Ten Criterion Titles That Opened My Eyes

by Tom

Created 07/13/12

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My romance with the Criterion Collection has lasted for some years now. It really changed me in the way I watch movies and in the types of movies I watch. Opening my eyes to the wonders of foreign cinema, I was fansicnated to see how people from other areas of the world saw life both imagined and real. Also in discovering some of the great films of the American cinema experience. The commentaries and supplemental features expanded my knowledge and love of these films and my understanding of thoes who made them. I became a student of film thanks to my delving headlong into the ever expanding catalouge. Here are ten of the films that are touchstones to my criterion experience.

  • Anna Karnia. What more needs to be said about Bande a Part. It looks as free flowing and vital as the day it was filmed. I come back to this film more than any other title in the collection. Did I mention Anna Karina? Perfection.

  • Not my first Bergman film, but certainly the one that has had the most impact on me. Perfectly acted. Beautifully shot. Painfully real. I think its his most uncompromising film, and considering his body of work that says alot. Anyone who has faith can relate to the people in this film. We all have questioned everything at some point in our lives. Thankfully Bergman put his crisis of faith on celluliod for us all to be amazed at.

  • The first Criterion title I purchased. I had read about the film before in doing some reading on silent films. And to be quite honest, the dvd case alone made me purchase it. The supplemental section with its excellent commentary and impressive making of material made me really appriciate the film more, and how great it was to have such material. A very important film in the collection for me.

  • My favorite trip into Wes Anderson World. I always find something new when I watch this movie. The vibrant colors. The amazing soundtrack (my first exposure to indian music, outside the beatles of course). And a really moving tale of three siblings lost to each other and found again and spiritual growth. I saw it 4 times on the big screen when it came out, each one an amazing experience. "Do you think shes gaslighting you..?"

  • One of the ultimate Criterion releases. 3 discs of Terry Gilliam satire, lunacy and darkness. 3 versions of the film. The battle for brazil making of is worth the price of admission alone. Truly a film that rewards with each return watch. And an interesting study on the art of editing and how it can change a film.

  • Another "what more can you say about this film" film. Because it is such a remarkable accomplishment. Perfect, perfect, perfect.

  • Like jazz music made visable. Fast and free wheelin'. Jean Luc Godard's first film Breathless is one of his best works. Belmondo and Seberg are frozen forever in time and memory as the embodiment of french new wave cool and sex appeal.

  • Ah, New York and the end of the 50's. Jazz. Like the works of the beat writers made flesh. Shadows is brilliant in its understatement. Its a simple story, told simply. Yet it is full of raw emotions and sensuality. Dig it man!

  • Kurosawa's masterpiece. Compassion and understanding are at the heart of his last black and white film. Its a meditative film, you must take it in slowly and really think about it. I get lost in it everytime I see it.

  • One of my favorite movies ever. One of the most mindbending experiences I ever had watching a film. Depp and Deltoro are in fine form, Its hard to seperate them from the onscreen persona's now. As crazed and thought provoking as the book it was based on. Buy the ticket, take the ride.

1 comment

  • By dzejman
    February 22, 2014
    10:41 PM

    A lot of these films have also opened my eyes, most specifically Red Beard. Very nice list. I'll have to check out Shadows.