Genre, movement, era, theme (fiction)

by Petri Simon

Created 07/23/17

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My first idea was only to expand my TOP 10, to create more lists, honour as many films from the collection as possible.

I realized later, that I could learn much more if I attempted a truly ambitous project. I selected films - only one from a director - all standing for a certain theme, movement or genre in cinema history.

For me, it was very complicated and confusing to start studying film history. I was given this incredible amount of movements and eras of all kind and I had no idea how to locate them in time and place. I remember connecting genres, themes, directors together much later, when I already had some clues about it and could see it in a somewhat organized bigger picture. To put together something that really explores the history of film and not having left out many greats is almost impossible or requires thousands of mentioned films, the closest to this is Film History: An Introduction by Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell. This list here obviously doesn't have anything to do with such a grand and honorable aim. I can only do this subjectively. Who am I to decide what to include? The one thing that I can decide is which film I relate personally to. The other reason why this is rather personal than professional and not representative at all is that I have only chosen 121 films. It might seem a lot, but it is not. It is barely enough to represent the most significant and some less well-known themes of the cinema of the Western World and very few films from each continent. I needed a limit otherwise it would have become too much.

Doing this within the Criterion Collection is a great advantage because it helps you orientate, just like I intent this list to help others orentating. On the other hand it gives you limitation. King Vidor, DW Griffith, William Wyler, William Wellman, Vincente Minnelli, Abraham Polonsky, Robert Wise, Edward Dmytryk, Joseph H. Lewis, Robert Rossen, Arthur Penn, Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Sofia Coppola, Charlie Kaufman, Bennett Miller are all missing and that is just the Americans. I couldn't include the Hungarian films, from Makk through Jeles to Tarr, that would make a great box set. Or I could imagine another World Cinema box set with directors such as Atom Egoyan, Glauber Rocha, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Hsiao Hsien Hou, Zhuangzhuang Tian, Theodoros Angelopoulos, Carlos Reygadas, Bill Douglas and Jafar Panahi to name a few.

There are some directors who are part of the Collection and whom I admire but didn't include because then it simply wouldn't have ended. Masaki Kobayashi, Shohei Imamura, Leo McCarey, Albert Brooks, Philip Kaufman, Stephen Frears, Robert Aldrich, Paul Thomas Anderson, Bob Rafelson, Frank Capra, CB DeMille, Russ Meyer, Arnaud Desplechin, Claire Denis, Matteo Garrone, Francois Truffaut, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol... I will mention them in the descriptions anyway.

Filmmakers Howard Hawks, Akira Kurosawa, Robert Bresson, Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Wim Wenders, Mike Leigh, Martin Scorsese and Richard Linklater are not on this list, because they are on my TOP 10:

Narrative filmmakers Agnés Varda, Steven Soderbergh, Orson Welles and Alain Resnais just like my favorite documentartists such as Robert Drew or Les Blank or not on this list because they are on my "favorite documentaries" list:

In chronological order.

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