The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Monday, December 29, 2008
CINEMATIC SOIXANTE-HUITARDS: These film lists are all provisional, of course. I saw a lot of movies in
1998, but I never made it to Dr. Akagi. My 1988 list might look different if I'd ever seen Grave of the Fireflies. I may have to revise my 1978 list when I watch the original Pennies from Heaven. And the roster below could require a change after I get around to renting The Two of Us.

When the Motion Picture Academy looked at 1968, it gave its Best Picture Oscar to the Dickens-goes-Broadway musical Oliver! I don't dislike the movie, picture? That's just perverse.

1. Je t'Aime, Je t'Aime
Directed by Alain Resnais
Written by Jacques Sternberg

A New Wave film -- "New Wave" as in both New Worlds and Nouvelle Vague -- about a man who comes unstuck in time. It was shot at about the same time that Kurt Vonnegut was writing Slaughterhouse-5, so presumably the writers invented the idea independently.

2. Hour of the Wolf
Written and directed by Ingmar Bergman

It isn't Bergman's only horror movie -- you can make a case for classifying The Virgin Spring, Persona, even The Passion of Anna under that header -- but it's the one most deeply indebted to the genre.

3. Shame
Written and directed by Ingmar Bergman

And this Bergman picture is science fiction, though hardly anyone describes it as such.

4. The Lion in Winter
Directed by Anthony Harvey
Written by James Goldman, from his play

"If you're a prince, there's hope for every ape in Africa." (See also #19, below.)

5. High School
Directed by Frederic Wiseman

An academic dystopia.

6. Coogan's Bluff
Directed by Don Siegel
Written by Herman Miller, Dean Riesner, and Howard Rodman

Clint Eastwood stars as a fool of a cop who stumbles his way through a case and somehow prevails. Suspenseful, quietly funny, thoroughly anti-heroic. Siegel's best movie.

7. Night of the Living Dead
Directed by George Romero
Written by Romero and John Russo

It was alternately ignored and damned at the time, but would anyone disagree today that it's one of the most important pictures of the '60s?

8. Once Upon a Time in the West
Directed by Sergio Leone
Written by Leone and Sergio Donati, from a story by Leone, Dario Argento, and Bernardo Bertolucci

The most revisionist of the revisionist westerns.

9. 2001: A Space Odyssey
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, from a story by Clarke

"Daiiisy, daiiiiiiiiiisy, give me your annnnnswer, dooo..."

10. Madigan
Directed by Don Siegel
Written by Abraham Polonsky and Howard Rodman

Much bleaker -- and better -- than the TV show it inspired.

Honorable mentions:

11. Les Biches (Claude Chabrol)
12. Faces (John Cassavetes)
13. Picnic with Weissman (Jan Svankmajer)
14. Spider Baby (Jack Hill)
15. Bullitt (Peter Yates)
16. Death by Hanging (Nagisa Ohima)
17. The Flat (Jan Svankmajer)
18. Salesman (David Maysles, Albert Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin)
19. Planet of the Apes (Franklin J. Schaffner)
20. Yellow Submarine (George Dunning)

posted by Jesse 10:57 PM
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