My favorite Max Ophuls film. I love the swirling camera that mirrors the circus ring, and the ring of life. The story of Lola Montès (Martine Carol) and her many conquests, reenacted as a circus performance, narrated by ringmaster Peter Ustinov. It concludes with a death-defying plunge into a tub of water to symbolize her ultimate fall from grace.
Although this movie portrays the very real and gritty life on a river barge, there is something so poetic in it. You’ll never forget the contrast between Père Jules (Michel Simon)—who can puff smoke from a cigarette out of the face tattooed around his belly button—and the romantic belief of Juliette (Dita Parlo) that you can see the image of your true love in water.
I love Renoir’s films for the great storytelling in which he always incorporates social commentary. My favorite scene is between Captain de Boeldieu (Pierre Fresnay) and Captain von Rauffenstein (Erich von Stroheim) as they discuss the gentleman’s code of gentlemen’s honor, and how their time as the elite class is passing.
David Maysles, Albert Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin
As if the Stones music isn’t enough, the fashions are right up there too! Mick in his omega T-shirt and concho pants, and his black-and-red Ossie Clark “Sympathy for the Devil” shirt, or in his white suit with a red scarf, on his way to Muscle Shoals. And Keith’s Nudie the Tailor red-beaded jacket. Rock-and-roll dreams are made of this!
The Earrings of Madame de . . .
My second-favorite Max Ophuls film. He loved the chain of life, where everything swirls around, just like the beautiful heart-shaped earrings of the title, as they pass from hand to hand. The opulence of the belle époque story is reflected in Madame de’s sumptuous Venetian glass dressing table mirror, and all the opulent settings throughout the film.
Juliet of the Spirits
One of Fellini’s masterpieces. I particularly love the Piero Gherardi sets and Bri-Nylon costumes that add to the fantasy and frivolity of the outlandishly dressed women. The story parodies the marriage of Fellini and his wife Giulietta Masina (who plays Juliet).
Michael Barker’s Top 10
Michael Barker and his copresidents at Sony Pictures Classics, Tom Bernard and Marcie Bloom, have brought out some of the best and most successful independent and international films of the last two decades, from Women on the Verge of a Nervous Break…
Phil Rosenthal’s Top 10
Born in Queens, New York, American television writer and producer Phil Rosenthal is best known as the creator of the hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, which ran on CBS for nine seasons.
Monte Hellman’s Top 10
I’ve fulfilled a dream to become a part of the Criterion family. Criterion has helped to preserve not only the films I grew up with but also the ones I’m now trying to keep up with. Picking ten is worse than trying to choose between my wives, my…