The Greatest films of all time: 87. City of God (2002) (Brazil)

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Introduction:

While cinema in Hollywood and the western countries falls at a non-imaginable speed, the global cinema in other countries such as Mexico, Iran, China and Brazil rises. “City of God” in a big surprise comes out of Brazil, a country that had never released a major feature film. This time and this film is not about poverty, children and war torn lands, but about all of these and more. Ironically the city of God is not a religious city running by God or his representatives, but it is a slum outskirt of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, far away from the postal card beauty of its beaches. In the city of God, poverty, guns, violence and drug lords and ruthless gangs rule. In the city of God worse than the war torn lands of Africa and middle east, the children are armed and dangerous, so “If you run the beast catches you, if you stay the beast eats you”.

Directed by Fernando Meirelles who started filmmaking in late 80s with not much success internationally, City of God brought global attention to him so that three years later in 2005 was hired by producers in England, US and Germany to make “The Constant Gardner” with a full English and American cast. The film’s opening symbolically and at the same time realistically introduces the City of God to the audience by showing a large blade is sharpened on a stone to slain chickens. The frightened look of a chicken witnessing the slain of his fellow chickens and being dipped in hot water is smartly amazing. The scared chicken manages to escape and a bunch of boys carrying guns in their hands chase to catch the her on the streets. The boys start shooting at the poor chicken and ask the passer byes to catch her with no reservation to shoot at whoever does not obey their demand. The chicken finally stops between the gang and a young normal boy, Rocket (Alexandre Rodrigues) while all the guns are aimed at him to catch the chicken or will be shot at. Rocket then starts narrating the story of his neighborhood and that his family like many others escaped the expensive Rio to live there in peace.

City of God: Ruled by Devil:

The film flashes back to how things started with the “Tender Tri”, three petit thieves, Shaggy (Jonathan Haagensen), Clipper (Jefechander Suplino), and Rocket’s older brother, Goose (Renato de Souza) robbing trucks and share the money with the community who, in turn, hid them from the police. A young boy, Li’l Dice (Douglas Silva) who tries to be part of the gang and smarter than the trio, convinces them to hold up a motel and rob its occupants that earn them more money than robbing trucks. While the trio plans not to kill anyone but rob the occupants, Li’l Dice who lies that the police is coming and forcing them to flee in a stolen car, goes in the motel after they leave and massacre everyone even the employees of the motel ruthlessly. The gang split, Shaggy runs away home and Goose and Clipper hides in the woods. Two detectives who follow them into the woods, one suggests to the other to keep the stolen money for themselves when they arrest the gang. Here the film shows both sides being, but one on the law side and the others outlaws.

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The massacre changes the trio’s lives, Clipper scared of the police decides to leave the gang life and joins the church, Shaggy is shot by the police while trying to escape and Goose is shot by Li’l Dice after taking his money. The day Shaggy died and while on the ground his picture was taken by the reporters, Rocket for the first time sees a camera and decides to buy one and starting photography. One day on the beach with his friends, taking photos, his eyes fall on the beautiful Angelica (Alice Braga) and falls in love with her. The beautiful camera shots with angles, close ups and panoramic. To please Angelica, Rocket would do anything and go anywhere including going to the drug dealers and get her some.

Entering the apartment of the drug dealer, Blacky (Leandro Firmino da Hora) to buy Angelica some coke, Rocket tells the story of the apartment where was a base of drug trafficking in the city of God. Dona Zelica when her husband, a drug dealer dies runs the business herself to feed her children and employs the neighborhood kids. Soon the best of these delaer kids, Carrot (Matheus Nachtergaele) takes over the operation and later on finds the place ill fated, he passes it on to Blacky. Then Li’l Dice who has been popular as ruthless robber and killer and extensively frightened, by encouragement of his friend Benny ((Phellipe Haagensen) that drugs are more profitable kills Blacky and takes over hhis business and calls himself Lil’ Z. Here the film flashes back in narration, showing how Lil’ Z startedas a young boy with the shooting massacre of the motel years back. He narrates that he killed everyone in the motel even the employees just for fun as he thought his pals had all the fun of the robbery and he had none. He was thrilled by the killing one by one that the film shows graphically. Rocekt, the narrator tells that he fled the city of God to avoid punishment and started working hard for his money and quit misconduct for a while, but as “A hood doesn’t stop, hood takes a break”, when one day Shaggy finds him and takes his earned money, he shoots and kills him and gets back to his killings then drug business. By age 18 Lil’ Z becomes the most popular, respected and feared of hood around, even in Rio.

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The Greatest films of all time: 87. City of God (2002) (Brazil)

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The Greatest films of all time: 86. Kandahar (2001) (Iran)

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Introduction:

Mohsen Makhmalbaf, the creator of Kandahar started his filmmaking more independently than the rest of the new wave filmmakers in Iran who rose out of the Institute for the intellectual development of children and young adults. Makhmalbaf holding free and revolutionary ideology from his teens, spending 5 years in the Shah’s jails for stabbing a policeman and released only on the wake of the Islamic revolution, soon used camera to bring the bitter neorealism of the suppressed Iranian culture for thousands of years to the screen.  

His second film “Boycott” in 1985 exposed the dictatorship regime of Shah of Iran through depicting the story of a political activist being charged with death sentence only for his communist ideology. With his third feature “The Peddler”, Makhmalbaf reached a global level of audience and proved to have mastery over the visual art of cinema, and not being only an intellectual ideologist. With his artistic and thoughtful use of camera, beautiful and colorful cinematography, masterful editing and mix of proper music scores, Makhmalbaf became a world level master of cinema, specially with “The Cyclist”. Righteously he picked the ordinary and poor people in their struggles for survival in life as the common subjects of his films, and this way he showed well to the world the suppression of his people in Iran and their neighbor Afghanistan with their culture, and cry for freedom.

 

Before his greatest masterpiece, Kandahar, Makhmalbaf from 1986 when he made “Boycott”, created one film almost every year, “The Peddler” in 1987, “the Cyclist” and “Marriage of the Blessed” in 1989, “the Nights of Zayande-rood” in 1990, “Time of Love” in 1991, “Once upon a time, Cinema” in 1992, “The Artist” in 1993, “Hello Cinema” in 1995, “A Moment of Innocence” and “Gabbeh” in 1996, “The Silence” in 1998, “Tales of Kish” in 1999, and “Tales of an Island” in 2000, and in between several short films. Unfortunately Makhmalbaf who fought the dictatorship of Shah with the hope of a democratic revolution, had to continue with his fight against another dictatorship that finally banned him of his enlightening filmmaking and forced him to flee his homeland like a gypsy refugee with his family, running from country to country, Afghanistan, Tajikstan, India and finally France where he could settle. Makhmalbaf is perhaps unique among all the great filmmakers in the world in producing three great filmmakers within his own small nuclear family, his two daughters Samira and Hana Makhmalbaf and his wife Marzieh Meshkini, all known to the global cinema.

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Kandahar: A Journey to the Dark Ages

Kandahar or per its Persian’s title “A Journey to Kandahar” is the story of the journey of a young Afghan woman, Nafas (Nelofar Pazira) who had escaped Afghanistan years ago and now living safely in Canada as a journalist, is back to her war torn country to see her sister who has been left behind. Her sister who is now crippled by stepping on a mine has sent her a letter that she plans to commit suicide on her own behalf and the rest of women suffering in Afghanistan on the last solar eclipse of the millennium. Hence Nafas has only three days to reach her sister save her life, while the journey through a country ruled by Taliban, who treat women as a slave and material possession under cover of Burqa is almost impossible. Getting a ride from a Red cross helicopter, she lands at a refugee camp on the Iran-Afghanistan border with the plan to pass through and reach her sister in Kandahar.

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The Greatest films of all time: 86. Kandahar (2001) (Iran)

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The Greatest films of all time: 85. Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001) (Canada)

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Introduction:

At the dawn of the second millennium and the fall of cinema as an enlightening art medium, Hollywood fast and furious facilitated this by stupefying people by depicting sorcery and magic like in the dark ages with films such as “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” and “The Lord of the rings”. But at the same time around the world there has been a huge effort to survive this art medium. Through this endeavor, groundbreaking works of cinema such as “Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner” from the aboriginal Inuit first nation of Canada and “Kandahar” from Iran both for the first time showing the stories of two unknown worlds to a global audience.  

Zacharias Kunuk, the creator of “Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner”, himself of the first nation was born in Kapuivik, one of Canadian arctic island in Nunavut territory of Canada. He attended school in Igloolik, an Inuit hamlet of Nunavut and in order to afford admissions to the movies, carved soapstone sculptures. From his hard work money, he purchased a camera and started taking photos of Inuit hunting scenes. Soon he purchased his first video camera with some basic equipment and taught himself how to make his own films, the first “Nunavut: Our Land” in 1995 before making his masterpiece “Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner” in 2001. The film in the 2004 edition of top 10 Canadian films of all time by Toronto International Film Festival, was voted the 5th greatest Canadian Film of all time and in the last edition of the list in 2015, was ranked the number one and the greatest Canadian film of all time.

An Arctic Epic:

The winner of Camera d’Or of the Cannes Film Festival and six Genie Awards including the Best Motion Picture became Canada’s top-grossing film of 2002. The first feature film ever to be written, directed and acted entirely in the Inuktitut language recites an ancient story of the aboriginals that until the film has been passed down through the centuries of oral tradition. In Igloolik off the Eastern Arctic wilderness at the dawn of the first millennium, the community have been poisoned by a shaman visitor Tungajuaq (Abraham Ulayuruluk) with hatred, infidelity and murders. During a spiritual duel with the shaman, the camp leader Kumaglak (Apayata Kotierk) dies and his leading sign of a walrus-tooth necklace around his neck is taken off and given to his son Sauri (Eugene Ipkarnak) as the new camp leader. The whole camp’s lives stricken by the evil magic of the shaman have been doomed. Tulmaq (Felix Alaralak) has bad luck in hunting and can barely feed his family with his two children, Atanarjuat (Natar Ungalaaq) and Amaqjuaq (Pakak Innuksuk) but Panikpak (Madeline Ivalu) brings meat for his children, hoping that one day their lives will be back normal.

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Atanarjuat grows up to be a fast runner and his brother Amaqjuaq grows to be strong. Atanarjuat pursues the beautiful Atuat (Sylvia Ivalu) provoking jealousy in his rival Oki (Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq). Oki’s sister Puja (Lucy Tulugarjuk) is also attracted to Atanarjuat. In a punching duel with Oki, Atanarjuat wins the right to marry Atuat. Later, Atanarjuat leaves his wife Atuat at a camp to hunt caribou, but he stops at Sauri’s camp where he is persuaded to take Puja on the hunt and when camping by a lake, they have sex. Later on Atanarjuat unhappy in his marriage with Atuat and Puja, catches his brother having sex with Puja and strikes Puja, who flees to Sauri’s camp and lies that Atanarjuat tried to kill her. Sauri and Oki decide to kill Atanarjuat, but since Panikpak is skeptical of Puja’s accusations, she admits to her false accusation and returns to Atanarjuat’s camp apologizing and she is accepted back.

When one day the women are out eggs hunting, Oki and two men sneak up and kill Amaqjuaq sleeping in his tent. Oki is startled by a vision of his grandfather Kumaglak, and Atanarjuat, naked and barefoot bursts out of the tent and runs for miles across the ice, chased by Oki’s gang. Atanarjuat jumps in a wide open crack of the ice and collapses, but rescued by Qulitalik (Pauloosie Qulitalik) the brother of Panikpak and his family, who conceal him when Oki arrives in pursuit. Back at Igloolik, Sauri refuses to let Oki have Atuat, but Oki rapes Atuat, who is comforted by Panikpak. During a hunt, Oki stabs Sauri and claims it was an accident, and takes over as camp leader.

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The Greatest films of all time: 85. Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001) (Canada)

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The Greatest films of all time: 84. Amores Perros (2000)/21 Grams (2003)/Babel (2006) (Mexico/USA/Japan)

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Introduction:

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu of Mexico made the above three films that are considered by some a “Trilogy of Death”, each three years apart. At age 37 in his debut feature, “Amores Perros” he was as a thunder known to the world, specially the western society and Hollywood that invested in his second part of the trilogy, “21 grams” in 2003, employing popular American cast, Sean Penn, Naomi Watts and only a Mexican, Benicio del Toro with a budget of $20 million vs. the meager Mexican budget of $ 2.4 million for Amores Perros, the film made a sales profit 3 times more of $60 million. Then in third part of trilogy “Babel” in 2006 again invested by Hollywood and Japanese with again $20 million budget, starring famous American and Japanese cast, Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Koji Yakuso and Rinko Kikuchi, and the only Mexican Gael Garcia Bernal, the film made almost 7 times sales profit of $135 million.    

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Although there is a theme of death in three films of Inarritu’s trilogy, and the first part title in original Mexican is translated as “Love’s a Bitch”, each three parts and the whole trilogy has a more important central theme that is “Life’s a Bitch” or in a better word, “Life is unfair”. So instead of one film, all Innaritu’s trilogy has been included in our list of the greatest films of all time as one film due to this strong philosophical, sociological or psychological theme or an unfortunate fact of life. The three films were put together here also as none alone could reach the greatest level, but all together did. Moreover each of the above three films are in fact a trilogy or three parts or three folded in itself. In Amores Perros, the lives of three couples Octavio and Susana, Daniel and Valeria, & El Chive and Maru are interconnected with a car crash and also a dog. In 21 Grams, again the lives of three characters, Jack, Paul and Cristina are tied together by a hit-and-run car accident and drug addiction. In the final chapter of the trilogy, Babel, Innaritu goes beyond a specific geographical zone and in this time the interlink of the main theme is not just between characters, but different nationalities in Morocco, US/Mexico, and Japan, and between the three couple characters of Susan and Richards, Amelia and Santiago, Chieko and Yasujiro Wataya.

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As alluded to the Innaritu’s trilogy that could be called “Life’s a Bitch” or “Life’s unfair” has a pessimistic but in a way realistic view on life that accident and sudden death happens unfairly to some universally around the world. In certain of these situations, people or victims may interconnect, but even if no there is no physical or personal connection, these kinds of misfortunes are universals and shared by the a common human soul. No filmmakers has depicted this common human theme in his or her work on the screen and Innaritu deserves the three films of his trilogy to be part of the greatest films of all time. While each film alone cannot satisfy the greatest films of all time ranking, due to some shortcomings and loose weaving between the parts in each film, altogether the philosophical or fact of life point attempted by Innaritu over a 6 years period is well taken and respected. In the following each films of Innaritu’s trilogy will be briefly discussed around the main theme of the unfairness of life and in conclusion all three will be weaved together in one common theme as Innaritu aimed to show so.

             

Amores Perros (2000):

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The Greatest films of all time: 84. Amores Perros (2000)/21 Grams (2003)/Babel (2006) (Mexico/USA/Japan)

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The Greatest films of all time: 83.Children of Heaven (1997) (Iran)

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Introduction:

In 1980’s at the same time of the revival of Italian cinema and the renaissance in Spanish cinema, a new wave of cinema in a third world country took the world by surprise. Nourished by its history long rich culture and literature specially in poetry and spiritualism, the cinema in Iran took a huge leap in this modern visual art that has survived well to this very day. Adapting Hollywood films from 1930s, the cinema in Iran maintained a commercial nature of depicting storytelling until in the mid to late 1960s when the influence of French Avant Garde and Italian Neo-realism influenced the intellectuals in Iran to use the film medium for their ideology and cultural expressions. Davoud Mollapour with “The husband of Ahoo Khanoom” in 1968, Masoud Kimiai with “Kaiser” and Dariush Mehrjui with “The Cow” revolutionized the commercial films in Iran.

But it was not until the opening of “Institute for the intellectual development of children and adolescents” in 1965 that the modern arts including cinema formally took on the new wave movement and was used as an intellectual and artistic medium of expression. From this institute great filmmakers such as Abbas Kiarostami, Amir Naderi, Bahram Beyzai, Majid Majidi, and Sohrab Shahid-Saless rose to the world level of great filmmakers and at times surpassed their European contemporaries whom they were influenced by. From this new wave of filmmakers, Abbas Kiarostami took the spiritual, poetic and intellectual side with his major film experience in “The Experience” in 1973, then continued his line of work with “The Traveller” driving around Iran for exploration and perhaps self-discovery, that pleased the western critics immensely. At the same time Bahram Bayzai took on a middle ground and delved into the contemporary Persian culture, suppressed and depressed to the current level after centuries of invasions and occupations in “Ragbar” in 1972 and “Sooteh-Delan” in 1978. Sohrab Shahid-Saless influenced mostly by the French Avant Garde and rich spiritual Persian poetry depicted his culture with his freeze frames and slow camera moves in “A Simple Event” in 1973 and “Still Life” in 1975. Amir Naderi followed Italian neorealism and specifically De Sica to depict the most realistic, unspoiled reality of his culture at least of the poor struggling class with “Harmonica” in 1973 and “The Runner” in 1985.

Growing in “Institute for the intellectual development of children and adolescents” some of these filmmakers having had to make films for or about children, their works were enriched with the sentiments and innocence of this age group. “Harmonica” and “The Runner” by Naderi, “Bashu, the little stranger” by Baizaei, “Where is the Friend’s House?” by Kiarostami, and “The White Balloon” by Jafar Panahi were earlier such depictions. The attention of the world of cinema specially in Europe and Cannes Film Festival had already been absorbed by such rich and novel works from a new line of pure cinema just before “Children of Heaven” of Majid Mojidi hit the screens worldwide. The purity, simplicity and innocence of the lives in the film was an awakening and inspiration for the rest of global cinema that longed to see another neo-realistic work since “Bicycle Thieves” of De Sica. The attention was so high and far as North America where the film was the first Iranian film to be nominated for the best foreign language film in 1999 to lose only to “Life is beautiful” of Roberto Bengini. But the film was the first Persian film to win the Newport Film Festival, the Warsaw International Film Festival, and the Singapore International Film Festival, Montreal Film Festival and to compete for the Grand prize at the American Film Institute’s Festival in 1997.  

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From Earth to Heaven:

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The Greatest films of all time: 83.Children of Heaven (1997) (Iran)

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The Greatest films of all time: 82. Life is Beautiful (1997) (Italy)

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Introduction:

Roberto Benigni, an Italian comedy actor and filmmaker with his “Life is Beautiful” in 1997 that was released almost a year later than Italy in US, proved to be a genius like his master Charlie Chaplin. Naturally a born comedian in his masterpiece, he uses humor and irony to tell a story of love, sacrifice and inhumanity of Nazis in the World war II to enlighten his own nation whose fascist government of Mussolini was on the devil axis and a partner in the big crime. Despite the universal accolade of the film by critics and the public worldwide, there were a few who did not understand the film and its impact on the Italian mentality then and later in recognition of the atrocities of the fascists and Nazis on Jews even in their native country, ending in over 7,000 loss of lives.

 

In fact Benigni was smart to consult, from the start of the film and even writing the script, with the Jewish-Italian historian and scholar, Marcello Pezzetti who had travelled over 250 times to Auschwitz and interviewed hundreds of holocaust survivors over the years. He even attended with Pezzetti a full-immersion holocaust history course to acquire more knowledge of the most tragic inhumanity incident of our modern time. Benigni had also one of the real holocaust survivor, Rubino Romeo Salmoni whose memoir “In the End, I Beat Hitler” was a main inspiration for the film, on the set as another consultant. As in the film that Guido (Roberto Benigni) who sacrifices his own life for the survival of his young son Giosue or Joshua (Giorgio Cantarini), Benigni preferred that ending opposed to the death of his son per Pezzetti’s suggestion.

 

Life is or was Beautiful:

While half of the film is a love story with an uninterrupted comic moments created solely by Benigni himself who like Chaplin not just acted, but directed and co-wrote the script, is a beautiful funny story of love, the second half is tragic, with still ongoing comic moments for the survival in the concentration camp. So the beautiful life of two lovers that produced a beautiful boy before the Nazis occupation of Italy after the country surrender to the allies in 1943, is lost to the racial discrimination and ends in a concentration camp. For the survival of the spirit and life of his little son, Guido continues with his magical and fantasy story making to convince him believing the camp is a contest for the hardest working participant (his father) to collect one thousand points to win a tank. At the end Guiod sacrifices his own life to rescue his son, hiding him in a safe outside to just come out the next morning when all are gone to see his prize tank.

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Arriving with his friend to the small town of Arezzo in Tuscany to work in his uncle’s restaurant until he applies for a permit to open a bookstore, Guido runs into Dora (Nicoletta Braschi, Benigni’s real wife) whom he falls in love right away. With constant comic actions and well written and acted script mostly by one man, Benigni as Guido, he runs a few more times accidentally to Dora whom he calls her princess. Meanwhile he waits a German doctor who’s obsessed with riddles and soon interested in Guido who solves his riddles easily and gave him hard ones to solve. He also serves lunch once to an inspector who’s visiting the school where Dora teaches, so he takes the opportunity to pretend to be the inspector, arriving to the school wearing an Italian flag. In one of the funniest scenes of the film, when he is asked to lecture about the superiority of the Italian race to the young students, he jumps on a desk and shows himself and different parts of his body including his earlobes and belly buttons as the perfect examples of a superior race. Having all the scene improvised, Benigni makes the film a mockery of racism, in the manner Chaplin did in “The Great Dictator”.

 

Another funny but thoughtful moment of the film is Guido using Schopenhauer will power’s philosophy to influence Dora to fall in love with him by his hand movements as if to hypnotize her. Despite a few degrading criticism of labeling Benigni as a clown, addressing Schopenhauer’s philosophy of influence on others that impacted Nietzsche whose philosophy of “Will to Power” and “Ubermensch” or “Superman” was an influence on Hitler is an example of his genius in mockery of extreme ideologies that once and again have led to humans’ misery. Finally and at the end of the first happy half of the film, Guido when he works as a waiter in Dora’s engagement party to a rich local, he steals her on his uncle’s horse that is painted green and written on some anti-semitic remarks.

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The Greatest films of all time: 82. Life is Beautiful (1997) (Italy)

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The Greatest films of all time: 81.Toy Story (1995) (USA)

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Introduction:

Since “Snow White and Seven Dwarfs” of 1937 and “The Wizard of Oz” in 1939, there has not been any great children, family or animation film until “Toy Story” that in 1995 broke the silence and traditions of filmmaking by being the first entirely computer generated animation feature film. The film deserted the animated cartoons and started a new trend of computer generated animation as a new fashion in cinema that was repeated in so many future films such as “Finding Nemo”, “The Incredibles”, “Brave”, “Coco”, “Monsters Inc.”, “Cars”, “Monster University”, “The Good Dinosaur”, “Finding Dory”, “Up” and three more editions of “Toy Story” including the most recently “Toy Story 4” currently on the screen. The above short list all produced by the “Pixar Animation Studios” and mostly nominated or winners of academy awards.

Pixar that started in 1974 in New York Institute of Technology by Alexander Schure who established a computer graphic lab to create the first computer-animated film. But the task was ambitious and the science of computer had not developed much then, even with the financial help of Lucasfilm, then Apple Inc. and its founder Steve Jobs who invested his own money in Pixar, after being fired from Apple. It was not until the major assistance and investment by Disney Studios that made possible the total computer-generated animation beyond experimental and short films in a major feature film of “Toy Story”. Created by John Lasseter as his feature film debut who also co-wrote the script, “Toy Story” has used the voice of veteran actors such as Tom Hanks (Woody), Tim Allen (Buzz Lightyear), Don Rickles (Potato Head), John Morris (Andy), R. Lee Ermey (Sergeant, the leader of a large troop of plastic green army men) among others. “Toy Story” brought animation more to life and while the human figures in the film such as the boy Andy and others look unreal or dolls like, enlivening the toys to have lives of their own, walk, talk, getting into actions, fight and having emotions, was a total innovation and novelty.       

 

Toy Story: A New Beginning

The film opens with Andy, a young boy on his birthday playing and torturing his toys. When on their own, the toys have their own free lives and under the leadership of the cowboy sheriff Woody have daily meetings and manage their errands as much as they could. All worried to be replaced with the new toy gifts brought by the guest at the birthday party, Woody sends a troop of plastic green army men under their leader, Sergeant to carry downstairs a baby monitor to find out about the new toys and if they will be replaced. At the end no toys have been replaced, but a new toy, the Buzz Lightyear who believes to be a real space ranger joins the bunch and becomes Woody’s rival in the leadership.

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The other toys seeing Buzz Lightyear, having so many electronic gadgets attached to his spacesuit get the second thought about changing the old fashioned Woody as their leader. Woody throws Buzz out of the bedroom window that angers the toys and they protest against him as they are also afraid to be terminated by him next. When Andy boy takes Woody with him in his mom’s car leaving the house for a pizza dinning, Buzz fallen in the bushes downstairs jumps in the back of the car and leaves with them. The car Stopping at a gas station, Buzz and Woody get into a fight and out of the car and when finally making peace, the car has already left them stranded. Both toys soon find a pizza delivery truck and jump on to get to the restaurant and Andy, but they are picked up by his neighbor, Sid who’s sadistic with his toys.

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The Greatest films of all time:81.Toy Story (1995) (USA)

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The Greatest films of all time:80.Forrest Gump (1994) (USA)

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Introduction:

In climbing the ladder of cinema in time searching for originality and novelty in technicality so the film to have impact on others and survive, the chance of finding any great film not to surpass but to match the frontiers in the field would be less and less. From 1988 to 1994 there has been only one single film of “Schindler’s List” to consider one of the greatest. But the single year of 1994, it happened to release several good films such as “Pulp Fiction”, “Satantango”, “Il Postino”, “Shawshank Redemption”, “Three colors: White & Red”, “The Lion King”, “Four weddings and a funeral”, “Natural Born Killers”, “Leon: The Professional” etc. but still one file to be considered one of the greatest films of all time and that is “Forest Gump” with some originality and novel technicality.

Forrest Gump: Life is like a floating feather in air

The film opens with the camera following a flying feather over the city of Savannah, Georgia in early 1980’s that finally lands on the foot of Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) who is sitting on a bus stop bench. He picks up the feather and puts it in his briefcase that holds some other collected memorabilia items. He introduces himself as “Forrest Gump” to a black lady sitting beside him on the bench. He offers her some chocolate from a box and saying the popular quote of the film “My mamma always said: Life was like a box of chocolate. You never know what you’re going to get”. Then Forrest points and comments to the lady’s nice white sneaker, saying those must be comfortable and remembering lots of shoes that he wore and even the first one that takes us back to his boyhood in an orthopedic office with his mother (Sally Field). His first pairs of shoes were attached to leg braces for correction of his curved spine.     

Forrest in his memory flashbacks explains that his mother picked the name of Forrest for him after one of the heroes of the south in the civic war, General Forrest who started the club of “Ku Klux Clan” with the members covering their faces with a white mask looking like ghosts. His protective mother was not able to accept his boy’s low IQ and him attending special education school. So she sleeps with a school principal to accept Forrest in his school. He was raised by his single mother in a big house by a lake that was often full with many guests. On his first day to school on the school bus, he meets a beautiful little girl named Jenny (Hanna R. Hall) who will become his long-time friend, spending many moments together that the film flashbacks on some. One day while with Jenny, three boys on their bikes drop him then chase him, when Jenny tells him “Run Forrest run”. He starts running with all his power so his prostheses coming off and he runs faster away, passing through the town with the surprise of bystanders to Jenny’s house. Jenny who was living with his abusive father soon was transferred to his grandma’s house closer to Forrest’s home. The two continue with their tender friendship all the way through high school. One day again the same three boys now young men in their car start to chase Forrest that Jenny again encourages him to run and he again runs so fast passing through a college football field surprising the coaches that he runs faster than their players. So Forrest joins the university of Alabama football team and becomes the principal factor of the their victories.

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The life story of Forrest goes along with the history of United States from the 60’s at the time of the presidency of John F. Kennedy, when the blacks called “Coons” were denied entrance to the university of Alabama supported by its governor Wallace that Kennedy administration had to use the military force to interfere and allows racial equality. The governor Wallace with the support of his pro-segregation followers, critical of the federal government being a military dictatorship decided to run for the presidency to take care of the matters in his way, but he was shot in an assassination attempt, though he did not die. At this point the black lady at the bus stop bench leaves and gets on her bus and Forrest continues his story to another lady who has just joined them on the bench with her little son and discloses having been a college student at the time of Wallace assassination. Forrest tells her that Jenny (Robin Wright as adult Jenny) was in the college at the time as well and though they were apart, he would go and visit her at times.

 

One of these times of visit that the film shows while Forrest waiting to see Jenny in a rainy evening, when Jenny arrives in her boyfriend’s car, upset Forrest out of her protection starts beating forces the boyfriend to drive away. After protesting to him, Jenny takes Forrest to her house and her bedroom, dries him, takes off her clothes to sleep with him, but Forrest who still is little boy in the body of a man, shies away and Jenny realizes the fact of his nature and just cuddles with him. In a party for the celebration of the university of Alabama’s football team victory at the White House, Forrest being thirsty drinks all the free beers. When it is his time to be congratulated by Kennedy and when shakes his hands, and is asked how he feels, Forrest responds he “gotta pee” that makes the president and others chuckle. In continuation of retelling his life story that is a review of the modern American history, Forrest says that someone killed the nice president Kennedy in his car while driving at a parade in Dallas, then shortly after someone else killed his brother too, though he was in his kitchen.

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The Greatest films of all time: 80.Forrest Gump (1994) (USA)

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The Greatest films of all time: 79. Schindler’s List (1993) (USA)

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Introduction:

From the science fiction and fantasy filmmaker of “Jaws”, “Close encounter of the third kind”, “E.T.”, and the “Indiana Jones” series, comes the serious drama film of “Schindler’s List” about the Jewish holocaust survivors of the World War II. Steven Spielberg who was busy making his first edition of “Jurassic Park” in the same year of 1993, was finally convinced by one of the real Polish Jews on the Schindler’s list, Poldek Pfefferberg who survived the extermination in Auschwitz by Nazis to make the film, the same way he convinced the Australian novelist, Thomas Keneally to write the novel “Schindler’s Ark” that the film was adapted from.

Spielberg who was not certain of his capability to make such a serious film and had suggested directors, Roman Polanski, Martin Scorsese, Sydney Pollack and David Lean to make it, finally decided to make this different film for personal and family reasons and not profit. By chance and a right decision, Spielberg made his greatest film of his life, and in contrast with his other science fiction digital films in color, he shot this film in black and white and with the assistance of the cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, the film took well its real melodrama tragic context of an inhumanity stain on the humans’ past history lest not to forget. On many list of the greatest films of all time, “Schindler’s List” won 7 academy awards out of 12 nominations, including the best picture, best director, best adapted screenplay, and best original score by John Williams. It ranks number 8 on the AFI of 100 best American films of all time’s second edition in 2007.

Although slow to pick up at the start, as Spielberg tried to give it a documentary format, the film’s two great sections and scenes of liquidation of the Jews in Krakow Ghetto and the final scene of the speech of Oskar Schindler, hours before the Germans’ surrender and the end of the war, and the wide respect and recognition of the survived Jews to him as their savior are the sensitive moments of the film to make it great. In the liquidation scene, Spielberg puts a little girl walking in a red coat while the rest of the film is still in B&W to symbolize how the American government was ignorant of the Holocaust and the Jewish genocide. “It was as obvious as a little girl wearing a red coat, walking down the street, and yet nothing was done to bomb the German rail lines. Nothing was being done to slow down … the annihilation of European Jewry”.

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One of the greatest impact of the film has been perhaps on the conscience of the Germans’ people that why not like Schindler they helped in the survival of many men, women and children who were massacred by the mass frenzy of Nazis in the name of survival of a better race against a lower one. The fact of the real existence of Schindler as a member of Nazi party to save 1200 Jews from death in Auschwitz has been hard to believe even for Spielberg after reading the story, and lies in the center of the story subject. While at the start, his agenda was a profit making enterprise of running his metal factory with free labor of the Jewish prisoners, over time he recognizes his role in their survival. Appreciation by his captive Jewish workers for saving their lives, particularly at the end when all gather to listen to his redemption speech breaks his heart so to regret in tears why he did not save more.

Schindler’s List: Schindler’s Ark

The list of 1200 Jewish men and women that Schindler made and saved as per title of the novel of Thomas Keneally has been compared by the survivors to Noah Ark. The real Oskar Schindler was a German industrialist who took over a metal factory for profit making with the use of free labors of the captive Jews in Krakow, but over time he gets attached to his workers and tries to rescue them from the atrocities of the Nazis and saves them from extermination. Schindler (Liam Neeson) with the aid of Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley), a captive Jewish accountant meets with several wealthy Jews in the ghetto and asks for money for bribing the top German officers to let them work in his factory and also rescue their lives from extermination while his venture gets off the ground.     

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The Greatest films of all time: 79. Schindler’s List (1993) (USA)

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The Greatest films of all time: 78.Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown (1988) (Spain)

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Introduction:

While American cinema as an art medium fell with digitalism and special effects in exaggeration and to commercialism initiated by Lucas and Spielberg, and revived only briefly with the subject of Vietnam war on the screen, the cinema in other countries such as Italy and Spain took a life again. Right at the same year of 1988 when Italian cinema revived with “Cinema Paradiso” by Giuseppe Tornatore, the Spanish cinema came to the forefront of world attention with “Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown” by Pedro Almodovar. A country going to civil war for freedom and democracy in 1930’s, but defeated by the phalanges leading by the dictator Franco, revolted once again but this time culturally in mid 70s after the death of the dictator.

Raising professionally during this cultural renaissance and interested in experimental theatre and cinema, Almodovar used cinema as a medium to express his and his country revival to freedom. From his first feature debut, “Pepi, Luci, Bom” that he shot in 16mm in 1982 then blew it up into 35 mm feature to his “Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown” in 1988 that brought him to the global attention and his last film “Pain and Glory” that just released recently in 2019, Almodovar’s style like his master Louis Bunuel is unconventional, satirical, simultaneously dark and funny, and appealing to everyone from the lay to critical viewers.

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Acclaimed as one of the great contemporary filmmakers, Almodovar already has won 2 American academy, 5 British, 6 European, 2 Golden Globes and 9 Goya Awards, 4 Cannes Film Festival prizes. He is a holder of French Legion of Honour in 1997, Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts from the Spanish Ministry of Culture in 1999, a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001, an honorary doctoral degree from Harvard University in 2009, and from Oxford University in 2016, an honorary European Film Academy Achievement id World Cinema award in 2013, the President of 2017 Cannes Film Festival and is scheduled to receive the Honorary Golden Lion from the 76th Venice Film Festival in August 2019.  

Renaissance in Cinema:

As important as the Italian “Neorealism” and French “Avant Garde” movements in cinema in 40’s to 60’s, the revival and renaissance of cinema in Italy and Spain saved this art medium from falling in the oblivion of digitalism and commercialism. Against the dominance of Hollywood over the world cinema with its heavy commercial box office productions that in later years followed by TV, internet and streaming film companies productions, this renaissance to this very day has kept the art of cinema to some degree alive.

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The Greatest films of all time: 78.Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown (1988) (Spain)

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