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".I agreed that what really matters is what you like, not what you are like... Books, records, films - these things matter." - High Fidelity
My favorite Criterion titles.
This has been my all-time favorite film for the past 10 years and running. It was a seminal viewing for me; if it wasn't the first foreign film I saw, it was the one that opened the doors to world cinema. It's one of the few films that I feel has EVERYTHING and doesn't feel stuffy. It's epic in form and still hits these personal, emotional moments every time on the mark. It uses a fictional setup to showcase humanity at its worst and its finest. At the end, balance is restored but the losses sting.
This is what cool looks like. Most people want to be Elvis, Connery-era Bond, Brando from The Wild Ones, The Man With No Name and so forth. Me? It's Alain Delon as Jeff. The moment near the end where he makes that snooty barkeep wet his pants just by putting on the white gloves, never breaking eye contact? It never fails to make me smile. A film as cold-blooded as this feels as though it shouldn't be enjoyable and yet that's one of many amazing tricks Melville did here.
So sad, so funny and so true and back-to-back with great moments that you can't pick one without writing a full plot synopsis.
One of the more emotionally challenging films to watch because I know this will happen to me and my siblings in the future. I love my parents and I would never want to ignore them or treat them like a nuisance. Ozu's films are gentle in approach and yet the areas his films explore are still harsh territories because of how honest they are.
My first Woo film and while it wasn't always my favorite (The Killer has taken that mantle for a while), it remains comfort food. It's not as cool as Le Samourai but it's awfully damned close.
Regardless of its time period, this says everything about that period at the end of your teenage years when you're nearly about to tip off the edge of the cliff and into adulthood, when reflection really takes hold of you. It's about everything that matters at that point in your life because it's all you know about the world and it feels like enough to survive on. But we all have to wake up and grow up. That amazing cast, the writing, the music and the joy of it all.
There's nothing like it. Not in the way it sounds or looks or tells its story. Not in the way it arouses wonderment or imagination on the viewer's part. Not in the way it makes you feel good one moment and then takes all the joy away in another.
It's radical and technically blasphemous but no other film about Christ says more about the Son of God than any other cinematic treatment because of the brave way that it tries to express spirituality on human terms, through human eyes. Our concept of what is spiritual or holy or God-like is limited so we make the most with what we have and what we know.
On the flip side of the spiritual issue, here's something that asks, "What do we know?". It reminds us to examine our lives, to question things and be true to one's self. Because humanity is at its worst when it fails to do those things. Far and away the Python's best contribution to cinema and I always find new things in it on each viewing.
My first film by The Archers and possibly my favorite (The Red Shoes aside).