BFI Top 50 Greatest Films ever: an update

Renée Falconetti

Carl Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1927) starring Renée Falconetti

Apologies to both my readers (Hi Mum! and person with concealed IP address) for the lack of updates on the ongoing viewing of the BFI’s 50 Greatest Films list. Since the last post on Pather Panchali this is what I’ve seen:

Ugetsu Monogatari (50=)
The Battle of Algiers (48=)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (9)
8 1/2 (10)
La Jetée (50=)

Stats fans, this means that in the top 10 the only films I’ve never seen are Tokyo Story and La Règle du jeu as I’ve previously seen the others (Vertigo, Citizen Kane, Sunrise, 2001, The Searchers, Man with a Movie Camera).

Of the new batch The Battle of Algiers and The Passion of Joan of Arc are the two standout films for me. Carl Dreyer‘s Joan of Arc is stunning to look at – if you told me this is what film making would look like in the future I’d believe you. As a visual language I can’t think of anything that comes close.

Gillo Pontecorvo‘s The Battle of Algiers is a magnificent film experience and seen as a piece of post-colonial cinema highlights what is mostly missing every time Hollywood brings out cookie-cutter action movie. This is brave and adventurous story-telling that is still fresh nearly 50 years later.

Fellini’s 8 1/2 is a little bit too self-absorbed for my tastes, Ugestsu Monogatari probably deserves another look from me and it was lovely seeing La Jetée again at the Whitechapel’s Chris Marker retrospective – I first saw an extract of it at college 30 years ago.


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