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

Watch this video on YouTube.

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.

Watch this video on YouTube.

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.

Read the full text here:

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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

Watch this video on YouTube.

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.

Watch this video on YouTube.

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.

Read the full text here:

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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

Watch this video on YouTube.

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”.

Watch this video on YouTube.

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.     

Read the full text here:

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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

Watch this video on YouTube.

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.

Watch this video on YouTube.

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.

Watch this video on YouTube.

Read the full text here:

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Greatest films of all time: 77. Cinema Paradiso (1988) (Italy)

Watch this video on YouTube.

Introduction:

“Cinema Paradiso” is a film about cinema, love for the films and how cinema used to be. Depicting what cinema has been like in the lives of people in the past, specially in Italy after the second world war, the film tells such a story in an Italian village. Cinema that has been the major entertainment of all the people across the globe and brought people of all ages close together with all their laughter and tears is shown in “Cinema Paradiso” like a flashback. The film is not just about cinema and love of films, but a love story at three levels.

The first one is the love of cinema in a 6-years old boy Salvatore or Toto (Salvatore Cascio) who prefers to be in the projector room of “Cinema Paradiso” than in the church as an altar boy or even in school or playing out with other kids. So he imposes himself to Alfredo (Philippe Noiret) the projectionist of “Cinema Paradiso” to take him as an assistant and teach him the trade and to be close with his favorite films and stars, and collect more celluloid films. This relationship grows mutually into a loving and caring relationship that finally works for both as Alfredo who loses his sight in a fire in the projector room is replaced by Toto who will run the cinema on his own. The third loving relationship is between Salvatore when a teenager who falls in love with Elena (Agnese Nano), a beautiful teenage girl at the first sight.

Watch this video on YouTube.

Cinema Paradiso: A Flashback on Cinema, Love and Life

While “Cinema Paradiso” is about love of cinema and films for what it was in the lives of people, it is not just a “history of cinema” like Godard’s. But the film is well written and intertwined with the life itself and true loves in real life. While the film is about films and cinema, it holds tenderly to its own life story that is another classic beautiful film on its own. So Toto, then the teenage Salvatore and later on the adult Salvatore, Alfredo and Elena all become stars of their own lives and the film “Cinema Paradiso”. The film that is basically a flashback on cinema, specially the classic films with all their glamour, stars, romances, laughter and tears, it is a flashback on the lives of the subject of the film, specially Slavatore, who as an adult filmmaker in Rome, recaptures his childhood and teenage life when he receives the news of the death of Alfredo. Before returning home back to the village of Giancaldo in Sicily for Alfredo’s funeral, he remembers his childhood, his growing love for cinema, his friendship with Alfredo, then his love for Elena that all changed for ever.  

Read the full text here:

The Greatest films of all time: 77. Cinema Paradiso (1988) (Italy)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Greatest films of all time: 76. Full Metal Jacket (1987) (USA)

Watch this video on YouTube.

Introduction:

In the history of art and perhaps science there have been two groups of greatest artists and scientists. One group of geniuses who have been able to produce more than one masterpiece, invention or discovery. The other one has not been able to go beyond one or two pieces of great works. Of the latter group, some were genius in one aspect and as a result of their limitations, they have not been able to produce more than one great work that happened mostly in their earlier career life. Some of this second group have only been able to achieve great later in life through maturation. The only possible exception to this generalized categorization is in classic music as masters such as Bach, Vivaldi, Chopin, Mozart and Beethoven have been able to produce many ongoing great music pieces, though even in this group of geniuses, some of their works stand beyond the others.

In the history of cinema as well, there have been two above groups. A few like Chaplin and Bergman have been able to produce more than one masterpieces, though they had their own genius limitations that have faded over time and have not been able to match the great classic composers. The second group of master workers have been more in number, who have been able to create one or two great films, due to their limitation in their genius or their subjects. Filmmakers such as Eisenstein, Vertov, Fritz Lang, De Sica, Kurosawa and John Ford have produced only one great film and not able to repeat their master works due to their limitations or obsessions in their subject works, like Kurosawa’s rigidity over Samurai and Ford’s preoccupation with westerns. Many in this group of one or two great creations, have achieved early in life and stumbled later on with no great works. Sergio Leone and Stanley Kubrick are of those few who achieved greatest later on in their career lives by strenuous and hard work and maturity.

Stanley Kubrick who taught himself photography and the art of filmmaking and continued with his hard and perfectionist strive, entered cinema with so many different works of all kinds, from short to feature films, different genres and subjects. Although he has been hailed by many critics as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, he only got close to a masterpiece in “2001:A Space Odyssey” that broke some cinematic conventions and achieved great cinematographic visual and special effects. But perhaps due to his perfectionism, while he started very well in the opening of the film, he lagged short with his slow development in the rest of the film up in the spaceship to the point of boredom for 142 minutes to make a philosophical point. Even in his masterpiece of “Full Metal Jacket” that is listed here as one of the greatest films of all time, Kubrick starts great in the first half in the recruit boot camp that was hailed by many critics, but lags behind in the second half in Vietnam that was critiqued by many as disjointed and slow.

Watch this video on YouTube.

In Kubrick’s film, no matter the genre and subject, there is always an ideology or message to deliver. Starting with “Spartacus” depicting the riot of slaves in the roman empire, he finally decided to make a film about the Vietnam war to make his own special point and message across, and indeed he achieved well and the best. There is a parallelism between the training of slaves into gladiators in “Spartacus” and the recruit of the marines in “Full Metal Jacket” under American empire, in the harshest and cruelest manner worse than the ancient world. The absolute abusive treatment of the marine recruits by sergeant Hartman (Lee Ermey) for the sake of maintenance of the hegemony of United States for the so-called “National Security” has been the best and never before on the screen. This depiction of reality of the policy of recruitment of marines that was based on the semi-autobiographic novel of “The Short-timers” by the ex-marine Gustav Hasford from his own experience in the Vietnam war, alone matched the best anti-war films and sufficient to disgust everyone of the United States and their war making policies. As it will be explained further in the following, indeed the film’s second half in Vietnam could have been made disjointed and disconnected deliberately by Kubrick, as the reality of the war and what the marines experienced in the field was totally different and unconnected with their harsh recruitment.

 

From Maggots to Killers:

Read the full text here:

The Greatest films of all time: 76. Full Metal Jacket (1987) (USA)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Greatest films of all time: 11. Once upon a time in America (1984) (Italy)

Watch this video on YouTube.

Introduction:

The creator of Spaghetti Western and the dollar trilogy of “A fistful of Dollars”, “For a few Dollars more”, and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” who also brought Clint Eastwood to life as a popular actor, and made a masterpiece of western, “Once upon a time in the West”, created the master of all gangster films “Once upon a time in America”. The son of the cinema pioneer director Vincenzo Leone (known as Roberto Roberti or Leone Roberto Roberti) and the silent film actress Edvige Valcarenghi (Bice Valerian), and a classmate of his later musical collaborator Ennio Morricone, Sergio Leone grew into cinema. So absorbed into filmmaking, watching often his father work on the film sets that he dropped out of law school to start his film career at age 18. He started working in cinematography, and became an assistant to Vittorio de Sica in filming “The Bicycle Thief”.

Once upon a time Sergio Leone: The Last Great Filmmaker

Sergio Leone, a genius in filmmaking, even in his commercial spaghetti westerns, he was not void of cinematic techniques and innovations. Influenced from the early silent era of his parents’ works, his films are dominant with visual elements, slow camera moves, extreme close ups with emphasis on the looks mixed with long shots. These techniques within his action films either westerns or his gangster masterpiece, “Once upon a time in America”, leave the viewer sinking in the moment and absorb in the details, anticipating the creeping up actions and surprises. These camera techniques of frame freeze, slow movements, extreme close ups and moreover long sequences such as ringing the phone for ever in this film, emphasizes on the important of an event in the lives of the characters or the specific moment in the story of the film.

 

Starting well and early from age 18, Sergio was stalled when in 1959 was drawn into action films directing when the original director of the film “The Last days of Pompei” Mario Bonnard fell ill. Then came another sword action film of “The Colossus of Rhodes” in 1961 before his switch to making his popular and box office hits of the spaghetti westerns. To conclude his westerns in 1968, he created “Once upon a time in the West” that showed his talents beyond box office to the film critics as well. Then perhaps thinking of creating his masterpiece away from westerns, he ran into reading the autobiographical novel “The Hoods” by Harry Grey (Harry Goldberg or “Noodles”) a member of a Jewish gang that grew in the New York City ghetto, Sergio Leone decided to meet the author and make the film. Finally he met with Harry at a Manhattan bar in late 60’s, and thereafter a few times more in 1960’s and 1970’s to understand America through the author’s living experience. Turning down the offer to direct “The Godfather” by Paramount Pictures, he pursued his own project from then on until its completion in 1984, an endeavor of almost 20 years.

Watch this video on YouTube.

This time Sergio knew that a masterpiece takes a great deal of time and effort, so over about 20 years strenuously researching and preparing himself for making “Once upon a time in the America”. This long haul effort and determination alone is commendable. From 8 to 10 hours of film footage that Sergio shot, he concluded 6 hours with the plan to make it in two parts of three hours each. But by the force of the producers who wanted it only as one single film, he edited the film to a final single film of 269 minutes. This being about four and a half hours, was further cut to 229 minutes (3 hours and 49 minutes) that was released in Europe, but the US release was further cut into 139 minutes by the producers against the director’s wishes, that was a disaster.

“Once upon a time in America”: A Conclusion to Cinema

Read the full text here:

The Greatest films of all time: 11. Once upon a time in America (1984) (Italy)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Greatest films of all time: 75. E.T. (Extraterrestrial) (1982) (USA)

Watch this video on YouTube.

Introduction:

“Close encounters of the third kind” had only a brief encounter with aliens in person at the end of the film. With “E.T.”, Spielberg brought us a closer, more personal and ongoing encounter experience with the possible living creatures of other planets. E.T. is an alien child who’s left behind by a UFO’s landed on the earth. Like his first science fiction film there’s a family and children encounter with E.T. This creates a more honest and pure encounter experience of humans with a possible alien. In this encounter there is only curiosity and warm-hearted connection and understanding, and no fear, defensive or aggressive reactions of humans toward an out of space being. This is more or less like the reactions of children to an animal or pet. From the first encounter between a 10 year old boy Elliott and E.T., there’s an interconnection despite the language barrier.

 

While Elliott and his siblings who later on when find out about E.T., are protective of him, a group of adults and the governmental agencies who have witnessed the landing of the UFO are in the search to capture and lock up E.T. So beyond another science fiction and aliens’ encounter story , E.T. is an exploration of pure and honest humans’ encounter experience without any mean or defensive intention of an adult world. Due to the involvement of children with E.T., there’s element of magic and fantasy away from the strict world of adults. So with this film Spielberg was able to experience and capture the hearts of the children of the world, as the film belongs to the children more than adults. Elliott, his brother and sister trust each other but not even their mother in revealing E.T. They are protective of him and try to communicate with him and succeed.

Watch this video on YouTube.

A magical Peter Pan-like science fiction:

The film is the base of many other future films where the children in similar situations protect and save aliens or animals from the grown ups.

Like his first film there’s also an element of spirituality and special senses like the sixth sense in this film of Spielberg. There’s a remote connection and experiencing the same feelings between E.T. and Elliott while E.T. at the house nosing around, drinking beer and get drunk, and Elliott in the school feels the intoxication and gets dizzy. The same when E.T. watching the film “The Quiet Man” on TV and John Wayne kisses Maureen O’Hara, Elliott pulls a classmate girl towards him in the same manner and kisses her.

Elliott riding E.T. on his bike and flying is one of the most magical moments in the cinematic history. The flying bike passing in front of the blue moon is another memorable and beautiful cinematic moments on the screen. E.T. trying to contact his home by a makeshift communicator that he has invented and his famous quote of “E.T. phone home” is also one of the most memorable quotes in cinema. Touching Eliot’s tear drop falling off his face when he feels for E.T. who’s missing home is another pure emotional moments between the two different creatures. Losing E.T. in the forest and looking for him by the children brings on thrill and action to the film. When the government agents finally start searching Eliot’s house looking for E.T., the protective children plan to save and arrange his escape back to his home planet.

The home sick E.T. is already physically sick as well, totally pale and dying. While Elliott and his siblings were living with E.T. all this time with no masks and safety protective measures, the government agents come in all wearing masks and taking exaggerated measures of safety protection. When one of the government agent asks Eliott what they can do to help E.T., he simply responds to let him go back home. After a seemingly death of E.T and failing of the medical team to rescue him, Eliott is left for a few last minutes with him alone, that after feeling Elliott’s pure emotions, E.T. surprisingly comes back to life and repeats “E.T. phone home”!

Watch this video on YouTube.

Read the full text here:

The Greatest films of all time: 75. E.T. (Extraterrestrial) (1982) (USA)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Greatest films of all time: 74. Sophie’s Choice (1982) (USA)

Watch this video on YouTube.

Introduction:

Adapted from a novel of the same name by William Styron in 1979, “Sophie’s Choice” written and directed for the screen by Alan J. Pakula is one of the rare films in the history of cinema that stays on mind after watching it even once. Styron who in 1985, three years after the release of the film, suffered from a serious episode of depression, leading him to write the memoir of his illness, “Darkness Visible” that became another of his masterpiece, perhaps had some masked such feelings when he wrote “Sophie’s Choice”, that is obviously a tale of suffering.

 

Pakula known for social and political type films such as “To kill a mocking bird” and “All the President men”, did not direct before or after this film any melodrama/tragic story. While thinking of the Swedish actress, Liv Ullman for the role of Sophie, it was Meryl Streep who threw herself at her feet to get the role. And she did well and performed the best role of her career life, where she had to lose weight to match Sophie specially at the concentration camp scenes. Another reflection of the casualties of war and political supremacy, and expansion at the cost of million lives, “Sophie’s Choice” is not just a tragic tale of humans, but a shameful one. The story is not only about the retelling of what Nazis did to the Jews in their exterminations, but how far the power hunger and hatred of humans could go to force a mother to make a choice of saving a child, but giving another away for extermination.

Sophie’s Choice: A Choice cannot live with

The story and the film opens in 1947, two years after the final end of the tragic and shameful second world war in Brooklyn, and is told by Stingo (Peter MacNicol), a young writer who rents an apartment in a house, where he will become the third party in the lives of Sophie (Meryl Streep) and Nathan (Kevin Kline) who live there as well. Sophie is a weak and fragile woman who mysteriously is attached to Nathan whose mental and emotional instability and insanity is evident even to the young and naïve looking Stingo. One moment in an intense love and affection to Sophie and the next moment suspicious of her infidelity, Nathan swings from a normal and high mood to total anger, and jealousy to the point of abusing his lover mentally, verbally and physically. Surprised by the pathological dependency of Sophie to Nathan, Stingo and the viewers are puzzled why Sophie still has remained in such abusive and roller coaster relationship. In fact the first part of the film is a depiction of such unhealthy pathological attachments or sick symbiotic relationship that exists in the real life around us and some viewers may relate to.

Watch this video on YouTube.

It is only from the second part of the story of the film that we learn through Sophie’s revealing the secret of her past life to Stingo, the reason for her staying in such pathological relationship. Sophie a malnourished anemic Polish immigrant is found and helped on the floor of a library after being harassed by a librarian that there is no such American poet as Emily Dickinson that she was asking for her poetry book. Mesmerized by her pale angle-like beauty, Nathan takes Sophie to his place, have her rest, cooks, feeds her and gives her the book of Emily Dickinson. He reads the a famous poem of the book that repeats again in the final scene, revealing the secret behind such symbiotic depressive relationship, that the two lost souls only could fill in.

 

Read the full text here:

The Greatest films of all time: 73. Sophie’s Choice (1982) (USA)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Greatest films of all time: 73. Apocalypse Now (1979) (USA)

Watch this video on YouTube.

Introduction:

The Vietnam war that after the loss and destruction of so many lives on both American and Vietnamese sides finally with the resistance of Vietnamese and the country wide protest of American people ended in 1975 left a great impact on American cinema in 70’s. This impact opposite to the casualties of the war was in fact positive and improved this nation’s cinema and elevated to another level. Such Hollywood films in 70’s surpassed any foreign films and for the first time several such anti-war films entered almost any greatest films of all time.

Francis Ford Coppola after sometime getting stuck in his Godfather part 1&2 and before concluding his trilogy, as a payback of his due to the wave against the Vietnam war, creates his masterpiece “Apocalypse Now”. Not just being politically and morally correct this time in paying back his artistic commitment, he shows his mature cinematic talent by the end of 1970 in this film. The film starts with a gripping cinematographic scene of the war, in contrast with the beautiful tropical natural environment that were all destroyed with no hesitation. After this opening scene, the film zooms on its main protagonist, captain Benjamin Willard (Martin Sheen) of the US special operation force in his room, already drunk and suffering from the depression, post-traumatic stress and madness of the war.

Then two army officers come in to his place, wash and clean him up and take him to a general of the American army. He is questioned if he knows colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), an American military hero who has gone mad somewhere in the jungle of Cambodia and has taken things and the command of many fellow soldiers and the locals in his own hands, acting like a demi-God. Captain Willard who does not know anything about Kurtz, is ordered to find his hideout location and terminates him, keeping the mission as a secret and as it never existed. Willard in disbelief of how the US army and its general could send him on such a mission to kill one of his own high ranked, highly achieved and decorated hero officers.

Watch this video on YouTube.

On an army boat accompanied by a few soldiers as associates who do not know much about the mission, Willard arrives at a village where is still bombarding and wiping out the whole village and civilians by the air struck. In the mist of the killing field there’s a church service by a minister and at night the squadron under the command of their narcissistic lieutenant Colonel William (Bill) Kilgore (Robert Duval) having a beach party. The next day on their way to mission destination and while helicopters continue with their rampage bombardments and killing spree, two American private ex-surfers with the encouragement of Colonel Bill surf the tropical waves.

Read the full text here:

The Greatest films of all time: 72. Apocalypse Now (1979) (USA)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

A new Cinema site