Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Woman of Tokyo (Yasujiro Ozu, 1933; photographed by Hideo Shigehara)

Ozu's von Sternberg-influenced silents are full of these kinds of still lives, usually coupled with a backwards dolly -- as though the objects carefully placed in the frame at the beginning of the shot are an entry-point into a world, a world which becomes more and more visible as the camera moves away from the objects.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Paying Debts

I'm trying to overcome a fear of list-making and, in the process, I also want to give credit where credit is due. So here's a little mental / personal exercise: an incomplete list of films which opened doors or made me turn a corner. That is: an unranked, non-chronological cine-autobiography.

Difficulty level: 20th century post-silents only, no JLG.

The American Soldier (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1970)
Andrei Rublev (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1966)
Antoine & Colette (François Truffaut, 1962)
An Autumn Afternoon (Yasujiro Ozu, 1962)
Away with Words (Christopher Doyle, 1999)
A Ball at the Anjo House (Kozaburo Yoshimura, 1947)
The Bells of St. Mary's (Leo McCarey, 1945)
Berlin Alexanderplatz (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1980)
Bigger Than Life (Nicholas Ray, 1956)
Bitter Moon (Roman Polanski, 1992)
Bitter Victory (Nicholas Ray, 1957)
Bhowani Junction (George Cukor, 1956)
Blaise Pascal (Roberto Rossellini, 1971)
Blow Out (Brian De Palma, 1981)
Bonjour Tristesse (Otto Preminger, 1958)
The Bronte Sisters (Andre Techine, 1979)
Bullet in the Head (John Woo, 1990)
Le Chant du Styrene (Alain Resnais, 1957)
Chimes at Midnight (Orson Welles, 1965)
City of Sadness (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 1989)
A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick, 1971)
Cold Water (Olivier Assayas, 1994)
The Cotton Club (Francis Ford Coppola, 1984)
A Countess from Hong Kong (Charles Chaplin, 1967)
The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (Otto Preminger, 1955)
Cracking Up (Jerry Lewis, 1983)
The Crime of Monsieur Lange (Jean Renoir, 1936)
Crash (David Cronenberg, 1996)
The Crazies (George A. Romero, 1973)
Dangerous Game (Abel Ferrara, 1993)
Dead Ringers (David Cronenberg, 1988)
Die Hard with a Vengeance (John McTiernan, 1995)
Distant Voices, Still Lives (Terence Davies, 1988)
Doomed Love (Manoel de Oliveira, 1978)
El (Luis Buñuel, 1953)
Everybody's Woman (Max Ophüls, 1934)
Five Women Around Utamaro (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1946)
Forty Guns (Samuel Fuller, 1957)
Four Adventures of Reinette & Mirabelle (Eric Rohmer, 1987)
Four Nights of a Dreamer (Robert Bresson, 1971)
The Gang of Four (Jacques Rivette, 1989)
Germany Year Zero (Roberto Rossellini, 1948)
The Great Garrick (James Whale, 1937)
Happy Together (Won Kar-wai, 1997)
Hatari! (Howard Hawks, 1962)
The Heartbreak Kid (Elaine May, 1972)
Heaven’s Gate (Michael Cimino, 1980)
Henry Fool (Hal Hartley, 1997)
Hôtel des Amériques (André Téchiné, 1981)
The House is Black (Forugh Farrokhzad, 1962)
House of Bamboo (Samuel Fuller, 1955)
House Party (Reginald Hudlin, 1990)
I Confess (Alfred Hitchcock, 1953)
I Am Twenty (Marlen Khutsiev, 1961)
The Illumination (Krzysztof Zanussi, 1972)
Jacques Rivette: The Night Watchman (Claire Denis, 1990)
Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray, 1954)
L'Argent (Robert Bresson, 1983)
The Ladies Man (Jerry Lewis, 1961)
The Lady from Shanghai (Orson Welles, 1948)
Le Plaisir (Max Ophüls, 1952)
The Lieutenant Wore Skirts (Frank Tashlin, 1956)
Life Lessons (Martin Scorsese, 1989)
The Little Theater of Jean Renoir (Jean Renoir, 1970)
Loulou (Maurice Pialat, 1980)
Love Streams (John Cassavetes, 1984)
The Lovers on the Bridge (Leos Carax, 1991)
The Lusty Men (Nicholas Ray, 1952)
Magnet of Doom (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1963)
The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942)
The Man I Killed (Ernst Lubitsch, 1932)
Man of Marble (Andrzej Wajda, 1977)
Manpower (Raoul Walsh, 1941)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford, 1962)
Model Shop (Jacques Demy, 1969)
Modern Romance (Albert Brooks, 1981)
The Moderns (Alan Rudolph, 1988)
Monika (Ingmar Bergman, 1953)
Monsieur Verdoux (Charles Chaplin, 1947)
Montparnasse 19 (Jacques Becker, 1958)
Mother and Son (Aleksandr Sokurov, 1997)
Mouchette (Robert Bresson, 1967)
Muriel (Alain Resnais, 1963)
Mr. Arkadin (Orson Welles, 1955)
My Friend Ivan Lapshin (Aleksei Gherman, 1984)
No Fear No Die (Claire Denis, 1990)
Once Upon a Time in America (Sergio Leone, 1984)
One Sings, the Other Doesn’t (Agnes Varda, 1976)
1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (Fritz Lang, 1960)
Ordet (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1955)
Othello (Orson Welles, 1952)
Out 1: Noli Mi Tangere (Jacques Rivette, 1971)
Parade (Jacques Tati, 1974)
Park Row (Samuel Fuller, 1952)
Play Time (Jacques Tati, 1967)
The Plough and the Stars (John Ford, 1936)
Pola X (Leos Carax, 1999)
Prefab Story (Vera Chytilova, 1979)
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (Billy Wilder, 1970)
Rancho Notorious (Fritz Lang, 1952)
Red Line 7000 (Howard Hawks, 1965)
Red Viburnum (Vasili Shukshin, 1973)
Rendezvous in July (Jacques Becker, 1949)
Rock-a-Bye Baby (Frank Tashlin, 1958)
Rue Fontaine (Philippe Garrel, 1984)
The Saga of Anatahan (Josef von Sternberg, 1953)
Security Unlimited (Michael Hui, 1981)
The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (Preston Sturges, 1947)
Sisters of the Gion (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1936)
Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, 1985)
Showgirls (Paul Verhoeven, 1995)
The Soft Skin (François Truffaut, 1962)
Some Came Running (Vincente Minnelli, 1958)
The Spirit of St. Louis (Billy Wilder, 1957)
A Star is Born (George Cukor, 1954)
Strangers When We Meet (Richard Quine, 1960)
Street of Shame (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1956)
Street Scene (King Vidor, 1931)
The Struggle (D.W. Griffith, 1931)
Summer Interlude (Ingmar Bergman, 1951)
Taste of Cherry (Abbas Kiarostami, 1997)
Thief (Michael Mann, 1981)
Thieves' Highway (Jules Dassin, 1949)
Three Days (Sharunas Bartas, 1991)
A Time to Love and a Time to Die (Douglas Sirk, 1958)
Topaz (Alfred Hitchcock, 1969)
Track of the Cat (William Wellman, 1954)
The Trouble with Harry (Alfred Hitchcock, 1955)
Two English Girls (François Truffaut, 1971)
Two People (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1945)
Under the Bridges (Helmut Käutner, 1945)
Van Gogh (Maurice Pialat, 1991)
Von Heute auf Morgen (Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet, 1997)
Voyage in Italy (Roberto Rossellini, 1954)
We Can't Go Home Again (Nicholas Ray, 1976)
Welfare (Frederick Wiseman, 1975)
The Weir-Falcon Saga (Stan Brakhage, 1970)
A Woman Under the Influence (John Cassavetes, 1974)
The Wrong Man (Alfred Hitchcock, 1957)
Zero for Conduct (Jean Vigo, 1933)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Aesthetics are translated into devices, form into technique ... Hence, close-ups become 75mm lenses, sumptuous images become filters and tungsten lights, the sound of footsteps becomes a cardioid microphone, locations become budgets, et al. ... What is important is not always that the image is an image, but that it is an accumulation of tricks and processes that allows it to become an image."
--Ricky D'Ambrose, "Notes on Film School"

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sorry 'bout the mysterious disappearance, am returning / Sound and Fury (Jean-Claude Brisseau, 1988)