Friday, December 23, 2011

Older Film Discoveries 2011

Here are 10 great films I finally caught up with or discovered in 2011.

Pandora and The Flying Dutchman [Albert Lewin, 1951] - I'd always avoided this film because of the title and because it seemed to have that psychological drama soap thing I dislike about a lot of 50's cinema. But when I realized is was shot by Jack Cardiff I realized it was time to see it. On Blu-ray it looks delicious.

By The Bluest of Seas [Boris Barnet, 1936] & The House of Trubnaya Square [Boris Barnet, 1928 - Soviet films are always so darn serious but Barnet's films are a real treat for film lovers; he makes high art delightful and fun while still maintaining the social themes that were required by the USSR.

Revenge of a Kabuki Actor - aka An Actor's Revenge [Kon Ichikawa, 1963] - Ichikawa is one of the great Japanese filmmakers yet his films remain a tad out of reach [read cold] because his themes and his filmic structures don't try to entertain us. This film is self reflexsive and deep - can I use that word?

The African Queen [John Huston, 1951] - Yes, I know this falls under the 'I can't believe you had never seen' this category. Years ago I was busy cutting my teeth on Fassbinder and Fellini and I passed Huston by. Glad I am finally catching up with his work.

Il momento della verità - aka The Moment of Truth [Francesco Rosi, 1965] - I reviewed this a couple months back. It's one of Rosi's rawest yet truest films. Brutal, beautiful and full of life and death. It is not easily forgotten.

The Man Who Could Work Miracles [Lothar Mendes, 1936] - This [sort of] falls into the quota quickly category for which the Brits excelled in the 1930's. It's solid fun from start to finish as a man finds he has enough power to run the world - until he tries.

The Phantom of Liberty [Luis Buñuel,1974] - Yes, this terrific and crazy Buñuel film still remained on my 'to see' list. I'm like the cat who leaves a little food in the bowl because I don't want there to be a last bite. I can't bear to have no more new Buñuel films to discover.

The Spy in Black [Michael Powell, 1939] - The first of the Powell / Pressburger films is a wonderful picture that had me guessing all the way to the end. Most remarkable, perhaps, is that the lead character is German. This during a time of war.

Love and Pain and The Whole Damn Thing [Alan J Pakula, 1973] - How do you make awkward endearing? This film is full of cringe-worthy scenes and performances but by the end you realize how refreshing it is to see a movie that is a lot closer to who we are rather than who we think we are when we see perfect movie stars in relationships.

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