Monday, August 27, 2007

the obligatory response to the foreign language film posts

Alok started it all (though he took his cue from here. And then Jai went and expanded the list (while cheating dreadfully - including several extras, like a DVD crammed with goodies by calling them "Honourable Mentions'. HMs forsooth. He only wanted to include all directors' oevres.)

But worse than these guys are the people who comment, and lazily use the space to make lists a mile long.

Now here's the challenge I'm setting myself. I'm naming 25 films that these two haven't mentioned (commenters' favourites don't count. They should have done a post on their blogs). I'm excluding Copeland's list because it's a list of nominees and not his personal favourites. It appears to have had a nominating committee and other complex procedures, including votes and things.

So here goes. Excluding only English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu films, the top 25 in no particular order:

Viridiana - LUis Bunuel

Stalker - Andrei Tarkovsky

Ashik Kerib - Sergei Paradjanov

Night Train - Jerzy Kawalerowicz

Man of Marble - Anrdezej Wajda

Fireman's Ball - Milos Forman

Nine Months - Marta Meszaros

Elektra - Miklos Jansco

Love Film - Istvan Szabo

Dark Habits - Pedro Almodavar

Triumph of the Will - Leni Riefensthal

Fitzcarraldo - Werner Herzog

Alice In The City - Wim Wenders

Winter Light- Ingmar Bergman

Notre Musique- Jean-Luc Godard

Last Year At Marienbad - Alain Resnais

A Man Escaped - Robert Bresson

Lucia - Humberto Solas

Memories of Underdevelopment - Tomas Guttierez Alea

Flowers of Shanghai - Hou Hsiao-Hsien

In The Mood For Love - Wong Kar-Wai

Hana-bi - Takeshi Kitano

Autumn Afternoon - Yasujiro Ozu

Take Care Of Your Scarf Tatyana - Aki Kaurismaki

Red Desert - Michaelangelo Antonioni

Dammit! That's 25 and there's still more to go.

I hadn't even begun India: Subarnarekha, Titash, Goopy Gyne, Tukaram, Amma Ariyan, Firingoti.

Haven't mentioned so many directors, even, so many countries (Iran, and Kiarostami, without whom any list is pretty meaningless.)

I also note how few comtemporary directors' work I've chosen, which either means their worth is not yet certain, or that I'm conditioned by a text book idea of cinema's top films.


The trouble with such exercises is, it always leaves you feeling you've done no one justice.


Jabberwock said...

So basically this is a new list of 25 Films Not on Jai and Alok's Lists - I feel so important!

I also note how few comtemporary directors' work I've chosen, which either means their worth is not yet certain, or that I'm conditioned by a text book idea of cinema's top films.

I thought about that too, but figured it's probably that I haven't seen too many foreign-language films from the last 20 or so years.

Subarnarekha was in my list btw, and Goopy Gyne was an "honorary mention", so you couldn't have added those!

Space Bar said...

Ya exactly. I figured, since y'all have covered so much between you, at least the title of the top 25 (how alliterative that is) should feature you two.

Subarnarekha was on your list?

Goopy Gyne doesn't count. You hogged every film with those hon mnetions. All cheating.

Space Bar said...

Jai, actually, if you look, Subarnarekha isn't on my list at all. Or Titash, Goopy and the rest. No place.

Maybe I should have done a top 50 as well.

Falstaff said...

The problem with these lists is that they make one feel illiterate (or whatever the film equivalent of illiterate is).

I was wondering when Almodavar and Wong Kar-Wai would show up (though Dark Habits?! Really?)

Also, just out of curiosity, is there a reason La Vite e bella doesn't make any of your lists?

Space Bar said...

Fasltaff: I really liked Dark Habits. It was from a more murky phase of his filmmaking. While I like his more recent films, there's just something a little smooth about them.

Ah...Benigni. I liked the film well enough. In the way that I like Children of Heaven. But not top 25, I think. Also, I like Benigni's persona in Jarmusch's Down By Law more than this nutty-sentimental one.

Alok said...

i haven't seen quite a lot from your list (ten actually). i don't know if one can get all those obscure hungarian films outside the film institute library. i am guessing thats where you saw most of these?

saw The Red and the White by Jansco recently which was strange, boring and beautiful, specially the long takes. i have also seen two of szabo's films but they are both german-austrian productions i think.

Cheshire Cat said...

This is indeed an addictive meme. I'm envious you got to see the Paradjanov. I don't watch movies on DVD, so I am a little dependent on luck...

Space Bar said...

Alok: There was that Hyngarian film thing earlier this year, no? But I guess they were showing only the films that had to do with '56.

So yes, I guess they'd only be available in some archive or film school (you should try the Hungarian Cultural Centre if you're in Delhi. I've watched several films there.)

Cheshire Cat: I've only seen it once. But I've stared at a large poster of the film every day for a month while editing a film. :D

Alok said...

Actually that's where I saw The Red and the White. They had a special Jansco sidebar but couldn't really go to other movies.... Even on dvd that's the only film that seems to be available.

hungarian cultural center? hmmm so these small countries have cultural centers in india too....

Space Bar said...

Alok: Really? That's sad. And ya, Hungarian Cultural Centre, 2 Aurangazeb Road, if I'm not mistaken!

Jabberwock said...

2 Aurangzeb Road is the French Cultural Centre (3 is Israel and 4 is Canada). I think the Hungarian one is on Janpath.

Space Bar said...

Jai: Ah, ok. That's what four years away does. You're right - it is on Janpath somewhere.

Edward Copeland said...

Actually, four of your films (Viridiana, Last Year at Marienbad, In the Mood for Love and The Red Desert) did make our list of nominees for the survey.

Space Bar said...

Edward: indeed they did; but they didn't make top 25. It's really hard to make a fair list. That's the only thing one learns from amking lists, actually.