Sunday, 12 August 2007

Notes on 100 Gems


Just a straight listing of a hundred films, no matter the context, really needs some further commentary doesn't it? Some general thoughts:



Music

It's funny how many movies that have music at their core (Black Orpheus, How To Succeed At Business Without Really Trying, Tales Of Hoffmann, Triplets Of Belleville, Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, Vengo) are also rich in colour and beautiful to simply look at. I love this mix of visuals and music - it feels like the directors are trying to recreate the joy and sensuousness of music for people's eyes. Another recently viewed example (not on the list) - The Bandwagon.

Tales Of Hoffmann:



The Bandwagon:



Documentaries

I love docs. I thought my list was short of them, but it looks like I managed to squeeze in 10 (neglecting the faux docs F For Fake and Lessons Of Darkness). Each of these has jaw dropping moments - either because of an incredible feat (the massive wave ride by Laird Hamilton in Riding Giants or any of the NASA footage in both For All Mankind and In The Shadow Of The Moon) or by a twist of the story that the best fiction writers couldn't have created (the twinkie defense in The Times Of Harvey Milk).

Riding Giants massive wave (not a tsunami like the video description states):



Japanese cinema of the 50s and 60s

The gorgeous black and white cinematography throughout Double Suicide, Onibaba, Samurai Rebellion, Samurai Spy and Ugetsu is just one reason to treasure these films, but the stories flow remarkably well too. This is just the tip of the iceberg of Japanese film in this period. Kurosawa is brillant, but Masahiro Shinoda, Masaki Kobayashi and others also made terrific works of art.

Onibaba:



Shadows

Random scattered shadows:

- The poolside scene in Cat People
- Spencer Tracy lurking in the shadows in Fury
- The city in Sweet Smell Of Success
- The noir aesthetic of Kiss Me Deadly, Laura and Murder My Sweet
- Shadows creating suspense and atmosphere in The Changeling and Pulse

Cat People listed as #97 scariest moment (from Bravo):



Bringing the funny

Random guffaws:

- "Serpentine Sheldon! Serpentine!" from The In-Laws
- Any argument Matthau and Burns have in The Sunshine Boys
- Baby Jesus prayer in Talledega Nights
- The farce in Miracle Of Morgan's Creek and Christmas in Connecticut
- Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday (the perfect balance of ditz and intelligence)

"Dear 8 lb. 6 oz. baby Jesus..."



Long clip from Born Yesterday:



Other Great Moments

- A scene near the end of Cobra Verde which juxtaposes bare chested African women confidently and proudly singing (while Klaus Kinski prowls amongst them) against lines of chained men sitting on the ground in a state of stupor
- The blowing waves of wheat in Onibaba that suddenly reveal that frightening mask
- The moments that the sound drops out completely in Pulse which drives the creepy factor way up
- Running from the darkness down a long hallway in Session 9
- The ferry sinking in Three Colours - Red

Small snippet of Cobra Verde scene (no nudity):





And this is all from films that DIDN'T make my Top 100 favourites...

2 comments:

Justine said...

100 is never enough, I love your honourable youtube mention of Tales of Hoffman even though I can't say I love the entire film. The two scenes that I do love, is the one you have included, and the doll one. The singing never did much for me.

Bob Turnbull said...

Thanks for the comments Justine...

I do tend to agree with you about the singing. Another viewing of the entire film could either push it up the list or drop it right off...But it's just so stunning to look at, I had to include it.

And yes, 100 is nowhere near enough...This 100 plus my actual Top 100 is still not even close to representing the films I love. But it's a fun exercise.