As an upstart movie snob I of course take severe issue with the AFI's Top 100 Movies of the last century. They are, in my opinion either insane or deluded. Okay...and so am I...maybe...a little bit.
The point is that movie-watching is an incredibly personal experience, I'm less interested in the what than in the why. Artists especially are deeply infuenced by film, or perhaps are merely able to do a better job of articulating the whys and wherefores for everyone else. At any rate, I'm starting a list and would love to know what you think.
What, are the five most important films in your film-watchin' career and why?
I'm starting the list with my top 5, in no particular order.
Bringing Up Baby (1938, Howard Hawks)
Night of the Hunter (1955, Charles Laughton)
The Browning Version (1951, Anthoy Asquith)
Tango (1998, Carlos Saura)
All About Eve (1950, Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
These five films have had the greatest (I'm pretty sure about this) impact on my career as a film buff. Seeing each one changed something in the way I watched movies forever after.
Howard Hawk's Bringing Up Baby was my introduction to the world of the screwball comedy. I'd no idea it was possible to laugh so much during a movie that didn't involve bodily function humor.
My brother and I saw Laughton's Night of the Hunter one afternoon when we were supposed to be doing our homework. I think it came on like, A&E, when they used to show classic films. I had literally never been so frightened in the middle of the day. That began my love affair with thrillers in black and white.
The Browning Versionis a film I saw more recently. I'd heard of it of course, but had only the vaguest idea of it's existence. I don't remember now why I Netflix'd it, only that it blew me away. On the surface, it is a film in which very little happens but just under the surface, plays a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. I've always been fascinated by the ability of the movies to show us two completely opposite realities at once. Asquith's The Browning Version is a defining example.
Seriously, I've had musicals on the brain since early childhood but until Tango, I never knew the power a musical film can exert. Saura's Tango tells complicated stories, a private story of memory and regret,a human one of tyranny and oppression. The film is beautifully shot by Il Maestro, Vittorio Storaro and uses the Argentine Tango as most peope have never seen it, as its narrator.
All About Eve? Bette Davis, 'nough said.
But of course, I'm gonna say more. This is the movie that helped me fall in love with the theatre (spelled 're' please darlings) and the idea of acting.