Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The list is in order of quality as perceived by me. Five of the top 10 films are from European countries. Two are from Iran.
Look Back in Anger (1959)
Osborne is fascinating--with Burton, Richardson and Morris taking him beyond the stage
Nothing spectacular for most of the film until the last act--that's where Richard Burton's versatility comes to the fore. The earlier parts are the same as Burton emoting in "Cleopatra" or "Villain." The last act of the play is where Burton of "Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf" shows up. Great talent.
The film is about trains--from the early morning sequence when you hear the train but never see it as the camera of Oswald Morris moves along the buildings as though the camera was following the train. A great idea.
Director Tony Richardson's idea of introducing the train without showing it and then showing trains at the end of the film is very clever.
But the film belongs to the playwright John Osborne! All the way. The cast only helped.
Another example of Cannes getting it right and Oscars getting it wrong
Deserved the acting awards for the three male actors that the Cannes festival bestowed. Orson Welles is amazing while delivering his lines--almost whispering and yet being heard. His performance makes Marlon Brando's famous roles look artificial and contrived.
I liked the visual play of the director with the spectacles several times in the film, each time in a different manner. Director Fleischer who impressed me with his film "Barabbas" continues to impress me here. Probably, in this film it was the final line of theism versus atheism.
Finally. this is an important example of a film that argues against the death penalty.
Sci-fi meets Coppola's Harry Caul of "The Conversation"
A very good sci-fi concept, poorly executed. As the film begins, you are reminded of Harry Caul of Coppola's "The Conversation," which was brilliantly played by Gene Hackman.
This film cannot boast of a Hackman or a John Cazale.
You have a dead father being cremated but we are never told how he died.
Secondary characters like Aloys' childhood classmate are never fleshed out. The concept of a drunk Aloy being locked up in a bus does not ring true. It appears he had urinated in his trousers in one shot. In a later shot, there is no such evidence.
All in all it is a film that had so much potential that fails to deliver.
Good ensemble acting but a warped screenplay that did not deserve the Cannes accolade
After a second viewing over a 10 year gap, I am once again convinced this is an average quality film. Almodovar has never made me sit up as a film director, but Penelope Cruz and all the female cast are indeed a delight to watch and deserved the Cannes accolade. The prize for the best screenplay is possibly not justifiable.
Madness and incest might appeal to Almodovar, not to sane and morally upright folks. What was the reason for the overhead gratuitous shot of Cruz' cleavage when she is cooking? In this film, even murder seems OK under certain circumstances. That's not what a filmmaker's stand ought to be. And to award this film for its screenplay is a warped logic. Sorry, it is one of the few occasions a Cannes jury got its judgement wrong!
Il conformista (1970)
The book, not the film, deserves the adulation
If you have not had the chance to read Alberto Moravia's book of the same name, the Bertollucci adaptation would seem to be a magnificent work. If you have read the book, the film will appear pedestrian.
Notwithstanding Storraro's cinematography and the delightful performances of the lead players, the film misses out on the all important prologue and epilogue of the book. The views on religion are arguably more of Bertollucci than of Moravia. What is left is an action oriented slice of the book, ignoring the psychology and sociology offered by Moravia.
I am convinced the importance given to the film is misplaced by viewers who have never bothered to read the book and compare the two works.
A torinói ló (2011)
Interesting work that depresses the viewer
My initial reaction to the film is "here is a black and white movie, well made, sombre in spirit that takes off from the event that led to Nietzsche's eventual death." The famous nihilist, Nietzsche, who once studied to be a monk and then denounced the existence of God, ultimately went mad after he saw a horse being brutalized by a horse- cart owner when the horse stubbornly refused to pull the cart. This movie "The Turin Horse" is all about stubborn lives as well in a stubborn world.
The wind blows relentlessly in a barren spot in Hungary. A partly paralyzed father and his daughter live in a house built of stones and tiles far away from any living soul with an aging horse.
Director Tarr builds up a highly unreal story. The duo survives day after day on potatoes, possibly grown on the farm and some distilled liquor, possibly homemade. They live on water from a well that dries up. Could anyone live on potatoes, water and liquor for days on end?
They do not appear to have a survival instinct or worry about their future. The stubborn horse refuses to eat, and kind daughter follows the horse's actions--by refusing to eat. Even lamps full of oil refuse to light up.
How the daughter and horse are similar visually towards the end is remarkably achieved by Tarr and his team.
The music and camera-work are laudable. So are the performances of humans and animals. The nihilism is all pervasive. It contaminates the viewer, for no logical reason.
Tarr has misplaced talent similar to Miklos Jansco, whom I have interviewed 33 years ago. I love many Hungarian films--especially those of Zoltan Fabri (whom I had interviewed as well) and Istvan Szabo-- that are world class. Yet despite the high class production details, I cannot relate with the two Tarr films I have seen thus far--this one and "Werckmeister Harmonies."
A film that got completed because of the lead actor--and a superb swansong for a great director
On a second viewing after a 35 year gap, I am convinced this is indeed a lovely work and a major work of Visconti. This is is also one of those rare films that an actor--Burt Lancaster--helped a director to make a great film. (One recalls Kirk Douglas prevailing on Stanley Kubrick to change the ending of Paths of Glory, only to make it a major work of cinema). Here, Burt Lancaster, staked his own money to complete the film as producers backed out noticing the director was ill and could die before the film was completed.
One major fact that I did not realize was the title did not relate to conversations in the movie but was a well known (in the world of paintings) title for a series of paintings. That makes you to reassess the entire film. The film is a study of Italy through the eyes of three generations and their varied values on social interactions, art, politics, architectural design, music, et al.
Once you evaluate the film on the basis of the painter's decision to change the very trees and objects in his painting compared to the photograph taken of the same scene, the movie's stature itself changes. The opening credits that begin with a blast followed by the electrocardiogram graph roll streaming out unattended is a Visconti masterstroke.
That the film was made by the director sitting on a wheel chair is impressive. Is it a film about acquiring possessions or about understanding people? Both. One realizes the importance of understanding human behaviour of strangers, as one educated professor was withdrawing into solitude surrounded by books, works of art and great music. And his life changes for the richer experience in his sunset years. A great film indeed with superb performances from Burt Lancaster and Silvana Mangano. The cameos of Claudia Cardinale and Dominique Sanda do not contribute much except in providing insights into the character of the professor.
Highly recommended for serious viewers of good quality cinema.
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
Interesting for a viewer who loves solving eye-candy puzzles, without any substantial takeaways
Interesting script and direction. A film about dreams and lives spiraling out of control. Interesting performances. If you like detective films, psychological studies and films like Memento, The Aura (Chile), and Inception this would be in that league of intelligent cinema. But is the film uplifting and a gem, in the league of a Tarkovsky, a Zvyagintsev or a Kieslowski? I think not.
But Lynch does have a sensitive ear for sound/music and an eye for color. But color coding was best done by Kieslowski ("Three colors" trilogy).
I prefer Malick, any day, to Lynch. Malick goes beyond Lynch's clever and sometimes admirable web of associations. within a person's mind. Malick is interested in forces outside the human mind; Lynch is anchored within the human mind with its dreams as the outermost orbit.
Neecha Nagar (1946)
A memorable Indian film with a subject that is relevant even 70 years later in India
The only film from India to win the top award at Cannes, but rarely discussed by fans of Indian cinema.
The subject of the film is as relevant today in 2016 as it was 70 years ago in India. It deals with rich and influential folks influencing decisions on public works for their private gain at the expense of the poorer folks and throwing minor sops at them to mitigate the anger of the affected poor.
The cinematography and expressionist montage are memorable for a 1946 film. One should realize that the director Chetan Anand was working with a crew and cast more at home with theater (IPTA) and yet made the work cinematically credible. Hats off to you, Mr Anand!
A bonus is the music of Pandit Ravi Shankar, the sitar maestro.
Interesting and yet intriguing cinema
Very interesting and intriguing. Let me explain why so.
The difficult Kafkaesque conditions in Iran are very real. I have visited Iran and therefore I have seen it all firsthand. Everything in the movie is real. My heart goes out to the people of Iran where the best works of Iranian cinema are banned. My favourite Iranian film "Bitter Dreams," a debut film by Mohsen Amiryoussefi, was banned within months of it being shown in the Cannes film festival and most cineastes are not even aware of its existence.
Panahi is different. He makes good films. He claims he is hounded by the authorities but yet makes films, one after the other, openly in the streets of Teheran. It cannot be that he has done it without people noticing his filming.
Now "Taxi" is a laudable work--including the discussion of males wearing ties in public (I have not spotted a single Iranian male wearing a necktie in Teheran, but two people in "Taxi' wear ties, Panahi's friend and the bridegroom), a top human rights lawyer Nasrin Satoudeh (the flower woman) talking of prisons as "Paradise" after she herself endured time in the notorious Evin prison, mention of public hangings for petty offences by financially stressed folks, pirated film CDs sold in the streets, mention of Panahi being interrogated in prison blindfolded and his search for that man by trying to identify him by his voice--all laudable, realistic cinema.
Or is it? Panahi is afraid two women with a fishbowl will wet his backseat. When the fishbowl breaks, he is not concerned about the water or the broken glass. The camera angles of the sequence with him helping the ladies save the fish could not have been taken from the dashboard camera. Evidently there were more cameras used than we are expected to believe.
I have actually shook hands with the director in my city when he was chairing a film jury. He appeared sullen and unfriendly. In the movie "Taxi" you see a charming, smiling and friendly Panahi. Which is the real Panahi? In my view, the film deserved the Best Actor award at Berlin rather than Best Film.
As in Panahi's "The circle", the subject of his cinema is totally laudable in "Taxi." Is there an implicit collusion between Panahi and the Iranian authorities? How much of "Taxi" is spontaneous? Probably very little.