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

Sunday, December 30, 2018
SOIXANTE-HUITARDS: We've wandered through my favorite films of
2008, 1998, 1988, and 1978. Now let's drop by the '60s.

When the Motion Picture Academy looked at 1968, it gave its Best Picture award to the Dickens-goes-Broadway musical Oliver! I wouldn't say I dislike that movie, but...best 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 around the same period 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

This 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 obviously indebted to the genre.

3. Shame
Written and directed by Ingmar Bergman

"Sometimes everything seems just like a dream. It's not my dream; it's somebody else's. But I have to participate in it."

4. The Prisoner
Written by Patrick McGoohan, David Tomblin, George Markstein, Vincent Tilsley, Anthony Skene, Terence Feely, Lewis Greifer, Gerald Kelsey, Roger Woddis, Michael Cramoy, Roger Parkes, and Ian Rakoff
Directed by McGoohan, Tomblin, Don Chaffey, Pat Jackson, Peter Graham Scott, and Robert Asher

This spy-fi allegory about a mysterious totalitarian archive was both the most experimental and the most anti-authoritarian TV show of the '60s. And it has enough of an arc for me to treat it here as a miniseries, even if the fans have never been able to agree on the "right" order of the episodes.

5. 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.

6. 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?

7. 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

There's making a revisionist western, and then there's casting Henry Fonda as a cold-blooded psychotic.

8. High School
Directed by Frederic Wiseman

An academic dystopia.

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. 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 #20, below.)

Honorable mentions:

11. Stolen Kisses (François Truffaut)
12. Madigan (Don Siegel)
13. Les Biches (Claude Chabrol)
14. Faces (John Cassavetes)
15. Picnic with Weissman (Jan Svankmajer)
16. Bullitt (Peter Yates)
17. The Swimmer (Frank Perry)
18. Death by Hanging (Nagisa Oshima)
19. The Flat (Jan Svankmajer)
20. Planet of the Apes (Franklin J. Schaffner)

Of the films of 1968 that I haven't seen, I'm most interested in Hell in the Pacific.


posted by Jesse 8:51 AM
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