film love pt 2

5/01/2012

When I was sixteen I enrolled into a college film class to learn more about "the cinema". I was much too infantile at the time to follow-through with tests and strict guidelines, but it cemented my interest in finding films which spoke to me. I devoured many as a teenager, when I had no schedule and a relentless desire for varied representations of human nature. I've loved so many: the novelties, the classics, the bizarre- but only a few have really impacted me. My first list can be found here and the second continues:

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Ma Nuit chez Maud (My Night at Maud's) by Éric Rohmer
At first I was captivated by the beautiful Jean-Louis Trintignant. Then it was the conversations about life, love, and contentious philosophies that only the French could explore with vigor. There are many profound observations which make way for humor, and the volatility of relationships is well captured. It was filmed during the late 1960s in France, when many other directors were perhaps more interested in style over substance. Conversations between people are at the forefront, providing a nostalgic feel, as though you were there with them. There are many other tales in Éric Rohmer's catalog but this is my favorite.


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Summer with Monika by Ingmar Bergman
Most of the Ingmar Bergman films that I love are quite severe, but Summer with Monika has a naive exuberance that sets itself apart from the rest of his work. I saw this in a theater many years ago with my sister, which allowed me to pay particularly close attention to the sights and sounds within. Sometimes it feels impossible to give a film its deserved attention, as I'm always distracted! Monika is wild and spends the summer with her boyfriend, in a boat on the archipelago of Sweden. She seems like a savage at times or like a regular teenager. It's deeply affecting, at times too real and makes you long for a wild summer.


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Cría Cuervos by Carlos Saura
Sometimes I dream that I was as cool as Ana Torrent as a child, but it's just not true. She's always deep in thought and imagining an entire world around her that simply does not exist. It's true in both the Spirit of the Beehive and Cría Cuervos. Although the film is heavy-handed at times, there is a playfulness in everything due to the children's innocent perceptions and a very memorable interlude of Jeanette's "Porque te Vas". It is an instant classic.


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Spellbound by Alfred Hitchock
I've mentioned what a big Hitchcock fan I am in the past; I could probably do a whole post on his films alone! Spellbound is from 1945, about ten years before some of his most famous films and has Gregory Peck in it. When I first saw it I couldn't believe that such a gorgeous man existed in those days, and I kind of wish I could travel back in time to have witnessed it myself. There's an incredible dream sequence in the film that was designed by Salvador Dali, so it's certainly unlike any other film.


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The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, Stroszek and many more by Werner Herzog
It's difficult to pinpoint which Herzog films that I prefer the most, as they tend to be quite bizarre and very reminiscent of each other. The separation is clear, but they belong to each other as a group. Herzog has such unique narrative; sometimes I wish we all spoke in such a literary tone, although it would be incredibly taxing. The stories he portrays focus on grandeur, human naïveté and even failure, but all include a purposeful insight into basic stories. Many unexpected smiles erupt, like when I saw the scene with the baby above!


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La Jetée by Chris Marker
La Jetée is loosely considered a film, if only because it's essentially a 28-minute sequence of still photographs. As soon as it begins, the narration guides you through an incredible tale and you forget that it is not a traditional film, in fact it is irrelevant. Chris Marker manages to describe a complex story with the help of profound images, that is part science fiction and part love story. It revels in a lot of concepts which I love, such as the fascination with the past and of affecting memories. It feels pure and otherworldly at times, which is why it influenced me greatly.


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White Christmas by Michael Curtiz
This probably seems like an out-of-place choice considering the previous few, or the fact that it's May and not Christmas. It's a testament to how great the film is, especially since I usually abhor musicals. This is one of the exceptions (and Grease of course)! An element of nostalgia ties me to it, since as a kid I had very few television channels and this was always on. It's been a tradition of ours to watch it every Christmas, but some years ago I put it on throughout the year and it still made me so content.

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25 comments

  1. I have to remember some of these names and watch them. I like good movies but have always been more of a book person, so there are many great movies I've never seen and i often feel I miss out on something...

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    1. Being a book person is great! I used to be one, but then it turned into film, and then into something else :)

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  2. This post and the last one you did with your favorite movies make me:
    i) excited about watching them
    ii) embarassed about not knowing anything about anything
    XD
    yeah I know it's hard imagining parisians with messy hair and clothes but I guess it happens! Oh and that painting was of Louis XIV's favourite hunting dogs, "Blonde" and "Diane" haha XD

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    1. Haha well I love discovering a wide variety of films, to be honest I need to do it much more often! Ohh what a great story to go along with those adorable paintings x

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  3. to be honest i haven't seen any of these films, and i hardly have time to watch any these days but when i do have some time i'll remember this post and try and watch a few of them. :)

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  4. Wonderful lists my dear! I too was too young to do a good job in my film history classes! But still the ever loving film obsessive! I will have to add La Jetée and Cría Cuervos to my to-watch list! I hope you are having a lovely week so far you sweet and talented American lass! :) Zoë xxx

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    1. You're always so sweet Zoë! I was only enrolled for about two months, and then my sixteen year old self lost interest in the quizzes, etc haha. It's great that you had them though, I appreciate a good film lover x

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  5. Right, a bit shallow to focus on this part of your post but "I know!" with regards to Gregory Peck. Just about the best-looking man I can think of (Peter O'Toole gets honours too). The Ingmar Bergman film sounds interesting too... My film studies were confined to a Canadian film course, I'm afraid.

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    1. Definitely not shallow, he deserves all the praise! Studying Canadian films sounds fun, I'm assuming there had to be some Cronenberg films? :)

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  6. I definitely need to refer back to this list too a a later ate, I'm always on the look out for new old films.

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    1. Agreed! I need to look into a lot more too! x

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  7. This is such an amazing post. I feel like there are so many great movies out there, perhaps so much so that i don't know where to start! 'Ma Nuit chez Maud' looks wonderful. I always wish could travel back in time to the '60s in France. And that 28-minute film looks cool! There's a media library at my college, and I think I'll be renting some of these movies to watch soon :)

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    1. I agree that sometimes it can be overwhelming on where to start. Sixties France was probably too cool for me, but then I could have seen the Beatles! :)

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  8. Good retrospective list! This takes me back to fun times browsing through the Criterion Collection at Video Hut. You'd watch a film based on the description on the back of the box and hoped it was good! Haha. No recommendations or reviews needed. The reward is finding a film or director that truly inspires you, makes you laugh, cry, or all of the above. White Christmas made me wish I could dance and sing, for example. Haha. Of the Rohmer series I remember liking the Bakery one the best. Couldn't tell you what happened in it though! My recollection of films I've seen is vague at best. Haha. I'll continue to turn to the Criterion Collection for good films though.

    ...damn Gregory Peck was attractive.

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    1. Haha I have a vague recollection of films as well, sometimes these lists forces me to reevaluate why I liked them. Most of the time I just watch them and they feel like a perfect fit. I remember the video hut days! We saw so many Harrison Ford movies, it was epic. And yes, Gregory Peck was the most attractive gent in the early 20th century. It's really hard to find another who compared! x

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  9. Have you seen The Cave of Forgotten Dreams by Herzog? I haven
    t seen yet and I wonder if it's good...x

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    1. I have! It's one of his documentaries so it's not really one of his "films" but he always manages to frame things in an interesting way. I love his narrations. If you like prehistoric cave paintings then it's great to watch, otherwise it would not be interesting hehe x

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  10. ah thanks for sharing these, val! I know what to download now <3 <3

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  11. great list. Ingmar Bergman films would be on my list. Haven't seen yet Summer with Monika. I'll have to these days.

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  12. I cannot stand that I just know ONE of all these films you've mentioned in this post. But I think I might actually really (!!) enjoy almost all of these. I am very (!!) intrigued by 'Spellbound', maybe that has just a litte (really!) to do with the fact that Gregory Peck is in it. (Good heavens, I love Gregory Peck)

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    1. Haha that's completely understandable. I will watch almost any gregory peck film just to see him in it :)

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  13. What do you think of Rohmer's season's tales? I was so excited to watch them, but I only managed winter and summer- I found them really slow and the script quite bad. It's put me off watching his others. Although the one you mentioned seems quite good. x

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