It’s the second annual LNKarno Festival, a reprise of Locarno’s lineup from five years ago, viewed on my couch in Lincoln. Last year I watched ten features and some shorts in a long weekend – this time we have a busier summer so I spread things out over a couple weeks.

LNKarno-week viewings in green, regular links for films I’d seen previously, unlinked might be good to watch in the future.

Main Competition:

Gare du Nord (Claire Simon)
What Now? Remind Me (Joaquim Pinto)
Pays Barbare (Yervant Gianikian & Angela Ricci Lucchi)
When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism (Corneliu Porumboiu)
Short Term 12 (Destin Daniel Cretton)
Our Sunhi (Sang-soo Hong)
Story of My Death (Albert Serra)
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears (Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani)
Sentimental Education (Júlio Bressane)
Exhibition (Joanna Hogg
Wetlands (David Wnendt)
Real (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
Backwater (Shinji Aoyama)

Filmmakers of the Present (first and second features)

Sheep (Gilles Deroo & Marianne Pistone)
The Unity of All Things (Alexander Carver & Daniel Schmidt)
The Dirties (Matt Johnson)
Manakamana (Stephanie Spray & Pacho Velez)
Chameleon (Elvin Adigozel & Ru Hasanov)
Coast of Death (Lois Patiño)
By the River (Nontawat Numbenchapol)
The Ugly One (Eric Baudelaire)

Critics Week (new documentaries, selected by film journalists)

Master of the Universe (Marc Bauder)
Watermarks (Three Letters from China) (Luc Schaedler)

Signs of Life (first year)

El Futuro (Luis Lopez Carrasco)
A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness (Ben Rivers and Ben Russell)
Dignity (James Fotopoulos)
How to Disappear Completely (Raya Martin)

Piazza Grande (open air screenings, out of competition)

Wrong Cops (Quentin Dupieux)
Blue Ruin (Jeremy Saulnier)
About Time (Richard Curtis)
Gloria (Sebastián Lelio)

Fuori Concorso (recent work by established filmmakers, out of competition)

Géographie Humaine (Claire Simon)
If I Were A Thief, I’d Steal (Paulo Rocha)
Death Row II (Werner Herzog)
Strangers When We Meet (Masahiro Kobayashi)
America (Valerie Massadian)
Mahjong (João Rui Guerra da Mata and João Pedro Rodrigues)
The King’s Body (João Pedro Rodrigues)
The End Of Walnutgrove (Eckhard & Fiala & Fiala & Haidl)
The Green Serpent – Of Vodka, Men And Distilled Dreams (Benny Jaberg)
Un Conte De Michel De Montaigne (Jean-Marie Straub)

Histoire(s) du Cinema (sidebar devoted to film history)

L’Ours (Daniel Karolewicz)
Batang West Side (Lav Diaz)
Cinéastes De Notre Temps: Conversation Avec George Cukor (André S. Labarthe and Hubert Knapp)
Journal D’Un Montage (Annette Dutertre)
Notes On Film 6B: A Masque Of Madness (Monologue 02) (Norbert Pfaffenbichler)
Red Hollywood (Thom Andersen)
Red Ashes (Augusto Contento and Adriano Aprà)
Network (Sidney Lumet)
and tributes to Otar Iosseliani, Sergio Castellitto, Paulo Rocha and Anna Karina

I noticed after watching The Ornithologist that Switzerland’s Locarno Festival seems to be the source of all the critically-praised movies that never end up playing theaters near me, or even coming out on video in many cases. At the same time, I was reading about the Locarno In Los Angeles festival and wishing we had something like that. So, now we do… presenting the first annual LNKarno Festival, a reprise of Locarno’s lineup from five years ago.

I’d already seen some of these – LNKarno-week viewings in red.

Main Competition:

The Last Time I Saw Macao (João Pedro Rodrigues & João Rui Guerra da Mata)
The End of Time (Peter Mettler)
Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Verena Paravel)
Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland)
Museum Hours (Jem Cohen)
Jack & Diane (Bradley Rust Gray)
Greatest Hits (Nicolás Pereda)
Somebody Up There Likes Me (Bob Byington)
The Girl from Nowhere (Jean-Claude Brisseau)

Filmmakers of the Present (first and second features)

People’s Park (Libbie Dina Cohn, J.P. Sniadecki)
Ape (Joel Potrykus)
Orléans (Virgil Vernier)
Tectonics (Peter Bo Rappmund)

Piazza Grande (open air screenings, out of competition)

Motorway (Soi Cheang)
Sightseers (Ben Wheatley)

Histoire(s) du Cinema (sidebar devoted to film history)

Life Without Principle (Johnnie To)
Down Terrace (Ben Wheatley)
Kill List (Ben Wheatley)
Room 237 (Rodney Ascher)
Capital (Sarah Morris)
AM/PM (Sarah Morris)

Open Doors (region-specific section – this year: Sub-Saharan Africa)

Bamako (Abderrahmane Sissako)
Chocolat (Claire Denis)
Guimba the Tyrant (Cheick Oumar Sissoko)
Touki Bouki (Djibril Diop Mambety)
Wênd Kûuni (Gaston Kaboré)
Yeelen (Souleymane Cissé)

Pardi di domani (short films and special programs)

As the Flames Rose (Joao Rui Guerra da Mata)
Beauty and the Beat (Yann Le Quellec)
Chemin faisant (Georges Schwizgebel)
Overseas (Wichanon Somunjarn & Anocha Suwichakornpong)

Ten years ago I bought tickets to see Rivette’s Out 1 over two days in New York, having only previously watched his The Nun (on cable I think, or VHS). In preparation for the big event I watched the three Rivette movies I could most quickly get my hands on, from the early 1960’s to the late 90’s, giving me a weird sense of his cinema. And after Out 1, I was in love, resolving to watch every Rivette movie.

I suppose I completed this goal two years ago when Spectre came out on DVD, coming full circle from the Out 1-initiated quest. But I’ve been meaning to watch his three-part Renoir documentary. And I’d like to see the extended version of Joan The Maid. And three early shorts are being restored and will hopefully come out on video next year. And I wanted to rewatch Lumière and Company. And his 1980’s and 90’s features are playing U.S. theaters this year, so one can dream of a blu-ray box set. And rewatching Duelle and Noroît in HD last week gave me a new appreciation and understanding of them, so I should rewatch more of the movies.

This is the kind of thinking that keeps me from wrapping up these little completism projects I set myself and starting new ones. It’s not like I’m closing the door on Rivette, just rounding up some first passes at his work. Anyway, some of these I know are masterpieces, some I wasn’t fond of, and all I’d like to watch again. I cleaned up some of the posts linked below, but the Out 1 entry remains a sprawling mess – after watching it for what I assumed would be the only time, I wanted to map out every person and scene, because I knew I wouldn’t forget the overall experience but knew I would forget half the scenes and character names pretty soon.

Rivette, on why ranking the films is ill-advised:

One always speaks of films as if they were absolutes; yet we always see them in particular circumstance, be it only because of the different projection conditions of each theatre. All that matters enormously. So, it often happens that I see a film I know has objective value and yet sit through it absolutely bored even though I know, at the moment I’m watching it, that I will find it remarkable if I watch it again in three months time; and vice versa.

The Films:

1956 – Le Coup du Berger
1961 – Paris Nous Appartient
1966 – The Nun
1969 – L’Amour Fou
1971 – Out 1
1972 – Out 1: Spectre
1974 – Celine and Julie Go Boating
1976 – Duelle
1976 – Noroît
1981 – Merry-Go-Round
1981 – Le Pont du Nord and Paris s’en va
1984 – Love on the Ground
1985 – Hurlevent
1989 – Gang of Four
1990 – Jacques Rivette, Le veilleur
1991 – La Belle Noiseuse / Divertimento
1994 – Joan the Maid
1995 – Up, Down, Fragile
1998 – Secret Defense
2001 – Va Savoir
2003 – Histoire de Marie et Julien
2007 – Don’t Touch the Axe
2009 – Around a Small Mountain

Other Works, more or less related:

Aux quatre coins / Le quadrille / Le divertissement (1949-1952)
Bérénice (1954, Eric Rohmer)
Une Visite (1955, Truffaut)
La sonate à Kreutzer (1956, Rohmer)
Chronicle of a Summer (1961, Jean Rouch & Edgar Morin)
Cinéastes de notre temps: La nouvelle vague par elle-même (1964)
Jean Renoir, le patron (1967)
Piege (1968, Jacques Baratier)
Les Idoles (1968, Marc’o)
Surreal Estate (1976, Eduardo de Gregorio)
Every Revolution is a Throw of the Dice (1977, Straub/Huillet)
La mémoire courte (1979, Eduardo de Gregorio)
The Third Generation (1979, Rainer Fassbinder)
Serge Daney: Journey of a Cine-Son (1992)
Lumière and Company (1995)
Small Cuts (2003, Pascal Bonitzer)
Mysteries of Paris: Out 1 Revisited (2015)


Rivette in 1981:

I have on occasion seen films on television at friends’ homes, and since I’m not used to it, I’ve always had the impression that I was not watching the film, that I was seeing something else, a reflection … television is great for a second viewing, but not for discovering a film.

Rivette in 2007:

Films today have a completely different life with DVD, which I think is the greatest … that’s practically the only way I watch films anymore.


Rivette, on wanting to be a filmmaker after reading Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast diaries: “Cinema was a place where things happened, where one debated with people, where one invented and tried things, whether they worked or not.”

I detest the formulation “a film by”. A film is always by at least fifteen people. I don’t like “réalisation” very much either, which seems to me very portentous, maybe because its root is “reality.” Mise en scène is a rapport with the actors, and the communal work is set with the first shot. What’s important for me in a film is that it be alive, that it be imbued with presence, which is basically the same thing. And that this presence, inscribed within the film, possesses a form of magic. There’s something profoundly mysterious in this. It’s an alchemy that one procures, or does not … It’s a collective work, but one wherein there’s a secret, too. For that matter, the actor has his secrets as well — of which the director is the spectator.

I’ve already mentioned (numerous times) my love for film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum‘s writing and his lists of favorite films, including the big top-1000 list published in his “Essential Cinema” book. I hope to watch all of these, but probably never will.

There’s also the top-1000 list at They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They?, compiled from thousands of other lists (including Rosenbaum’s). I hope to watch all of these (except Warhol’s Empire), and maybe someday I will.

There’s also the Criterion Collection, which I’ve been following since the early days of DVD, steadily releasing a series of great-looking films. I hope to watch all of these, but never will, since they keep putting out new ones.

Any movie that appears on all three of these lists is obviously a must-see… and as of Shoah, which I watched over the past few weeks, I think I’ve seen everything in this triple-list intersection. So for today, the tenth anniversary of the movie journal, I’m rounding up the R1K/TSP/CRIT meta-list.

The sixty unlinked ones were last seen in the dark days before the blog started. I probably won’t keep this list updated, since the TSP list changes annually and Criterion releases new stuff all the time. So I’d have to add In a Lonely Place in a few weeks, and Alice in the Cities a month later, and it’s hard to keep track.

This movie blog is months older than (public, non-academic) Facebook and only a few weeks younger than Twitter. But unlike those sites, I don’t think this one has any readers… it’s hard to tell since I disabled comments. So nobody is gonna congratulate me. But I’m pleased with myself! Here’s to another ten years. And if you’re reading: most of these are really good movies. You should check them out.

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1976, Chantal Akerman)
Kiss Me Deadly (1955, Robert Aldrich)
Rushmore (1998, Wes Anderson)
L’Avventura (1960, Michelangelo Antonioni)
L’Eclisse (1962, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Red Desert (1964, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Sawdust and Tinsel (1953, Ingmar Bergman)
Persona (1966, Ingmar Bergman)
The Last Emperor (1987, Bernardo Bertolucci)
The Act of Seeing With One’s Own Eyes (1971, Stan Brakhage)
Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945, Robert Bresson)
A Man Escaped (1956, Robert Bresson)
Pickpocket (1959, Robert Bresson)
Au Hasard Balthazar (1966, Robert Bresson)
Mouchette (1967, Robert Bresson)
Rosetta (1999, Dardenne bros.)
Viridiana (1961, Luis Buñuel)
The Exterminating Angel (1962, Luis Buñuel)
Belle de Jour (1967, Luis Buñuel)
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972, Luis Buñuel)
Phantom of Liberty (1974, Luis Buñuel)
That Obscure Object of Desire (1977, Luis Buñuel)
Children of Paradise (1945, Marcel Carné)
Shadows (1959, John Cassavetes)
Faces (1968, John Cassavetes)
A Woman Under the Influence (1974, John Cassavetes)
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976, John Cassavetes)
Love Streams (1984, John Cassavetes)
The Kid (1921, Charles Chaplin)
The Gold Rush (1925, Charles Chaplin)
City Lights (1931, Charles Chaplin)
Modern Times (1936, Charles Chaplin)
The Great Dictator (1940, Charles Chaplin)
Monsieur Verdoux (1947, Charles Chaplin)
Limelight (1952, Charles Chaplin)
Daisies (1966, Vera Chytilová)
Wages of Fear (1953, Henri-Georges Clouzot)
Beauty and the Beast (1946, Jean Cocteau)
Orpheus (1949, Jean Cocteau)
Videodrome (1983, David Cronenberg)
Y tu mamá también (2001, Alfonso Cuarón)
The Long Day Closes (1992, Terence Davies)
Bicycle Thieves (1948, Vittorio De Sica)
Umberto D. (1952, Vittorio De Sica)
Lola (1961, Jacques Demy)
The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967, Jacques Demy)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928, Carl Theodor Dreyer)
Vampyr (1932, Carl Theodor Dreyer)
Day of Wrath (1943, Carl Theodor Dreyer)
Ordet (1955, Carl Theodor Dreyer)
Gertrud (1964, Carl Theodor Dreyer)
Alexander Nevsky (1938, Sergei Eisenstein)
Ivan the Terrible 1 (1945, Sergei Eisenstein)
Ivan the Terrible 2 (1958, Sergei Eisenstein)
(1963, Federico Fellini)
Nanook of the North (1922, Robert Flaherty)
Young Mr. Lincoln (1939, John Ford)
My Darling Clementine (1946, John Ford)
All That Jazz (1979, Bob Fosse)
Blood of the Beast (1949, Georges Franju)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962, John Frankenheimer)
Pickup on South Street (1953, Samuel Fuller)
Shock Corridor (1963, Samuel Fuller)
Breathless (1960, Jean-Luc Godard)
Contempt (1963, Jean-Luc Godard)
Band of Outsiders (1964, Jean-Luc Godard)
Alphaville (1965, Jean-Luc Godard)
Masculine Feminine (1965, Jean-Luc Godard)
Two or Three Things I Know About Her (1966, Jean-Luc Godard)
Weekend (1967, Jean-Luc Godard)
Only Angels Have Wings (1939, Howard Hawks)
Safe (1995, Todd Haynes)
Two-Lane Blacktop (1971, Monte Hellman)
The 39 Steps (1935, Alfred Hitchcock)
The Lady Vanishes (1938, Alfred Hitchcock)
Rebecca (1940, Alfred Hitchcock)
Notorious (1946, Alfred Hitchcock)
Stranger Than Paradise (1983, Jim Jarmusch)
Down by Law (1986, Jim Jarmusch)
In the Mood for Love (2000, Wong Kar-Wai)
Close Up (1990, Abbas Kiarostami)
Taste of Cherry (1997, Abbas Kiarostami)
Three Colors: Red (1994, Krzysztof Kieslowski)
Killing, The (1956, Stanley Kubrick)
Paths of Glory (1957, Stanley Kubrick)
Spartacus (1960, Stanley Kubrick)
Ikiru (1952, Akira Kurosawa)
M (1931, Fritz Lang)
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933, Fritz Lang)
Shoah (1985, Claude Lanzmann)
Night of the Hunter (1955, Charles Laughton)
Brief Encounter (1944, David Lean)
Do the Right Thing (1989, Spike Lee)
A Hard Day’s Night (1964, Richard Lester)
Trouble in Paradise (1932, Ernst Lubitsch)
Twelve Angry Men (1957, Sidney Lumet)
Eraserhead (1977, David Lynch)
Mulholland Dr. (2001, David Lynch)
The Sweet Smell of Success (1957, Alexander Mackendrick)
W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism (1971, Dusan Makavejev)
Badlands (1973, Terrence Malick)
The Thin Red Line (1998, Terrence Malick)
Touki Bouki (1973, Djibril Diop Mambety)
La Jetée (1962, Chris Marker)
Sans Soleil (1983, Chris Marker)
Make Way For Tomorrow (1937, Leo McCarey)
Army in the Shadows (1969, Jean-Pierre Melville)
Life of Oharu (1952, Kenji Mizoguchi)
Ugetsu Monogatari (1953, Kenji Mizoguchi)
Sansho the Bailiff (1954, Kenji Mizoguchi)
Madame de… (1952, Max Ophüls)
Lola Montès (1955, Max Ophüls)
In the Realm of the Senses (1976, Nagisa Oshima)
I Was Born, But… (1932, Yasujiro Ozu)
Late Spring (1949, Yasujiro Ozu)
Tokyo Story (1953, Yasujiro Ozu)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968, Roman Polanski)
The Thief of Bagdad (1940, Michael Powell)
Peeping Tom (1960, Michael Powell)
Anatomy of a Murder (1959, Otto Preminger)
A Canterbury Tale (1944, Pressburger & Powell)
I Know Where I’m Going! (1945, Pressburger & Powell)
The Red Shoes (1948, Pressburger & Powell)
Bigger Than Life (1956, Nicholas Ray)
Pather Panchali (1955, Satyajit Ray)
Aparajito (1957, Satyajit Ray)
The World of Apu (1959, Satyajit Ray)
The Third Man (1949, Carol Reed)
Boudu Saved From Drowning (1932, Jean Renoir)
Grand Illusion (1937, Jean Renoir)
La Bete Humaine (1938, Jean Renoir)
Rules of the Game (1939, Jean Renoir)
Golden Coach, The (1953, Jean Renoir)
Night and Fog (1955, Alain Resnais)
Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959, Alain Resnais)
Last Year at Marienbad (1961, Alain Resnais)
Walkabout (1971, Nicolas Roeg)
My Night at Maud’s (1969, Eric Rohmer)
Paisan (1946, Roberto Rossellini)
Germany Year Zero (1948, Roberto Rossellini)
Stromboli (1949, Roberto Rossellini)
Europa 51 (1952, Roberto Rossellini)
The Rise of Louis XIV (1966, Roberto Rossellini)
Chronicle of a Summer (1961, Jean & Edgar Morin Rouch)
Sullivan’s Travels (1941, Preston Sturges)
The Palm Beach Story (1942, Preston Sturges)
Andrei Rublev (1969, Andrei Tarkovsky)
Solaris (1972, Andrei Tarkovsky)
M. Hulot’s Holiday (1953, Jacques Tati)
Mon Oncle (1958, Jacques Tati)
Play Time (1967, Jacques Tati)
The 400 Blows (1959, Francois Truffaut)
Shoot the Piano Player (1960, Francois Truffaut)
My Own Private Idaho (1991, Gus Van Sant)
Cléo from 5 to 7 (1961, Agnès Varda)
Vagabond (1985, Agnès Varda)
Gilda (1946, Charles Vidor)
Zero for Conduct (1933, Jean Vigo)
L’Atalante (1934, Jean Vigo)
Senso (1954, Luchino Visconti)
The Leopard (1963, Luchino Visconti)
Docks of New York (1928, Josef von Sternberg)
The Scarlet Empress (1934, Josef von Sternberg)
Ashes and Diamonds (1958, Andrzej Wajda)
F For Fake (1974, Orson Welles)
Ace in the Hole (1951, Billy Wilder)
A Brighter Summer Day (1991, Edward Yang)
Yi Yi (2000, Edward Yang)
Crumb (1994, Terry Zwigoff)

Ever since I first watched Sans Soleil on VHS (probably by recommendation of John at Videodrome) it’s been one of my very favorite movies. I’d previously seen La Jetee on one of those late-90’s shorts DVDs with a commentary track by the writers of Gilliam’s great adaptation 12 Monkeys. For the next decade, these were almost the only available Marker films on video, but IMDB claimed he’d directed fifty more. With help from the mighty Internet, I set out to find and watch as many of these as possible, reading a couple books and following a few sidetracks along the way. As recently stated in my Post-Dissolve write-up, it’s getting kinda old to make endless projects for myself and finish none of them, so ten years after starting the Chris Marker Completism Project it’s time to declare it a success and organize my mess of Marker posts.

Warning: links go to journal posts… sometimes there are multiple short Marker films per post, or one Marker will be lumped in with unrelated shorts, or I’ll watch the same film twice and write about it in two places. Release years may be wrong, and I’ve chosen English or French titles on a whim.

Thirteen Marker-involved Masterpieces:

Sunday in Peking (1956) / Letter From Siberia (1957) / Description of a Struggle (1960)
La Jetée (1962)
A Valparaíso (1963, dir. Joris Ivens)
The Koumiko Mystery (1965)
If I Had Four Dromedaries (1966)
Far From Vietnam / The Sixth Side of the Pentagon (1967)
Sans Soleil (1983)
Immemory (1998)
Remembrance of Things to Come (2001, with Yannick Bellon)
Chats perchés / Case of the Grinning Cat (2004)

Three (point one) great filmmaker documentaries:

A.K. (1985)
The Last Bolshevik (1992) / The Train Rolls On (1971)
One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich (2000)

Three more popular features:

Grin Without a Cat (1977)
Le Joli Mai (1963)
Level Five (1997)

Advanced Studies:

Cinétracts (1968) & Blue Helmet (1995)
The Second Trial of Artur London (1970)
Broadway By Light (1958 William Klein) & Eclipse (1999)
Three Video Haikus (1994)
Cuba Si (1961)
Pictures at an Exhibition (2008) & Silent Movie (1995)
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Singer (1974)
The Owl’s Legacy (1989)
Junkopia (1981)
Tokyo Days (1986) & Berlin ’90 & Prime Time in the Camps (1993)
Be Seeing You (1968) & 2084 (1984) & We Maintain It Is Possible (1973) & Set Theory (1985)
Matta (1985)
Embassy (1973) & Viva la baleine (1972) & Petit Bestiare (1990)

Also of interest:

The Confession (1970, Costa-Gavras)
It For Others (2013, Duncan Campbell)
Description of a Memory (2007 Dan Geva)
America as Seen by a Frenchman (1960, Francois Reichenbach)
Agnès de ci de là Varda (2011, Agnès Varda)
The Marker Variations (2007, Isaki Lacuesta)
The Battle of Chile (1975-78, Patricio Guzmán)
Happiness (1934, Alexander Medvedkin)
Les Astronautes (1959, Walerian Borowczyk)


There are still some I haven’t found, but none that I’m killing myself to acquire. In this post I looked at some missing films from 1967-1977. I’m also missing subtitles for his Simone Signoret doc from 1986 and La Spirale from 1976, and haven’t bothered with the appalling-looking and untranslated youtube copy of his debut Olympia ’52. I haven’t forgotten the Alain Resnais collaborations, but will get to them in a later post.

Olympia ’52:

I’ve already mentioned my love for film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum’s writing and his lists of favorite films, which I first discovered via his top-ten of the 1990’s (in an article that also reviews Cradle Will Rock, which I was crazy about at the time). But I never watched all ten movies on that original list until this year, having caught up with D’est earlier and rewatched Dead Man just now.

The top ten, with excerpts from Rosenbaum’s comments and links to my entries:

Actress/Center Stage
… the lack of a precise fit between these two actresses and eras is part of Kwan’s point, and the acute and moving historical pathos of Actress would be diminished by a better fit. (And anyway, what’s the point of wanting a precise duplication when we have the original Ruan Ling-yu?)

A Brighter Summer Day
All three of the Chinese-language works on my list are period films, set in the 20th century and made in places that until very recently have all but refused to recognize their own history … In the case of Taiwan, one can date the discovery of history – and hence an inquiry into national identity – to the recent birth of democracy in that country after half a century as a Japanese colony and then under the control of mainland China (1945-’49) and the Kuomintang (1949-’87). Prior to 1987, history was effectively a forbidden subject. For Edward Yang, the inquiry is autobiographical, harking back to his high school days in the early 60s.

Dead Man
Jarmusch’s crucial gesture–a simple yet highly significant step in the history of multicultural cinema–was to assume the existence of Native American moviegoers (a move signaled in part by his insertion of jokes addressed specifically to Native Americans), something no maker of westerns to my knowledge had ever done before; the implications of such a move are so far-reaching that many white spectators haven’t begun to sort them out.

Eyes Wide Shut
Kubrick’s adaptation of a masterful 1927 novella by Arthur Schnitzler. (Kubrick transplanted the action to 90s New York, but his movie has a great deal to say about every decade in this century except the 90s).

D’est
A virtually wordless film in which stasis and movement feel almost interchangeable–exemplified by a handheld camera endlessly scanning sprawled, sleeping bodies in a crowded depot–allows emotion to collect and build into a throbbing Jewish sorrow that mysteriously surrounds everyday images, such as cars driving through the snow or people waiting at night at a bus stop.

Inquietude
…combines the works of three authors, a one-act play and two stories, into an existential parable with every part welded into a single perfect shape … These three kinds of doom are seen meditatively through the telescopic lense of an angry yet reconciled wit, and the interlocking stories are inflected with a kind of magic that recalls The Arabian Nights.

The Puppet Master
…forming the middle part of a trilogy that begins with City of Sadness and ends with Good Men, Good Women. … The Puppet Master is only one of four masterpieces made by Hou in the 90s.

Satantango
If it weren’t for the Kiarostami film, I’d be tempted to call it the funniest movie of the 90s as well. Part of its power undoubtedly derives from the long novel by Laszlo Krasznahorkai that the author and Tarr adapted, but Tarr’s virtuoso, choreographed long takes are much more than translated prose.

When It Rains
Burnett’s astonishingly beautiful film compresses an extraordinary amount of what he knows about his hometown and the homeless into its 12 minutes, making it as succinct as a 12-bar blues chorus–and an implicit critique of the flab of most features.

The Wind Will Carry Us
Simultaneously a history of antiquity, the 20th century, and that endless stretch of time known as the present, it shows the interrelatedness of all three periods at practically every moment … As is always the case with Kiarostami, the innovative use of sounds and images makes them merely tools for articulating new kinds of content: we don’t see the offscreen characters because we don’t need to–Kiarostami’s movies are nothing if not focused. And the documentary techniques used to produce fictional details are as purposeful and suggestive as ever.

I would say I unconditionally love six of the ten (and need to see A Brighter Summer Day again; I watched the full-length version, but in VHS quality).

In Film Comment, his list is titled “Ten Best/Most Underrated”, omits Eyes Wide Shut and includes Histoire(s) du Cinema.

The “most underrated” tag makes sense. I couldn’t make a straight top-ten of an entire decade. I love some of the same big action flicks I loved then (Batman Returns, Terminator 2), plus the usual movies that my generation loves (Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption, Fight Club, The Usual Suspects), the oscar nominees (The Thin Red Line, The Age of Innocence, Boogie Nights, The Fisher King), the great American/Canadian independents (Rushmore, Crash, Barton Fink, Archangel), the decade-defining foreign films (Kieslowski’s Three Colors, All About My Mother, Farewell My Concubine, Princess Mononoke) and comedies from Groundhog Day to Cabin Boy.

Still unwatched from the 1990’s: multiple films each by Allen, Brakhage, Campion, Denis, Egoyan, Ferrara, Greenaway, Herzog, Iosseliani, Jarman, Kaurismaki, Leigh, Makhmalbaf, Nair, Ouedraogo, Philibert, Ruiz, Sokurov, Téchiné, Van Sant, Wiseman, Yang and Zhang.

So not counting any of the above, here’s an alternate/underrated top ten, in order of title length:

To Live
Matinee
Le Franc
American Movie
The Life of Birds
La Belle noiseuse
Storefront Hitchcock
City of Lost Children
Little Dieter Needs to Fly
Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America

Film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum has been vital to my cinema hobby. Back in the early 2000’s I knew I wanted to watch more good films – but how to tell which films are good? Everybody seemed to recommend exactly the same ol’ boring things as everyone else. Then one day, looking up some best-of-decade lists online, I found Rosenbaum’s top-ten, which featured Dead Man (one of my own faves which I felt was criminally underappreciated) and eight I’d never even heard of. “I must see these movies,” I thought. But I couldn’t find them all straight away, so I busied myself by buying all of Rosenbaum’s books and trying to figure out what else he likes (because anyone who loves Dead Man has the very best taste). Fortunately, he soon published another book (Essential Cinema) with lists of his favorite films, highlighting the top hundred.

I’d managed to see most of the top hundred early last year when I decided to make an effort to watch the last thirty, and others by the same filmmakers for context, so I could better enjoy (or at least understand) what I’m seeing. I loved most of these, with some definite exceptions – but you can’t argue with a man’s list of favorites, you can only make your own.

Watched in the last few years, with link to blog entry:

Le Tunnel sous la Manche (1907 Melies)
Tih Minh (1918 Feuillade)
Foolish Wives (1922 von Stroheim)
Greed (1924 von Stroheim)
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927 Murnau)
The Docks of New York (1928 von Sternberg)
Arsenal (1929 Dovzhenko)
Lonesome (1929 Fejos)
Night at the Crossroads (1932 Renoir)
I Was Born, But… (1932 Ozu)
Ivan (1932 Dovzhenko)
Love Me Tonight (1932 Mamoulian)
Hallelujah, I’m a Bum (1933 Milestone)
Sylvia Scarlett (1935 Cukor)
Make Way For Tomorrow (1937 McCarey)
Rules of the Game (1939 Renoir)
Story of the Late Chrysanthemums (1939 Mizoguchi)
Christmas in July (1940 Sturges)
The Magnificent Ambersons (1942 Welles)
Heaven Can Wait (1943 Lubitsch)
Seventh Victim (1943 Robson)
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946 Wyler)
Spring in a Small City (1948 Fei Mu)
Stars In My Crown (1950 Tourneur)
The Big Sky (1952 Hawks)
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953 Hawks)
The Naked Spur (1953 Mann)
The Sun Shines Bright (1953 Ford)
The Saga of Anatahan (1954 von Sternberg)
Johnny Guitar (1954 Ray)
Sansho the Bailiff (1954 Mizoguchi)
Track of the Cat (1954 Wellman)
Ordet (1955 Dreyer)
A Man Escaped (1956 Bresson)
Guys and Dolls (1956 Mankiewicz)
The Killing (1956 Kubrick)
India (1958 Rossellini)
Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959 Resnais)
Rio Bravo (1959 Hawks)
Shadows (1959 Cassavetes)
Breathless (1960 Godard)
The Cloud-Capped Star (1960 Ghatak)
Last Year at Marienbad (1961 Resnais)
A Wife Confesses (1961 Masumura)
The House Is Black (1963 Farrokhzad)
Play Time (1967 Tati)
The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967 Demy)
L’Amour Fou (1969 Rivette)
La Region Centrale (1971 Snow)
Out 1 (1971 Rivette)
Out 1: Spectre (1972 Rivette)
Avanti! (1972 Wilder)
Parade (1973 Tati)
Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974 Rivette)
Providence (1977 Resnais)
Doomed Love (1978 Oliveira)
Perceval Le Gallois (1979 Rohmer)
Too Early, Too Late (1981 Straub/Huillet)
Orderly or Disorderly (1981 Kiarostami)
Manuel on the Island of Wonders (1985 Ruiz)
Mix-Up (1985 Romand)
Melo (1986 Resnais)
Where is the Friend’s Home? (1987 Kiarostami)
Yeelen (1987 Cisse)
Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988 Davies)
A Tale of the Wind (1988 Ivens/Loridan)
The Asthenic Syndrome (1989 Muratova)
Nouvelle Vague (1990 Godard)
Actress / Center Stage / Ruan Ling Yu (1991 Kwan)
A Brighter Summer Day (1991 Yang)
The Puppetmaster (1993 Hou Hsiao-hsien)
Satantango (1994 Tarr)
When It Rains (1995 Burnett)
Dead Man (1995 Jarmusch)
Inquietude (1998 Oliveira)
The Wind Will Carry Us (1999 Kiarostami)
Platform (2000 Jia)

Watched in the ancient pre-blog era:

Les Vampires (1915 Feuillade)
Die Nibelungen (1924 Lang)
Spies (1928 Lang)
City Lights (1931 Chaplin)
M (1931 Lang)
Citizen Kane (1941 Welles)
Day of Wrath (1943 Dreyer)
Ivan the Terrible 1 & 2 (1945 Eisenstein)
Monsieur Verdoux (1947 Chaplin)
The Steel Helmet (1951 Fuller)
Othello (1952 Welles)
Rear Window (1954 Hitchcock)
The Tiger of Eschnapur / The Indian Tomb (1959 Lang)
L’Eclisse (1962 Antonioni)
Gertrud (1964 Dreyer)
Au Hasard Balthazar (1966 Bresson)
Black Girl (1966 Sembene)
F For Fake (1974 Welles)
Barry Lyndon (1975 Kubrick)
Stalker (1979 Tarkovsky)
Love Streams (1984 Cassavetes)
Close Up (1990 Kiarostami)
Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001 Spielberg)

The rest of the top-thousand list is going to take a while. Bear with me.