My Top 10 Criterion Titles

by MrMountainshore

Created 08/28/12

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Nothing much to add to the title, just thought I'd make this 'cause I'm not getting any sleep! Still evolving.

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  • Well, what can you say about Cassavetes? If I were to make a list of ten best American films ever, it would all be Cassavetes. This one in particular, is very shocking. Not because in it is a woman under the influence of something, or a man who killed a Chinese bookie. Because there are supposedly successful entertainers that we all once dream to be, drinking alcohol and trying to forget about their loneliness, alienation and the scarcity of 'love' - and whatever that word means. It really does capture peoples' faces which make expressions that are very vague, but if you look closely, you will find that there's something to it. If there's such a thing as a miracle, it'd probably look like this.

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  • Everybody praises "400 Blows" by Truffaut which is totally understandable - but it makes me wonder as to why this film doesn't get any attention. Maybe because as painful it seems, "400 Blows" is poetic and at times visually deceiving while Pialat's "L'Enfance Nue" which translates as "Naked Childhood", is true to its title for being 'naked'. The emotions shown here is really disturbing and yet, the kind of emotions everybody has at least felt once in their lifetime. I think the amazing French filmmakers working today, such as Olivier Assayas and Bruno Dumont wouldn't have come so far without Pialat's visual guidance.

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  • "Osaka Elegy" by Mizoguchi - which is actually called "Naniwa Elegy" in Japanese (Naniwa is the old name for Osaka) is devastatingly effective in that it succeeds to break the fantasy of Japan for so many, making it clear that the problems in people's lives are omnipresent. The fact that this was made before WW2 is just incredible. It's also one of the very first Japanese films to have focused on the lives of women in Japan, with a realistic, gritty viewpoint. I strongly recommend anyone to see this, if you think Japanese cinema is all about Kurosawa, Ozu and Naruse whose films are way too 'soft' in my point of view, or the likes of Kitano and Miike whose only repertoire is making violent, numbing films or even worse - Studio Ghibli's anime. Being born in Japan, there are so few films that I can truly appreciate, but this one is a real gem.

  • "Ivan's Childhood" and "Andrei Rublev", as critically claimed as they are, I have problems with. The portrait of war in those films are so 'entertaining' that you enjoy it. And I'm against films portraying horrifying things in any acceptable form. But starting on from this very film, Tarkovsky would go on to make the best quality films possible. It's very interesting how in this film unlike most Sci-Fi films, the 'supposed-otherworldly-sceneries" are so natural that they become super-natural, and by the end of the film, the viewers come to terms with how 'unnatural' nature really is, and realize that there's a mysterious beauty to it - or maybe that was just me. But it sure is a film with such a big power, a power that can really change one's life.

  • What Polanski really impressed me with his first three films, was how they were story-wise so different, and yet the cold provocative B&W image was present in each film. I consider "Cul-de-sac" the best out of the three, because it combines the absurd, almost funny side of life that he explored in his early short stories (that are included in the brilliant Criterion version of "Knife In The Water") with, the dark side of life which he explored in "Knife In The Water" and "Repulsion". There are many scenes where you can't help but burst out laughing, and also scenes that are so dark and realistic that you feel like crying - just like life.

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  • By Daniel Dolgin
    September 25, 2012
    11:12 PM

    You have two movies (Cul De Sac and L'enface nue) in your top 10 that I own. I liked Cul-de-sac haven't seen the other one yet though
    • By MrMountainshore
      October 04, 2012
      12:42 PM

      Sorry, I didn't realize you had commented till now. Great to know we share similar tastes! I actually kind of envy you for having those two titles - I love them dearly but haven't gotten around to buying them yet! If you have any films to recommend, please tell me! x
  • By HUSKY
    January 10, 2013
    11:33 PM

    We enjoy similar films!
    • By MrMountainshore
      February 26, 2013
      11:32 AM

      Hey, sorry for the late reply! Oh, you like depressing films too? Haha just kidding, everybody around me tells me I only watch depressing films, but I usually feel more depressed when I watch a Hollywood film, if you know what I mean. Got any films to recommend? x