Welcome to a New Cinema Site

Cinema that was invented in the last decade of 19th century,  flourished in the 20th century and for the most part,it was the most popular and in a way the most creative art format, borrowing from other art forms. After the invention of television, and the production of TV films in the second half of the last century, and later on the internet media and the new age of digitalism and online streaming or stealing of the movies, at least over the past couple of decades, Cinema has lost its glory. At the same time, while in the first half or most of the 20th century, Cinema was heavily in the hands of story tellers, photographers, and actors, who were all led by the filmmaker or the creator, in the last few decades of the past century and more so in the present 21st century, it is dominated by digital special effects and out of reality. So cinema as an art format has greatly transformed to a technical/digital industry. Along the many efforts across the globe to save this modern art against the box office sales pressure and capital demand, this site hopes to contribute a small part in this endeavor!       

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What is Cinema?

Cinema initially sprang from photography, so that later on and to this day, it is called “motion picture” or “movies”, while the term “film” could be used for both cinema and photography. In the beginning, cinema was simply, pictures in motion with no other adding arts or technology, such as sound, music, or else, but acting. That is why for the first few decades since the birth of cinema, the movies were “silent” and this art form had to rely basically on the power of imagery with all its cinematographic components and the filmmakers like painters on canvas had to do whatever they could to create a powerful moving picture on the screen in addition to silent acting without talk. In this endeavor, some relied on set design, the use of light and shadows, like the German expressionists, and some relied on editing like Eisenstein, and some relied mostly on acting and sensible realism like Chaplin. At the time and even today, it is easier to rate and rank a silent film, as there were no white noise of sound or talk and all were imagery and picture in motion to measure. Due to simplicity, originality and the role of these pure ingredients, the silent films are still on the top of many best films of all time, such as the works of Serge Eisenstein, Fritz Lang, D.W.Griffith, and Charles Chaplin.

The sound brought theatrical acting to the cinema despite strong oppositions of silent films’ actors who were great action actors, specially in comedy. While 1920’s were still dominated by the silent movies, the 1930’s were the era of infiltration of theatrical acting to cinema that lasted for several decades until the recent domination of special effects and interception of digitalism into cinema. Orson Welles, Humphrey Bogart, Catharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Vivien Leigh, James Dean and Marlon Brando were such actors who stemmed from theatre or acted as such. This continued to the modern era so that the newer actors such as Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Leonardo DiCaprio continued with such legacy. The theatrical acting while added rich flavor to the story telling and content through dialogues to the cinema, in many instances became very close to theatrical plays and robbed the cinematic experience and presentation, and limited the filmmakers in showing their talents. This is somewhat parallel to the digital cinema nowadays, where digitalism and special effects have totally stolen the rich cinematic creation.

Evaluation, rating and ranking movies, is not a matter of personal taste, likeness, or even a collective voting of majority, as the majority could be wrong and do not consider all the components of a film, with a delicate consideration of the differential factors. In other words, the role of camera, acting and editing are not the same and do not carry the similar weights as special effect. Unfortunately this has not been done closely in most rating and ranking of the motion pictures and the best lists, or awards such as Oscar. Beyond the different components of a film, that somewhat and singularly are recognized as in awards for script, acting, editing, directing, etc., the following factors in ranking the best films are essential. (Of course based on the following criteria, the earlier a film, the higher the rank would be, except the films that in addition to these factors, they have the “best impression” that could go beyond the time boundary. This is certainly very rare and on our list could include only a few rare top films such as “The Battleship Potemkin”, “Man with a movie camera” and “Metropolis”. Finally any originality and technicality if not cinematic or visual and at the service of story telling, entertainment or enlightening , like experimental works of some such as Godard do not count in this site evaluation and ranking of the films.    

  1. Originality: No matter how well a film has been made today, if it is a copy of an original work, or an adaptation in one form or another, it would put it out of any best rank. An original work, even if not well done to perfection, it is still original and a creation that needs to be considered. Of course the earlier films fairly take on a lot of credits from this factor, but this may encourage the true filmmakers not to be copiers or followers but original and creative!
  2. Technicality: This factor should cover all the technical aspects of filmmaking from the story and script to the all works of camera, acting, editing, special effects, etc. The originality and proper application of each technique or component need to be considered in ranking.
  3. Impact Factor/Significance: This is the factor influencing other films, urging them to copy and experience the original work in part or in whole. This factor is not only the influence that an original work has on the industry, but on people in general and other forms of art and aspects of life as well. In conjunction with the influence that a film could have on other films or else, the significance of the film on cinema as a whole and on the history of this art medium is important and will be counted on.
  4. Survival: This shows how long a work, no matter how great, it will be remembered and looks fresh for years to come, specially in the eyes of the true cinema patriots.

 Throughout this site, in writing on films and ranking them, the above factors will be delicately considered, though no evaluation or ranking could be rightful. Such comprehensive evaluation and ranking will hopefully encourage others to take on such or similar process in ranking and awarding, and avoiding a single factor such as the content of the story for political or trend of the time reasons!         

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The Greatest Films of All Time

Almost all available films in English or with English subtitles from the early years of inception of cinema in this list have been diligently reviewed. Since the originality criteria is very important and could affect the other criteria of technicality, impact and survival, this review has been so far until the year 1965. The following films that have been on some greatest films lists or have been ranked high or awarded by different organizations, have been particularly more carefully watched and reviewed. 

In evaluation and recognition of the great and specifically the greatest films, beyond the factors of originality, technicality, impact factor and survival, the overall and instant impression of a film has been greatly considered. This impression that instantly in the first few minutes of the film befalls on the viewer, is what could move a film up the ladder of time and originality to the top of this list here. This impression factor also could include a film that’s not original in singularity, but original and novel in the application of previous original techniques.

The story content of the film does  not bear any importance on this site in recognition and ranking the great films as it is customary in other awards and ranking recognitions. Also any adaptation from other sources such as novels or plays to the film takes off the originality of the film, unless such adaptation has become an original of its own. This list of greatest films of all time, unlike many other such lists is not limited to a certain number, e.g. 100, so it could be less or more and it is also ongoing, though the newer films have less chance or such recognition due to the high chance of lack of originality.     

The films in blue colour have been great, but not the greatest to be in our list, and the film in red colour have been the greatest films of all time in our list:

1906:The story of Kelly Craig (Charles Tait) (Australia)

1911:L’inferno (Francesco Bertolini) (France)                                           Defence of Sevastopol (A.Khanzonov/V.Goncharov) (Russia)

1912:Cleopatra (C.Gaskil) (USA)                                                                        Robin Hood (E.Arnaud/H.Blache) (USA) 

1913:Ouo Vadis (Enrico Guazzoni) (Italy)                                                        L’enfent de Paris (Leonce Perret) (France) 

1914:Cinderella (J,Kirkwood Sr.)(USA)                                                                 The Mysterious X (B.Christensen) (Denmark)

1915:The Birth of a Nation (D.W.Griffith) (USA)                                             The Golem (P.Wegener/H.Galeen) (Germany)                                                 Alice in the Wonderland (W.W.Young) (USA)                                                       The Italian (R.Barker) (USA) 

1916:Intolerance (D.W.Griffith) (USA)                                                           20,000 Leagues under the sea (S.Paton) (USA)                                           Sherlock Holmes (A.Berthelet) (USA)                                                                    The end of the world (A.Blom) (Denmark)

1918:A trip to Mars (Holger-Madsen) (Denmark)

1919:Harariki (F.Lang) (Germany)

1920:The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (R. Wiene) (Germany)                     Erotikon (M.Stiller) (Sweden)

1921:The Kid (Chaplin) (USA)

1922:Nanook of the North (R.J. Flahery) (USA)                                   Nosferatu (F.W.Murnau) (Germany)                                                               Othello (D.Buchowetzki) (Germany)

1923:The Ten Commandments (C.B.DeMille) (USA)

1924:Greed (E.v. Stroheim) (USA)                                                                 America (W.D.Griffith) (USA)

1925:The Battleship Potemkin (Eisentein) (Russia)                                         The Gold Rush (Chaplin) (USA)                                                                            Strike (Eisenstein) (Russia)                                                                                       Orochi (B.Futagawa) (Japan)

1926:The General (B.Keaton) (USA)                                                                       Nana (J.Renoir) (France)

1927:Metropolis (Fritz Lang) (Germany)                                                             Wings (W. Wellman) (USA)                                                                                   Sunrise: A song of two humans (R.Longford) (USA)                                           The Jazz singer (A.Crosland) (USA)                                                                   Berlin: Symphony of a great city (W.Ruttmann) (Germany)                              October (Ten days that shook the World) (Esienstein) (Russia)                   The end of Petersburg (V.Pudovkin/M.Doller) (Russia)

1928:The Crowd (K.Vidor) (USA)                                                                             The passion of Joan of arc (C.T. Dreyer) (France)                                              The last command (J.v. Sternberg) (USA)                                                             The circus (Chaplin) (USA) 

1929:Man with a movie camera (D.Vertov) (Russia)                                       Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog) (L.Bunuel) (Spain)               Pandora’s box (G.W.Pabst) (Germany)                                                                 The Broadway melody (H.Beaumont) (USA)                                                    Tokyo March (Mizoguchi) (Japan)

1930:All quiet on the western front (L.Milestone) (USA)                           Earth (A. Dovezhneko) (Russia)                                                                              L’age d’or (Luis Bunuel) (Spain)                                                                                 The blue angel (E.Dmytryk) (Germany)                                                                    A’ propos de Nice (J.Vigo) (France)

1931:Dracula (T.Browning)(USA)                                                                                 City lights (Chaplin) (USA)                                                                                    Grand Hotel (E.Goulding) (USA)                                                                                 M (F.Lang) (Germany)                                                                                         Cimarron (W.Ruggles) (USA)                                                                    Frankenstein (J.Whale) (USA)

1932:Cavalcade (F.Lloyd) (USA)                                                                                   A farewell to arms (F. Borzage) (USA)                                                                 Trouble in paradise (E.Lubitsch) (USA)                                                           Freaks (T.Browning) (USA)                                                                                   Boudu saved from drowning (J.Renoir) (France)                                       Scarface (H.Hawks) (USA)                                                                            L’Atlantide (G.W.Pabst) (Germany/France)

1933:Baby face (A.Green) (USA)                                                                           King Kong (M.Cooper/E.Schoedsack) (USA)                                                       Duck soup (L.McCarey) (USA)                                                                                 42nd street (L.Bacon/B.Berkeley) (USA)                                                             Zero for conduct (J.Vigo) (France)                                                                          Don Quixote (G.W.Pabst) (France/England))                                                 Land without bread (L.Bunuel) (Spain)                                                                The Invisible Man (J.Whale) (USA)

1934:It’s a gift (N.Mcleod) (USA)                                                                           Three songs about Lenin (D.Vertov) (Russia)

1935:The 39 steps (Hitchcock) (USA)                                                             Triumph of the will (L.Rienfenstahl) (Germany)                                              The informer (J.Ford) (USA)                                                                                        The Bride of Frankenstein (J.Whale) (USA)                                                            A night at the opera (S.Wood) (USA)                                                                          Top hat (M.Sandrich) (USA)

1936:Modern times (Chaplin) (USA)                                                                         The great Ziegfeld (R.Z.Leonard) (USA)                                                           Camille (G.Cukor) (USA)                                                                                              The crime of Monsieur Lange (J.Renoir) (Franace)                                                Swing time (G.Stevens) (USA)                                                                                      Night mail (H.Smith) (USA)

1937: La Grand illusion (J.Renoir) (France)                                                             Pepe le Moko (J.Duvivier) (France)                                                                     Snow white and the seven dwarfs (USA) (W.Disney/D.Hand/W.Jackson/L.Morey/P.Pearce/B.Sharpsteen/W.Cottrell)                                                                                                                                     Humanity and paper balloons (S.Yamanaka) (Japan)                                           The awful truth (L.McCarey) (USA)

1938:Alexander Nevsky (Eisenstein) (Russia)                                                       The lady vanishes (Hitchcock) (USA)                                                     Pygmalion (A.Asquith/L.Howard) (USA)                                                             You can’t take it with you (F.Capra) (USA)                                                       Olympia (L.Reifenestahl) (Germany)                                                               Jezebel (W.Wyler) (USA)                                                                                             The Adventures of Robin Hood (M.Curtiz) (USA)

1939:Le jour se leve (M.Carne) (France)                                                                  The rules of the game (J.Renoir) (France)                                                              The wizard of Oz (V.Fleming) (USA)                                                                    Gone with the wind (V.Fleming) (USA)                                                          Stagecoach (J.Ford) (USA)                                                                             Ninotchka (E.Lubitsch) (USA)                                                                       Wuthering heights (W.Wyler) (USA)

1940:Fantasia (S.Armstrong/J.Algar…) (USA)                                                           The great dictator (Chaplin) (USA)                                                                         The grapes of wrath (J.Ford) (USA)                                                                       Rebecca (Hitchcock) (USA)                                                                             Pinocchio (W.Disney/B.Sharpsteen…) (USA)                                                         The Philadelphia Story (G.Cukor) (USA)

1941:Citizen Kane (O.Welles) (USA)                                                                          The Maltese Falcon (J.Huston) (USA)                                                                             How green was my valley (J.Ford) (USA)                                                           Sullivan’s Travels (P.Sturges) (USA)                                                                             The Lady Eve (P.Sturges) (USA)

1942:Casablanca (M.Curtiz) (USA)                                                                        The magnificent Ambersons (O.Welles) (USA)                                               Mrs. Miniver (W.Wyler) (USA)                                                                                 Listen to Britain (H.Jennings) (England)

1943:The life and death of colonel Blimp (M.Powell) (England)                      Titanic (H.Selpin) (Germany)                                                                                Shadow of a Doubt (Hitchcock) (USA)

1944:Going my way (L.McCarey) (USA)                                                            Double indemnity (B.Wilder) (USA)                                                                   Gaslight (G.Cukor) (USA)                                                                                          Meet Me in St. Louis (V.Minnelli) (USA)                                                              Laura (O.Preminger) (USA) 

1945:Brief encounter (D.Lean) (USA)                                                                    The lost weekend (B.Wilder) (USA)                                                                   Spellbound (Hitchcock) (USA)                                                                             Children of paradise (M.Carne) (France)                                                             Detour (E.Ulmer) (USA)                                                                                               Rome, Open City (R.Rossellini) (Italy)                                                                   The turning point (Fridrikh Ermler) (Russia)                                                          A diary for Timothy (H.Jennings) (England)

1946:The best years of our lives (W.Wyler) (USA)                                                   It’s a wonderful life (F.Capra) (USA)                                                           Notorious (Hichcock) (USA)                                                                                        My darling Celmentine (J.Ford) (US)                                                                Beauty and the beast (J.Cocteau) (France)                                                           The Killers (R.Siodmak) (USA)

1947:Gentleman’s agreement (E.Kazan) (USA)                                                   Out of the past (J.Tourneur) (England)

1948:The Fallen idol (C.Reed) (England)                                                           Bicycle thieves (De Sica) (Italy)                                                                                 The treasure of Sierra Madre (J.Huston) (USA)                                               Hamlet (L.Olivier) (England)                                                                               Monsieur Vincent (M.Cloche) (France)                                                              Letter from an unknown woman (M.Ophuls) (USA)                                       Red River (H.Hawks) (USA)                                                                                        The red shoes (M.Powell) (England)                                                           Macbeth (O.Welles) (USA)                                                                                     Germany year zero (R.Rossellini) (Italy)                                                                 La Terra Trema (Luchino Visconti) (Italy)                                                               Le sang des bêtes (G.Franju) (France)                                                              Drunken Angel (Kurosawa) (Japan)

1949:Kind hearts and coronets (R.Hamer) (England)                                       The Third Man (C.Reed) (England)                                                                             All the king’s men (R.Rossen) (USA)                                                                           Late spring (Y.Ozu) (Japan)

1950:Rashomon (Kurosawa) (Japan)                                                                       All about Eve (J.Mankiewicz) (USA)                                                                 Sunset Blvd. (B.Wilder) (USA)                                                                                   The walls of Malapaga (R.Clement) (France)                                                           In a lonely place (N.Ray) (USA)                                                                           Orphee (J.Cocteau) (France)                                                                                         Los Olvidados (L.Bunuel) (Spain)

1951:Miss Julie (Alf Sjoberg) (Sweden)                                                                     A streetcar named Desire (E. Kazan) (USA)                                                         An American in Paris (V. Minnelli) (USA)                                                            The African Queen (J. Huston) (USA)                                                                Diary of a country priest (R.Bresson) (France)                                                     The River (J.Renoir) (France)                                                                                 Othello (O.Welles) (USA)                                                                                             The day the Earth stood still (Robert Wise) (USA)

1952:Forbidden games (R. Clement) (France)                                                 Ikiru (Kurosawa) (Japan)                                                                                             The importance of being earnest (A. Asquith) (England)                                   Umberto D. (De Sica) (Italy)                                                                                       The white sheik (Fellini) (Italy)                                                                                   High noon (Fred Zinnemann) (USA)                                                                       The quiet man (J.Ford) (USA)                                                                                   Limelight (Chaplin) (USA)                                                                                         Singin’ in the rain (G.Kelly/S.Donen) (USA) 

1953:M.Hulot’s holiday (J.Tati) (France)                                                               Ugetsu (K.Mizoguchi) (Japan)                                                                                     The wages of fear (H.G. Clouzot) (France/Italy)                                                     Tokyo story (Y.Ozu) (Japan0                                                                                      The war of the worlds (B.Haskin) (USA)                                                                 Julius Caesar (J.Mankiewicz) (USA)                                                                   Shane (G.Stevens) (USA)                                                                                               From here to eternity (F.Zinnemann) (USA)                                                   Roman holiday (W.Wyler) (USA)                                                                               The robe (H.Coster) (USA)                                                                                             The earrings of Madame De..(M.Ophuls) (France)

1954:Seven Samurai (Kurosawa) (Japan)                                                                   La Strada (Fellini) (Italy)                                                                                               On the waterfront (Kazan) (USA)                                                                             Gate of hell (T.Kinugasa) (Japan)                                                                              Journey to Italy (Rossellini) (Italy)                                                                        Rear window (Hitchcock) (USA)                                                                         Godzilla (I.Honda) (Japan)                                                                                     Twenty-four eyes (K.Kinoshita) (Japan)                                                         Johnny guitar (N.Ray) (USA)                                                                                 Sansho the Bailiff (Mizoguchi) (Japan)                                                                     A star is born (G.Cukor) (USA)                                                                                  Sabrina (B.Wilder) (USA)                                                                                         Seven brides for seven brothers (S.Donen) (USA) 

1955:Richard III (L.Olivier) (England)                                                          Summertime (D.Lean) (USA)                                                                                     Apu Trilogy (Pather Panchali) (Satyajit Ray) (India)                                             Oklahoma (F.Zinnemann) (USA)                                                                           Rebel without a cause (Kazan) (USA)                                                                     Samurai, the legend of Musashi (H.Inagaki) (Japan)                                             Smiles of a summer night (I.Bergman) (Sweden)                                                 The night of the hunter (C.Laughton) (USA)                                                       Les diaboliques (H.G.Clouzot) (France)                                                             Marty (D.Mann) (USA)                                                                                                         East of Eden (Kazan) (USA)                                                                                           To catch a thief (Hitchcock) (USA)

1956:The Searchers (J.Ford) (USA)                                                                         The ten commandments (C.B.DeMille) (USA)                                                   Giant (G.Stevens) (USA)                                                                                               The king and I (W.Lang) (USA)                                                                                 The silent world (J.Cousteau) (France)                                                             Invasion of the body snatchers (D.Siegel) (USA)                                                   A man escaped (Bresson) (France)                                                                          The Burmese Harp (K.Ichikawa) (Japan)                                                            Written on the wind (D.Sirk) (USA)                                                                         And God created woman (R.Vadim) (France)                                                           Night and fog (A.Resnais) (France)                                                                         Apu trilogy (Aparajito) (S.Ray) (India)                                                              Moby Dick (J.Huston) (USA)

1957: The seventh seal (Bergman) (Sweden)                                                   Wild strawberries (Bergman) (Sweden)                                                                   12 angry men (S.Lumet) (USA)                                                                               Nights of Cabiria (Fellini) (Italy)                                                                         Sweet smell of success (A.Mackendrick) (USA)                                               Peyton place (M.Robson) (USA)                                                                             Paths of glory (Kubrick) (USA)                                                                                 The cranes are flying (M.Kalatazov) (Russia)                                                           Throne of blood (Kurosawa) (Japan)                                                                     The bridge on the river Kwai (D.Lean) (USA)

1958:Ashes and diamonds (A.Wajda) (Poland)                                               Ivan the terrible, part II (Eisenstein) (Russia)                                                       Cat on a hot tin roof (R.Brooks) (USA)                                                                     Mon Oncle (J.Tati) (France)                                                                                 Vertigo (Hitchcock) (USA)                                                                                         Touch of evil (O.Welles) (USA)                                                                                   The hidden fortress (Kurosawa) (Japan)

1959:Ballad of a soldier (G.Chukhrai) (Russia)                                                      Fires on the plain (K.Ichikawa) (Japan)                                                              Floating weeds (Y.Ozu) (Japan)                                                                                 The 400 blows (Trauffaut) (France)                                                                         Some like it hot (B.Wilder) (USA)                                                                               Ben Hur (W.Wyler) (USA)                                                                                 Anatomy of a murder (O.Preminger) (USA)                                                   Black Orpheus (O.Negro) (France)                                                                         North by Northwest (Hitchcock) USA)                                                     Hiroshima, mon amour (A.Resnais) (France)                                                Pickpocket (Bresson) (France)                                                                                         Il generale Della Rovere (Rossellini) (Italy)                                                         The human condition (M.Kobayashi) (Japan)                                                     Moi, un noir (J. Rouch) (France)                                                                                 Rio Bravo (H.Hawks) (USA)                                                                                           The Great War (M.Monicelli) (Italy/France)                                                           A summer place (D. Daves) (USA)                                                                                 Apu Trilogy (The World of Apu) (S.Ray) (India)                                                   The Unsent letter (M.Kalatazov) (Russia) 

1960:L’Avventura (Antonioni) (Italy)                                                                     The virgin spring (Bergman) (Sweden)                                                        Breathless (Godard) (France)                                                                                        La Dolce Vita (Fellini) (Italy)                                                                                   Psycho (Hitchcock) (USA)                                                                                             The apartment (B.Wilder) (USA)                                                                             Two women (De Sica) (Italy)                                                                                    Eyes without a face (G.Franju) (France)                                                           Rocco and his brothers (L.Visconti) (Italy)                                                       When a woman ascends the stairs (M.Naruse) (Japan)                                 Purple Noon (R.Clement) (France)                                                                             The magnificent seven (J.Sturges) (USA)                                                       Peeping Tom (M.Powell) (England)                                                                 Spartacus (Kubrick) (USA)                                                                             Cimarron (A.Mann) (USA)                                                                                   Ocean’s Eleven (L.Milestone) (USA)                                                                       The World of Suzie Wong (R.Quine) (England/USA)                                           Elmer Gantry (R.Brooks) (USA)                                                                                   Shoot the piano player (Truffaut) (France)

 

1961:Il Posto (E.Olmi) (Italy)                                                                                     Viridiana (Bunuel) (Spain)                                                                                               West side story (R.Wise) (USA)                                                                       Through a glass darkly (Bergman) (Sweden)                                                     The long absence (H.Colpi) (France)                                                                 Yojimbo (Kurosawa) (Japan)                                                                                 Splendor in the grass (Kazan) (USA)                                                                         La Notte (Antonioni) (Italy)                                                                                 Breakfast at Tiffany’s (B.Edwards) (USA)                                                         One, two, three (B.Wilder) (USA)                                                                               The Hustler (R.Rossen) (USA)                                                                                   Barabbas (Richard Fleischer) (Italy)

1962:Jules and Jim (Trauffaut) (France)                                                             Knife in the water (Polanski) (Poland)                                                              Lawrence of Arabia (D.Lean) (USA)                                                                           To kill a mockingbird (R.Mulligan) (USA)                                                     Sundays and Cybele (S.Bourguignon) (France)                                                     Keeper of promises (A.Duarte) (Brazil)                                                                   La Jetee (C.Marker) (France)                                                                                        The Manchurian candidate (J.Frankenheimer) (USA)                                           Birdman of Alcatraz (J.Frankenheimer) (USA)                                                     Cape fear (J.L.Thompson) (USA)                                                                          Lolita (Kubrick) (USA)                                                                                              Sweet bird of youth (R.Brooks) (USA)                                                              Ivan’s childhood (A.Tarkovsky) (Russia)                                                                L’Eclisse (Antonioni) (Italy)                                                                           Salvatore Giuliano (F.Rosi) (Italy)                                                                         Harakiri (Kobayashi) (Japan)                                                                                       Cleo from 5 to 7 (A.Varda) (France/Italy)                                                               The trial (O. Welles) (USA)                                                                                         Sanjuro (Kurosawa) (Japan)                                                                                     Two weeks in another town (V.Minnelli) (USA)                                             Phaedra (J.Dassin) (France)                                                                                         My life to live (Godard) (France)

1963:81/2 (Fellini) (Italy)                                                                                               Eat (A.Warhol) (USA)                                                                                           America America (Kazan) (USA)                                                                             How the west was won (J.Ford/H.Hathaway/G.Marshall) (USA)                   Lilies of the field (R.Nelson) (USA)                                                                           The Leopard (Visconti) (Italy)                                                                            Charade (S.Donen) (USA)                                                                                            The Birds (Hitchcock) (USA)                                                                           Contempt (Le Mepris) (Godard) (France)                                                                 The house is black (F.Farokhzad) (Iran)                                                                  The Pink Panther (B.Edwards) (USA)                                                                         The Silence (Bergman) (Sweden)                                                                             Shock corridor (S.Fuller) (USA)                                                                               Winter Light (Bergman) (Sweden)                                                                           Jason and Argonauts (J.Chaffey) (USA)                                                                 The Great Escape (J.Sturges) (USA)                                                                             It’s a mad, mad, mad world (S.Kramer) (USA)                                                  Cleopatra (J.Mankiewicz) (USA)                                                                               Lord of the flies (P.Brook) (USA)                                                                                The Servant (J.Losey) (Italy)                                                                                       The fire within (L.Malle) (France)                                                                               Le petit soldat (Godard) (France)                                                                            The Big City (S.J.Ray) (India)

1964:Dr.Strangelove or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb (Kubrick) (USA)                                                                                                        For a fistful of dollars (S.Leone) (Italy)                                                            Becket (P.Glenville) (England/USA)                                                                Yesterday, today, tomorrow (De Sica) (Italy)                                                      The umbrellas of Cherbourg (J.Demy) (France)                                                        Band a part (Band or outsiders) (Godard) (France)                                                A Hard day’s night (R.Lester) (England)                                                              The naked kiss (S.Fuller) (USA)                                                                           Hamlet (S.Kozintsev) (Russia)                                                                         Marriage Italian style (De Sica) (Italy)                                                                 The Gospel according to St.Matthew (Pasolini) (Italy)                              Scorpio rising (K.Anger) (USA)                                                                             Mary Poppins (R.Stevenson) (USA)                                                                   Goldfinger (G.Hamilton) (USA)                                                                                       I am Cuba (Kalataov) Russia)                                                                                       The fall of the Roman Empire (A.Mann) (USA)                                                  Diamonds of the Night (Jan Němec) (Czechoslovakia)                                      Before the Revolution (Bertolucci) (Italy)                                                         Black Peter (M.Forman) (Czechoslovakia)                                                          My Fair Lady (G.Cukor) (USA)                                                                                   Red Desert (Antonioni) (Italy)                                                                                   The night of the Iguana (J.Huston) (USA)                                                       Kwaidan (Kobayashi) (Japan)                                                                                    Gate of flesh (S.Suzuki) (Japan)

1965:Fists in the pocket (M.Bellocchio) (Italy)                                                Loves of a blonde (M.Forman) (Czechoslovakia)                                        Dr.Zhivago (D.Lean) (USA)                                                                                          The sound of music (R.Wise) (USA)                                                                       The shop on Main street (Jan Kadar/Elmar Klos) (Czechoslovakia)                The knack…and how to get it (Richard Lester) (England)                                    Pierrot le fou (Godard) (France)                                                                               Cat Ballou (Elliot Silverstein) (USA)                                                           Repulsion (Polanski) (England)                                                                           Chimes at midnight (O. Welles) (USA)                                                                     Red beard (Kurosawa) (Japan)                                                                         Sandra of a Thousand Delights (Visconti) (Italy)                                       Alphaville (Godard) (France)

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The Greatest films of all time: 58.The Knack…and how to get it (1965) (England)

Introduction:

In the mid 1960’s when Italian and French Avant Garde cinema falls too deep in the crack of self-absorbent intellectualism with Antonioni following Godard-type film of “Blow Up” in 1966 and Godard making another failed cinematic experiment with “Pierrot le fou”, a novel masterpiece comes out of England. Richard Lester an American living in England hands on film experiment late in his life for the first time at age 27 with a sketch comedy short film “The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film” in 1959co-directed with Peter Sellers. He goes back to the basic and moving pictures that was silent films and experiments and learns it as it started. This 11 minutes short film experiment attracts the Beatles at the time who hired Lester to direct their film “A Hard Day’s Night” in 1964 and after “The Knack…and how to get it” (“The Knack” for short from now on in this article), their second musical film “Help” in the same year of 1965.

Lester innovates and introduces a comedy/farce film style with “The Knack” that will be adapted by most British and American comedy filmmaker in later years. After making a few other alike, e.g. “A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum” in 1966 and “How I won the war” starring John Lennon in 1967, from early 70’s he turns into adventure film making “The Three Musketeers” in 1973, “Juggernaut” and “The Four Musketeers” in 1974 until in early 80’s when he gets into making “Superman II” in 1980, later “Superman III” in 1983, then back to “The Return of Musketeers” in 1989, before his final film, a return to the Beatles with “Get Back” in 1991 filming Paul McCartney’s concert tour of 1989-1990.

 

Knack and how to invent it

The film is itself a “Knack”, a skill and talent that Lester showed to own it in many of his films from the two films made for the Beatles to a few other innovative comedy like “The Knack” to his later adventure and other genre films. In “The Knack” the avant garde cinema of Godard and Antonioni is mixed well with art of silent filmography, Russian-style camera work, cinematography and editing to create an innovative intellectual farce comedy. Hope and fantasy in exaggeration all the way in between the hours of reality in daily life is depicted from the start to finish. Colin (Michael Crawfors), a bachelor clumsy in the art of attracting women, in jealousy of his friend and housemate, Tolen (Ray Brooks) a womanizer, daydreams in his imagination, a line full of young girls waiting on their staircase for what seems to be fashion models audition to be tempted and used by Tolen upstairs, while he is in despair of having only one.

The film starts with a slab comedy style of silent era like Chaplin’s in the above opening scene and later with the scenes of the people rushing down off a bus , picking up their newspapers and digest books, while Nancy (Rita Tushingham), a young woman off the bus trying to put her luggage in a locker and closes it in the bus station, but the locker’s door keeps opening. This style of farce slab comedy continues when Nancy takes self portrait photos in a photo booth, when another woman with her man getting in and starts undressing behind the curtain and passing on her clothes including her undergarments piece by piece to the man and taking nude photos.

 

Nancy looking for YWCA, passing under the shower room of what seems to be YMCA and asking a few men drying themselves after shower the YWCA’s address. Meanwhile the intellectual comedy kicks in when Colin teaches a group of young boys in a classroom, that “the angel of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection” and “the side of incidence divided by the side of reflection is constance”! While the teacher teaching, the boys in the classroom have their eyes fixated on the girls playing outside while a row of older pervert men watching the girls behind the schoolyard fence, that Colin surprisingly notices himself among them.

Nancy looking to purchase a dress in a ladies department store, when a salesman is pushing the sale of dresses to women by telling the same seducing them the same words. Back to Colin, he still in desperation of having a girlfriend, seeks the advice of Tolen who suggests him to eat good food, specially proteins like steaks, while double messaging that “ with intuition, the man can develop the knack”! Meanwhile Nancy looking for YWCA tries to cross a traffic busy street, but no one allows her until she puts in a package in the belly under her coat, pretending to be pregnant that stops the traffic and a male driver gets off and walks her across. But the man loses his car as the traffic moves and pushes his car with it, while Nancy discloses to him her fake pregnancy.

 

In the apartment, Colin blocks his apartment door by nailing a board to Tom (Donal Donnelly) who is moving in and not willing to share any potential woman come around with him. But after finishing his hard job, he realizes in surprise that he himself cannot get out and in and breaks up the lock bar. Colin purchases a big bed for him and his future girlfriend. While Colin receives the bed descending from a crane belt at a harbor when Tom helping him, Nancy still looking for YWCA arrives to the scene, and all start carrying the bed on its wheels on the streets of London to Colin’s apartment.

As soon as they arrive home and Tolen casts eyes on Nancy, seduces her and takes her away on is motorcycle. Colin already attracted to Nancy, hoping finally to have found a potential mate, he and Tom running after them, chasing the motorbike. The result is a couple of cat and mouse chase scenes, comic and innovative, like when the bike passes through a narrow alley under Colin who’s up on the wall horizontally, and when their feet get stuck in a fresh asphalt. What Antonioni tried but couldn’t fully achieve in his “Blow Up”, Lester does in the park scene when Tolen attempts to seduce Nancy in a blow up (zoom) and fast editing shots. Nancy after passing out for a moment, wakes up in frenzy, suspecting to have been raped, walks around in haze, shouting that she has been raped. When she knocks on a door, telling the lady of the house that she has been raped, the lady taking her as a salesperson answers “not today”!

Now all, the three men and Nancy in Colin’s apartment, discuss the raping accusation that did not happen. Tom tells Tolen that perhaps Nancy having the fantasy of being raped that in fact means “She wants to be raped, so go rape her”! But meanwhile Nancy accuses Colin of the rape and analyzes his true personality as devilish and perverse behind his teacher’s exterior. While Tolen still attempts to seduce Nancy by coming between them, she is already attracted to the malice nature of Colin and moves towards him. At the end, in the final scene, Colin walks away hand in hand with Nancy under the fireworks and the voiceover comments of people around, who throughout the film comment on the youngster protagonists behavior.

 

Michael Crawford teaches a class in a scene from the film ‘The Knack… And How To Get It’, 1965. (Photo by United Artists/Getty Images)

In summary “The Knack” brings in an innovative comedy farce film that will be British for a while until adapted by others across the world, mixing slab comedy of the silent era that also gets in a new life in the later years British comedies. All these were achieved by the genuine of Richard Lester who mixes up the intellectual avant garde of the 60’s through daydreaming fantasy and exaggeration with his farce slab comedy. The film goal was achieved well by a camera work in angles and cinematography of David Watkin reminiscent of Russian masters in well thought set and location designs, and finally the well fit music score of John Barry. While nominated of Best film, screenplay, actress, cinematography and best newcomer director at the British Academy Film Awards, the film did not please the English film circle, but deservedly it won the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival, the Writers’ Guild of Great Britian and The Belgian Film Critics Association.

Rita Tushingham holds a cup in a scene from the film ‘The Knack… And How To Get It’, 1965. (Photo by United Artists/Getty Images)

Conclusion:

In closing remarks “The Knack…and how to get it” one more time will be redefined based on the following criteria:  

  1. Originality: “The Knack…and how to get it” is original in bringing a new style of farce action comedy to the silver screen that will be stamped British for a while until adapted by others. While a comedy, the film experiments intellectualism of European Avant Garde of the time that dominated France and Italy at the time, even better.
  2. Technicality: The technicality of “The Knack…and how to get it” is in mixing the silent era action comedy with the intellectual fantasy of new wave of cinema while applying the camera work, filmography, cinematography and editing of Russian masters.
  3. Impact Factor: The influence of “The Knack…and how to get it” has been on other British comedy that remains for long the same as action farce, e.g. Benny Hill, Mr. Bean and others.
  4. Survival: “The Knack…and how to get it” has survived well to this very day as it is still a delight to watch, learn and getting surprised to be made in mid 1960’s. 
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The Greatest films of all time: 9.8 1/2 (1963) (Italy)

Introduction:

Finally Federico Fellini after his efforts in the 1950’s on neo-realism with films such as “La Strada”, and partly realistic, partly intellectual, and partly Avant Garde “La Dolce Vita”, and reading Carl Gustav Jung’s collective psychology and experimenting LSD, he creates the “8 ½”. The title of the film refers to its being Fellini’s eighth and a half film as a director, with previous six features, two shorts, and a collaboration with another director, Alberto Lattuada, as a “half” film. A surrealistic, symbolic, satirical drama-comedy of real life mixed with dreams and imaginations, “8 1/2”, is a film that marks Fellini not as a great filmmaker, but brings out a style in cinema that’s totally Fellini’s. Borrowed from other previous surrealistic works on the screen such as Luis Bunuel’s, and symbolic and allegorical films of Bergman (Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries), and intellectual neorealism of Antonioni (L’Avventura), adding Jungian’s cultural psychology, Fellini creates a style of his own in “8 ½”.

 

Opening with a dream scene, the protagonist, a film director, Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) stuck in a traffic jam, choked by the smoke in his car and unable to get out, while watched indifferently by other commuters, the film introduces its exaggerated critical symbolism. When wakes up, he looks sick in a huge medical spa, examined by a doctor, while his film assistants all around him. The remedy prescribed by the physician, “spring water and mud bath, and suspension of all the treatments after a week for two days”, soon injects the comic feature of the film. Then walking in a spring water park, he is browsed and looked by others, mostly women oddly. Walking to get his spring water in a glass like others, when the water is offered to them from a fountain tab, is a scene of comic ridicule.

 

Guido who is stiffed in his creativity and does not yet have a script, and jumps from his dreams to illusion, allusion and in between to his real life, goes to the train station to pick up his mistress, Clara (Sandra Milo). Both married but in an affair, she bringing five suitcases with her and expecting to have party all the time, is faced with Guido’s cool and spaced out mind and attitude. In the evening at the hotel room, he demands her to put on heavy make up and act like a whore, go out in the hallway and come back to him in bed. Again while in sleep on the hotel bed, and his mistress up and reading, he dreams of his deceased parents. His father does not seem happy with him who’s failed in life, and farewells him while he goes down back to the grave.

The real life scenes mixed up with Guido’s night and day dreams are often hard to tease apart. Soon in the film studio, he is flooded by questions of his associates in an exaggerated manner. Then in the evening, there is La Dolce Vita’s type party, when at a table the director is questioned about the connection between communism and Catholicism and if Italy is a catholic country. Here the intellectual food for the thought is added to the surrealistic and symbolic comedy-drama of the film. On the stage there is a telepath who with an old lady assistant, they read the party people’s minds. After reading a few others, they read Guido’s mind of thinking the mysterious “Asa Nisi Masa” word that takes us to his early childhood to discover its meaning. Living with his siblings, all taking bath in a huge tall barrel of water, attended by their unhappy and brawling grandmother. When all in bed, the siblings say the magic words “Asa Nisi Masa” to have a man on the picture in the bedroom, to move his eyes and shows where the treasure is.

 

The film is somewhat autobiographical and reflection of own Fellini’s struggle to find his style of filmography. Throughout the film, he confesses of hard search for such a style to reveal the hidden façade of life at least of Petite-bourgeoisies’ with symbols, allegory and dreams mixed in real life situations in an exaggerated, mocking and comic style. A novel and innovative existentialist as well Avant Garde, Fellini stays away from too much intellectually meaningless show offs like some other Avant Garde’s works in Europe at the time. In the film, Fellini critics such Avant Garde works through the comment of his hired film critic, Carini (Jean Rougeul) who comments on his ideas for the film as being “intellectually weak, spineless and confusing”.

 

Keeps going back to his dreams, visions and introspections, he sees none of the females characters in his real life relationships and his actresses as ideal, but an unnatural young beautiful woman, Claudia (Claudia Cardinale) who keeps appearing to him in his daydreams at times. In the search of purity, beauty and spontaneity in his personal life and work, he sees Claudia such a symbol. In other words, now more mature and thoughtful, Fellini in “8 ½” cannot imagine the real life we’re living in without its spices of symbolism through the dreams, daydreaming, illusions and allusions. Therefore he is not only surrealist, existentialist, neorealist, Avant Garde, or intellectual, but perhaps a mish mash of all! Through Claudia, he is into “creating order and cleanliness”, but he fails as he creates confusion, and ponders it would be better after all going to the village museum and find “all beauty of the classic arts”!

Read the full text here:

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76th Golden Globe and 91st Academy Awards

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock (9307697ch)
Laura Dern, Nicole Kidman, Zoe Kravitz, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley – Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television – ‘Big Little Lies’
75th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Press Room, Los Angeles, USA – 07 Jan 2018

The 76th Golden Globe awards were presented on January 6, 2019. The list of nominees and winners in major categories are listed in the following. Unfortunately last year of 2018 as in recent years had not produced any great films, even worse than last year as it has at least one great film, “The Shape of Water”. Until the Oscar awards presentations on , since it is usually influenced by the winners of Golden Globe, two films here will be briefly discussed. One a good one, “Roma” a foreign film (Mexican) by that was the best film of last year and beat all Hollywood productions, but yet not great. The second film that will be reviewed briefly here as an example of bad film that Hollywood keeps producing, “First Man” perhaps to learn a lesson, stop such foolish productions.

 The following list of nominees by Golden Globe in major cinematic (not television) categories are marked as no star (Bad), one star (below average), two stars (average), three stars (good) three and a half stars (very good) and four stars (Great) (Last year only for Capernaum from Lebanon), out of five stars that only belong to the greatest films of all time.

Best Pictur-Drama:

Bohemian Rhapsody*
(Winner)

BlacKkKlansman*

If Beale Street Could Talk*

A Star Is Born*

Black Panther*

Best Pictur-Musical or Comedy:

Green Book**(Winner)

Crazy Rich Asians**

The Favourite*

Mary Poppins Returns*

Vice** 

Best Actor-Drama:

Rami Malek* for Bohemian Rhapsody (Winner)

Bradley Cooper* for A Star Is Born

Willem Dafoe** for At Eternity’s Gate

Lucas Hedges** for Boy Erased**

John David Washington* for BlacKkKlansman 

Best Actress-Drama:

Glen Close* for The Wife*(Winner)

Lady Gaga* for A Star Is Born

Nicole Kidman* for Destroyer*

Melissa McCarthy** for Can You Forgive Me**

Rosamund Pike*** for A Private War

Best Actor-Musical or Comedy:

Christian Bale** for Vice (Winner)

Lin-Manuel Miranda* for Mary Poppins Returns

Viggo Mortensen** for Green Book

Robert Redford* for The Old Man and the Gun*

Jack C. Reilly** for Stan & Ollie** 

Best Actress- Musical or Comedy:

Olivia Coleman* for The Favourite (Winner)

Emily Blunt* for Mary Poppins Returns

Charlize Theron* for Tully*

Constance Wu* for Crazy Rich Asians*

Best Director:

Alfonso Cuaron*** for Roma (Winner)

Bradley Cooper* for A Star Is Born

Peter Farrelly** for Green Book

Spike Lee* for BlacKkKlansman 


Adam McKay** for Vice

Best Screenplay:

Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly** for Green Book
(Winner)


Alfonso Cuaron*** for Roma


Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara* for The Favourite


Barry Jenkins* for If Beale Street Could Talk

Adam McKay** for Vice

Best Foreign Language Film:

Roma*** (Mexico, Alfonso Cuaron) (Winner)

Capernaum**** (Lebanon, Nadine Labaki)

Girl** (Belgium, Lukas Dhont)

Never Look Away***½ (Germany, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck)


Shoplifters** (Japan, Hirokazu Koreeda)

 

The following list are the nominees for Oscar by the Academy Awards only in major categories, that will be presented on February 24, 2019. After the list that’s more or less the same as Golden Globe’s as usual with a few exceptions, a few suggestions of what and who deserves the awards and a few films of last year will be reviewed briefly.

 91st Academy Award Nominees:

Best Picture:

Bohemian Rhapsody*


BlacKkKlansman*

Roma***

A Star Is Born*

Black Panther*

The Favourite*

Green Book**

Vice**

Best Actor:

Rami Malek* for Bohemian Rhapsody

Bradley Cooper* for A Star Is Born

Willem Dafoe** for At Eternity’s Gate

Viggo Mortensen** for Green Book

Christian Bale** for Vice

Best Actress:

Glen Close* for The Wife*

Lady Gaga* for A Star Is Born

Nicole Kidman* for Destroyer*

Melissa McCarthy** for Can You Forgive Me**

Yalitza Aparicio** for Roma

Best Director:

Alfonso Cuaron*** for Roma

Spike Lee* for BlacKkKlansman

Yorgos Lanthimos* for the Favourite

Spike Lee* for BlacKkKlansman 


Adam McKay** for Vice

Best Screenplay:

Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly** for Green Book



Alfonso Cuaron*** for Roma


Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara* for The Favourite


Barry Jenkins* for If Beale Street Could Talk

Adam McKay** for Vice

Best Cinematography:

Cold War for Łukasz Żal***

Never Look Away for Caleb Deschanel***

Roma for Alfonso Cuaron**

A Star is Born for Maththew Libatique

Best Foreign Language Film:

Roma*** (Mexico, Alfonso Cuaron)

Capernaum**** (Lebanon, Nadine Labaki)

Cold War**1/2

Never Look Away***1/2 (Germany, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck)


Shoplifters** (Japan, Hirokazu Koreeda)

The best picture, directing, cinematography, editing and male acting that on this site goes to “Capernaum” and its maker, Nadine Balaki and its actor Zain Al Rafeea have not been nominated by the Oscar, but only in the foreign film category that hope at least to win that one. The best female acting by Rosamund Pike for “A Private War” is neither nominated. In the following, first a bad example of a film of last year, “First Man”, then the major winner of Golden Globe, “Roma”, then a very good film of last year “Never Look Away” and finally the Great film of 2018, “Capernaum” will be reviewed briefly.

Roma:

“Roma” of Alfonso Curaon is a good and beautiful film, depicting the ordinary moments of life with its love, family, bonding values and above all a tale of interconnection and sacrifice, that is a recollection of the director’s own childhood. In black and white cinematography, the film due to its slowness (often like the opening scene) with no reason, and lingering for 135 minutes still cannot impress as a great film, specially when compared to another this year’s nominees “Never Look Away” by Florian Henckel von and Donnersmarck from Germany, and the great film of Nadine Labaki “Capernaum” from Lebanon that will both be reviewed briefly here. But before that, an example of bad films that Hollywood keeps producing, the “First Man” of Damien Chazelle will be briefly discussed.  

 

“Frist Man”: A Bad Example of Recent Hollywood Filmmaking

“First Man” by Damien Shazel is a bad film from the start to finish with mostly being filmed in studio. Such an important historical subject and mostly so for the Americans, the first launch and landing of man on the moon, that should have been filmed mostly outdoors, specially the space parts has been all done indoors and in the studios. This has been done either to lower the cost and still having a big profit, so cheating on the viewers, or the director has not been able to do more than that, which could be probably both.

The film from the start that shows Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) riding an airplane in 1960 is shot indoor with the shakes and rattles of the airplane and the pilot. Moreover in this scene and throughout the film t times, there are jump cuts and even jerking one shot to the other, even when there are no airplane or spaceship riding and launching at times. This has been either bad editing by or it has been the choice of the director. Neil Armstrong and his wife who had lost their first daughter at the young age of on this screen is totally emotionless depicted by both, which perhaps has been the director’s choice as this lack of emotions by both ran throughout the movie, for example when Neil is chosen to fly to the space and later on to the moon, and at the end when in quarantine after return from the moon, visited by his wife.

The film bad editing or jump cuts are not limited to shots, but to scenes such as a jump in the storyline from the flight of Gemini 8 stranded in the atmosphere unable to return to earth suddenly to a press conference on the subject questioning the pilots and NASA. When there are rarely good shots such as Neil and walking in the moonlight, that was quite picturesque, talking before his Appollo 1 launch, the faces are off focus. There are also defects in the storyline that could be from the novel, for example at the time of the test of Appollo 1 and its disaster of killing the three astronauts including, Neil’s friend, he is at a dinner in the White House. Again after hearing the sad news of his colleagues and friends deaths, no emotional reaction by Neil, only breaking a wine glass in his hands. When Neil fails and is injured with cut and blood on his face from failing the landing on the moon exercise on earth, his wound is not treated at NASA and he goes home to his wife with bloody face that seems to be unreal in real life.  

The fear of communism and their advance in every directions including the hegemony in space, that makes the US government and NASA in 1960s to race with them in space and landing on the moon is not well addressed in the film either. More so the public protest on the space race and the government’s overspending was marginally depicted in the film. An almost two and a half hours slow and boring film to show the events of the time, that is all focused on one man, Neil Armstron, close to the end perhaps realizing the length of film by the director, suddenly jumps from Appollo 1 to Appollo 11 and launch to the moon. Perhaps not seeing even any recent more beautiful similar space launch films such as Appollo 13 by, Intertsellar by and Martian by , Shazel avoids outdoor space shooting even on the center topic of the film, the launch and landing on the moon. When Neil finally steps on the moon, he walks easily with full gravity like on earth, that is a major flaw of the film then after a few minutes walks with bouncing up and down free of gravity on the moon.

Finally such a historical moment when the shuttle lands on the moon and even when the “first man” steps on the moon, that is the title of the film, there are no reaction or showing of such at the NASA, and in the public that have been huge in real life at the time.

Never Look Away (Germany)(3 ½ *):

“Don’t look away Kurt. Everything true is beautiful” that’s what his aunt, Elisabeth (Saskia Rosendahl) when naked sitting on playing piano, told the five years old Kurt (Cai Cohrs) when he enters the room, and afterwards she starts hitting her head with a glass to the point of bleeding and will be taken away soon to a mental hospital during the Nazi’s era. Kurt as a young man (Tom Barnert) carries the advice in his mind throughout his life as an inspirational and fighting for freedom artist, trying to create beauty in his paintings. Obliged to paint at the service of the people and proletaria in the Post-war East Germany where he is living with his family. Later on in an art school in Dresden, East Germany, Kurt meets and dates Ellie (Paula Beer) who later seeing his painting talent, encourages him to escape together to the West Germany where he could find more freedom in his art creation.

The film directed by Florian Henckel von and Donnersmarck has a beautiful script written as well by both, carries on an eye catching cinematography by Caleb Deschanel with excellent editing of Patricia Rommel, is completed by an exceptional casting and an unforgettable and complementing music score of Max Richter. The film is great for its portray of love, searching for expression of freedom and beauty in an art format, in a background of inhumanity of war (WWII), crimes (of Nazis and Ellie’s father as a Nazi eugenics who also arranged to put away Kurt’s aunt as a psychotic to a mental asylum and order to kill later on), love, and humanity. All these are shown beautifully on the silver screen as it should be so to be hailed by Variety as “A epic, intergenerational tale of art, love, tragedy and politics” and by The Hollywood Reporter “A marvel luminous cinematography. The score is lusterous and warm”, and by Roger Friedman in showbiz “A stunning masterpiece. One of the best movies, I’ve ever seen in my life”.

Capernaum****: The Great Picture of the Year:

Finally a great movie in 2018, though not from Hollywood, but in the category of foreign film from Lebanon. Already the winner of the best picture in many film festivals around world such as the Calgary International, Cannes, FICFA, Film Fest Gent, Hamptons, International Antalya, Leeds International, London, Melbourne, Mill Valley, Miami International, Norwegian International, San Sebastian, Sao Paulo International, Sarajevo, St. Louis International, Stockholm International, Toronto, Zurich and more pending film festivals, in fact this film is testing the Academy Awards this year if it fails in recognition of a great film like her sister Golden Globe. The third feature film of Nadine Balaki, an actor-director with no training in filmmaking aboard, but all at home, is a modern “The Bicycle Thieves”. With no professional actors, the cast led by a young boy of 12 years old Syrian refugee who from the danger of loss of life, poverty and hunger gets to fame overnight by the film. Appreciating the art of filmmaking, still precious as an art format, not centering on the story plot, politics or trend of time, the film is a visual beauty and celebration of moving picture as it should be and came to existence.

 

So for the real lovers of the art film, “Prepare to be blown away” Emily Yashida of “Vulture” described it in surprise. The young boy Zain (Zain Al Rafeea), a product of poverty and war to this world, while gentle and compassionate to his own kind and age, rebels against those who brought him to world, including his parents. When asked his age in the court by a judge, he says “I don’t know, ask them!”, pointing to his parents, and when questioned “Why are you attacking your parents?”, he answers “For giving me life”! Representing the poor children of the war zones, the victims of our greed and conflicts, Zain is the voice of them all that are never heard, at least on this side of plentiful world. “A Stunning Piece of Cinema” as Pete Hammond of “Deadline” hailed it, the film while awakens us, mesmerizes the audience with its magic visionary.

 

While like “The Bicycle Thieves” is a modern neorealism, Balaki incorporates whatever the camera without any fake digital effect could do, a reminiscent of the Russian masters of cinema, long lost into oblivion. “A Filmmaking Miracle that Boggles the Mind” as described by Ben Croll of “The Wrap” is a good lesson of camera work, and cinematography, plus the intelligent application of score to complement our sensual pleasure and mental awakening. Exceptionally achieved in camera in different angles, set and location design, not just with the physical surroundings that is the best to see the war stricken Lebanon, but more with the human milieu. While a heartbreaking drama, the film has its heart lightening moments too such as when Zain, opens up the breasts part of the huge female statue while the cleaning black lady laughs. In fact “Nadine Balaki has made a Knockout” as Alex Billington of “First Showing” commented on.

 

Overwhelming emotional, the film reaches humans’ hearts and souls and interconnects them even in a war torn zone, so to be hailed as “The Film attains a Real Emotional Sweep” by Caspar Salmon of “Sight & Sound”. When asked by the judge “What do you want from your parents?”, Zain responds “I want them to stop having children”! This is the voice of many children in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other war devastated precious pieces of our earth that has to be recognized. Zain and the film may make put us in shame, guilt and sorrow, but it was not meant that way, but a call to awaken our souls, hearts and minds of thinking that at the moments of our comfort, happiness in the land of plenty, there are sad and inhumane life conditions elsewhere.      

 

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The Greatest films of all time: 8. Ivan’s Childhood (1962) (Russia)

Introduction:

When it was thought that all had already been done in cinema with the innovative and great works of Eisenstein, Vertov, Rossellini, De Sica, Kurosawa, Kalatazov, Bergman and Antonioni, and nothing more to create, it comes another great filmmaker from Russia, Andrei Tarkovsky with his masterpiece “Ivan’s Childhood”. Surprisingly at age 28 his debut film stirred up not just emotions and awakenings around the globe, but vast discussions in the realm of philosophy, sociology and history that did not spare the great French philosopher and writer, Jean Paul Sartre to write a detailed letter to the editor of the Italian newspaper “L’Unita” in response to some critics of the film, that was an article. The film impressed the great Ingmar Bergman, the most prolific filmmakers of all time (even more than Chaplin) that he wrote: “My discovery of Tarkovsky’s first film was like a miracle. Suddenly, I found myself standing at the door of a room the keys of which had, until then, never been given to me. It was a room I had always wanted to enter and where he was moving freely and fully at ease.”

 

This great anti-war film, depicting heroism at the depth of loss and casualties of war with hatred and self-sacrifice was adapted from the short story of “Ivan” by Vladimir Bogomolov of 1957. Tarkovsky, the mastermind of the film who collaborated in the screenplay (but uncredited) with the author and Mikhail Papava. The great cinematographic work of Vadim Yusov who later on collaborated with Tarkovsky in his other films, perfected with the music score of the talented composer Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov who began composing from ager 9, depicted the horror and hatred of the war from an orphan child’s perspective who had lost all that he had by German Nazis. 

 

“Ivan’s Childhood” is such a visual or cinematic masterpiece that has to be detailed more than usual, though it could be discussed and taught frame by frame, but here a concise of what is minimum necessity will be discussed. At the end and before the conclusion, Jean Paul Sartre’s letter or article about the film will be first presented here in its almost totality with a brief review and discussion over it. The article from the great French and existentialist philosopher and writer of our modern time is important as he critiqued Orson Wells’ “Citizen Kane” negatively, despite being considered by many including AFI as the best American film of all time or one the top films internationally in many lists. 

A Cinematic Craft to perfection

The film right away without any titles, opens with magic surprise, the face and the look of a young boy, Ivan in a woods, with zoom focus on his face and eyes, then on the detail of the pine tree, moving up all the way, leaving the boy down in the background. The camera with a great fitting background score, examines and introduces the natural beauty of the surroundings, such as the look of a deer (like in the recent move of “Hannah”), then follows a butterfly flying around in the field, that the young Ivan follows with his eyes in joy and laughter. We see all these as we are present in the moment.

 

Read the full text here:

https://cinemarevisited.com/the-greatest-films-of-all-time/the-greatest-films-of-all-time-8-ivans-childhood-1962-russia/

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The Greatest films of all time: 57. Sundays and Cybele (1962) (France)

Introduction:

Hailed as a “Miracle Film” by Bosley Crowther, the New York Times film critic for 27 years, “Sundays and Cybele” (“Sundays in the town of Avray” per its French book and the film title) is a film adaptation of the same name novel by Bernard Eschasseriaux published in 1952. The film was directed by Serge Bourguignon who also collaborated with the author in writing the script, and introduced himself to the world of cinema with his first major feature and masterpiece. Although Bourguignon did not last more than 5 years with a few more feature films, mostly commercials, lastly “Two weeks in September” in 1967 with Brigitte Bardot, his “Sundays and Cybele” was enough to make him world known, winning best foreign film award at Oscar, Blue Ribbon Awards and the National Board of Review award.

 

Most importantly the film beat “Lolita” around a similar subject that was adapted from the novel of Vladimir Nabokov of 1955, by Stanley Kubrick in the same year of 1962. While Lolita was principally about a sexual obsessive perversion of a middle-aged literature professor with the 12 years old Lolita, “Sundays and Cybele” is about an innocent friendship between Cybele, a teenager of Lolita’s age and Pierre an amnestic, post-traumatic war stressed pilot in his 30’s. Cybele being dumped by his loveless father in an orphanage, as soon as meets Pierre, pretends him to be her father so to get out of the orphanage on Sundays. So the relationship while odd and unusual, it’s innocent and not sexual or perverted. It is an uncustomary fiction of two lonely and childish souls seeking support and friendship once a week. Pierre has his own sexual relationship with his nurse, Madeleine who finally out of jealousy notifies the police of Cybele being in danger, ending in shooting Pierre to death and the anguish of Cybele.

A Film beyond the French New Wave Cinema:

The new wave of cinema in Europe in late 50’s and 60’s was an experimental opportunity for the avant garde filmmakers such as Michelangelo Antonioni to bring more depth onto the silver screen. So that was a ripe time for Serge Bourguignon to make his first major feature after the success of his short film, “Le Sourire” in 1960 about the introspection and wonders of the nature of a Buddhist monk, that won him Palm d’or at the Cannes Film Festival. 

 Read the full text here:

https://cinemarevisited.com/the-greatest-films-of-all-time/the-greatest-films-of-all-time-56-sundays-and-cybele-1962-france/

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The Greatest films of all time: 56. West Side Story (1961) (USA)

Introduction:

It has been said here before that a great film impresses right from the start, for the first few minutes, as it does “West Side Story” from the first minute. Only second to “Singin’ in the Rain” that still needed build up more than a few minutes, “West Side Story” with its fast and engaging tempo from the start to finish still remains one of the greatest films of all time.

 

Adapted from the book of Arthur Laurents and the Broadway musical of the same name directed by Jerome Robbins, the film was directed by Robert Wise who called in Robbins also for collaboration as he did not have any experience in directing musicals. With some inspiration also from the Shakespeare’s Romeo Juliet, a better modern version addressing some American social issues beyond its musical genre, and drama nature of love and hatred. The film stars Natalie Wood in her second major feature role after “Rebel without a cause”, though she played in “Splendor on the grass” at the same year of 1961 as well. Other than her, there are no major stars in the film, but many members of the two gangs of “Sharks” and “Jets” all play well in a concerted fashion that the film needed.

 

George Chakiris (centre), US actor, in a publicity image issued for the film adaptation of ‘West Side Story’, USA, 1961. The musical, directed by Jerome Robbins (1918-1998) and Robert Wise (1914-2005), starred, Chakiris as ‘Bernardo Nunez’. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

A Great Musical Drama on the Screen:

Filmed mostly indoor and in the studio, the film opens with an amazing and novel aerial presentation of the New York City West Side neighborhood where the story happens. Then with no hesitation or build up, the musical starts with the finger snapping, an overture and prologue music score by an orchestra composed of 90 musicians (triple of its stage production) with a mix of classic and jazz instruments, conducted by Leonard Bernstein and Irwin Kostal, who changed some of the Broadway’s scores. Robert Wise with the editing of Citizen Kane in 1941 to his credit, before starting directing and already have made great works such as “The Body Snatcher” in 1945, “Born to Kill” in 1947, and “The Day the Earth Stood Still” in 1951, makes this masterpiece in 1961 and repeats another great musical, “The Sound of Music” in 1965 again in collaboration with Ernest Lehman who wrote both films’ screenplay. Jerome Robbins, a Broadway veteran with great stage works such as “Peter Pan”, “the King and I”, “Bells are Ringing”, and “Fiddler on the Roof” assisted Wise in creating this greatest musical.

The two gangs of “Jets” all white kids, and the “Sharks” all Latino immigrants from Puerto Rico, are an example of racial conflict in the New York City. Here in the film, the fights for the most part before the final conclusion, are in the form of singing and dancing challenge or preparation for the final real fight or “Rumble” happening at the end. The film being all musical action in a dramatic milieu, carries on the least unless necessary dialogues, sticking to the visual nature of cinema. Multi-colors in the costume and the surroundings adds to the visual power and impression of the film, while the score, the songs and the perfect choreographic dances complement this masterpiece.

 

Read the full text here:

https://cinemarevisited.com/the-greatest-films-of-all-time-54-west-side-story-1961-usa/

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The Greatest films of all time: 55. Peeping Tom (1960)(UK)

 


Introduction:

While Hitchcock’s “Psycho” released in September of 1960 in US, and was hailed by many as a prototype of all horror films, in April of the same year another British filmmaker, Michael Powel released his masterpiece “Peeping Tom” in England. “Psycho” threw off a few critics such as Bosley Crowther of The New York Times for Hitchcock’s sleazy work (though his Psycho was more matured than “Rear Window” and “Vertigo”, wonder how they were over-rated”). “Psycho” also offended the British critic C.A. Lejeune who permanently left The Observer as a film critic. But the negative impact of “Peeping Tom” specially by the critics at the time for its horror, violence and sexual content was so huge that ended Powel’s career in England.     

Michael Powel who wrote and directed films from 1930’s mostly on the subjects of wars, opera and Ballet, and hailed and awarded by many agencies around the world, perhaps shocked almost all for “Peeping Tom” that was out of his work league and insulting to many moralistic critics. “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp” of his that is ranking 34 of the greatest films of all time in our list, are followed by several other great films of his in collaboration with Emeric Pressburger, such as “49thParallel” and “One or Our Aircraft is Missing” all the three films surprisingly in the same year of 1943, “A Matter of Life and Death” and “The Red Shoes” both in 1948, “The Tales of Hoffmann” in 1951, “The Battle of the River Plate” in 1957, “Luna de Miel” in 1959 all the recognized and awarded films across the globe. 

It took more than two decades until 1981 that BAFTA (The British Academy of Films and Television Awards) forgave him for “Peeping Tom” and awarded him a fellow of the academy. This recognition now that the world of cinema had softened their moral judgments and many similar horror and anti-moral films all over the world had been made and released, followed by other agencies such as a career award of Gold Lion by the Venice Film Festival in 1982, a fellowship award by the British Film Institute (BFI) in 1983, a Honorary Doctorate Award by the Royal College of Art in 1987, Akira Kurosawa Award from San Francisco International Film Festival in 1987, and finally in recent years an English Heritage Blue Plaque in 2014. 

 

A few great filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola from the beginning recognized the genius of Michael Powell and his films, admitted his influence on their works, and “Peeping Tom” did not throw them off. Indeed Martin Scorsese has considered the film along with 81/2 of Federico Fellini as the only two films one could say about filmmaking and it painstaking process: “I have always felt that Peeping Tom and  say everything that can be said about film-making, about the process of dealing with film, the objectivity and subjectivity of it and the confusion between the two.  captures the glamour and enjoyment of film-making, while Peeping Tom shows the aggression of it, how the camera violates… From studying them you can discover everything about people who make films, or at least people who express themselves through films.”

An Unconventional Shocking Masterpiece:

The problem still to this day in appraisal, critic, awarding or disregarding a film is heavily based on the content of the film, that if pleases and of the trend of the time, would be approval and hail otherwise disapproval and disgust. That’s what exactly happened in 1960 to “Peeping Tom” and Michael Powel who could have created more great films if not judged moralistically. In fact the film portrays an example story of a serial killer and voyeuorist who can exist anywhere and at any time. But the film goes beyond telling and showing such story graphically just to frighten people for box office purposes like “Psycho”. The film analyses the character of Mark Lewis (Carl Boehm) beyond his present killing obsession, probing to his past and discovering his own subject of a victim of abuse by his psychologist father from early childhood. 

His father studying “Fear” in him by frightening him in different ways such as throwing a lizard in his bed and filming his reactions, exactly like what he is doing in his adult life, filming his female victims before and after killing them. Powell with his genius of filmmaking that had been established all over the world with his previous great works, and with the assistance of his cinematographer, Otto Heller and the score of Brian Easdale creates such a celluloid milieu that’s a shocking, analyzing and understanding experience rarely seen in cinema.     

The film is seen through the camera of Mark most of the time that was an invention and originality at the time. Mark who works as a camera assistant in a film studio and as part-time photographs soft-porn female photos above a newsstand shop for sales in the shop and other similar places, re-experiencing his own childhood filming by videoing his female victims while letting them to watch their own torture and death. His subject like his scientist father whose books on Fear, Mark still has kept in his home studio is also “Fear”. The fear is also evident on his own face parallel to the frightened looks of the victim. He films throughout the process of killing and aftermath even the police investigation and carrying the victims by ambulance to the morgues.     

Read the full text here:

https://cinemarevisited.com/the-greatest-films-of-all-time-53-peeping-tom-1960uk/

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