human beings.
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Re: ET v. Sight and Sound's 100 Greatest Films of All Time
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2020, 08:05:29 AM »
Could you imagine if such a thing were done in a film in 2020?
This single question is going to wipe out a lot of classic cinema.

And maybe it should. There's certainly an argument to be made.
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Re: ET v. Sight and Sound's 100 Greatest Films of All Time
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2020, 08:52:32 AM »
There are films that I think were still backwards in thought at their time. James Baldwin's The Devil Finds Work is a great book where he talks about a lot of contemporary films and how even the progressive titles had racist undertones.