(Versão em português aqui)
A few remarks on the first 25 and then the remaining are only listed.
Beggars of Life (William A. Wellman, 1928)
William Wellman had just recent directed the very popular Wings, when he take the opposite direction and made this film about two young lovers on the run in the middle of American train hobos. In some ways, it suggests the social films made during the great depression inclusing Wellman’s own masterpiece Wild Boys of the Road that revisit much of the same territory. Rough, very unsentimental and with beautiful performance from Louise Brooks that is far away from the work she would do for Pabst and Hawks a little later.
Sadie Thompson (Raoul Walsh, 1928)
A dissolution tale with a large variety of registers. A triangle of different worldviews that Walsh allows space to resonate. In the middle of all a illuminated Gloria Swanson. It is also a rare opportunity of seeing Walsh on screen a little before the accident that ended his acting career.
The Last Flight (William Dieterle, 1931)
This was the first American film from William Dieterle and some of its force comes from how it remains suspended between two continents. The masochist pragmatism in front of the remains of war come from US, but the sense of desperation comes from Europe that serve as stage from the conflict and amplifies everyone’s impotence.
Other Men’s Women (William A. Wellman, 1931)
Wellman filming the romance between American working class men in the middle of train lines that are cinematographic as usual. It remind me of the best Jean Renoir did in his Popular front days.
Safe in Hell (William A. Wellman, 1931)
One of the best things about Wellman’s movies from this era i show ecletic they are both in subjects and even inside themselves changing registers with great freedom. Safe in Hell is almost exactly reversal of Other Men’s Women from its focus on women to its exotic near abstract setting. Like many of the director’s films, it is a movie about civilization and its frontiers, here filtered through a woman dealing with a place where no pretenses of it arrived. Safe in Hell movies with assurance between the moral dramaand a specificity of gesture in the many negotiations that Dorothy Mackail need to stabilish through its short duration.
Transatlantic (William K. Howard, 1931)
One of those multiplot movies centered in a single space, here a transatlantic. Much like Safe in Hell, it is a film about notions of civilization in a space It is suspended. The film moves with ease between its many plots while tying the moral knot around Edmund Lowe’s gambler. Great cinematography work from James Wong Howe and atmospheric and menancing direction by the underrated William K. Howard.
Four Hours to Kill! (Mitchel Leisen, 1935)
Leisen is usually linked to comedy, but he worked well in other registers like this delicious thriller with a single setting and closed time frame (a theater lobby, the four hours of the title). Very neurotic with the many subplots feeding in the main revenge tale. Another excellent work from Richard Barthelmess as the waiting prisoner who moves the action, it was his last leading role and there’s some to be written about his six years as leading man on talkies as there’s a thematic consistence and ambition both aesthetic and social politic in them that is very unusual.
Sazen Tange and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo (Sadao Yamanaka, 1935)
One of the pleasures of this year’s was watching the two Sadao Yamanaka I hadn’t seenwith his light touch even in the middle of desperate material.And there’s something about his community portrait that is fascinating as well
Angel (Ernst Lubitsch, 1937)
Love and the ending of reason. As often in Lubitsch from good manners arrives the most violent of movies.
Strange Cargo (Frank Borzage, 1940)
From the religious allegory to a sense of arriving at a world. It is very close to what Borzage would achieve later in Moonrise and has a stronger desperation that the romantic material might at first not suggest.
Gentleman Jim (Raoul Walsh, 1942)
A good part of the films Raoul Walsh did in his first years at Warner between 1939-1942 suggest a revisit of ideas and situations that he had made his own in the the early 30s bu in a key that add a good shot of melancholia. Gentleman Jim is a boxing film full of energy, much because of a perfect employed Errol Flynn, but it never escapes a certain bitterness, the certainty that its belle époque is an illusion that belong only to movies.
Driftwood (Allan Dwan, 1947)
Half religious parable, half eccentric small town film. So Fordian that Francis Ford is in the supporting cast. It even has a subplot with a dog trial.
Children of the Beehive (Hiroshi Shimizu, 1948)
Going from the sweet children film to the horror one when we move from WWII winners to its losers. Portrait of a country in ruins literally and emotionally by way of the children who play through its remains.
Sound of the Mountain (Mikio Naruse, 1954)
Pure poison about Japanese family by way of the all-wrong gaze of its well-meaning but out of place patriarch. Naruse producing a kind of anti-Ozu years before the new wave provocateurs. One of Setsuko Hara’s best performances.
The Eternal Breasts (Kinuyo Tanaka, 1955)
Kinuyo Tanaka was beyond one of the great actresses of Japanese cinema, the first woman to direct in the country, I saw two of the six movies she did between 1953 and 1962 (Love Letter that I saw a few years ago is also pretty good) and this one is a gem. A masochist film that moves strongly towards death but finds a larger view along the way.
Decision at Sundown (Budd Boetticher, 1957)
High Noon turned upside down. Above all else because Boetticher direction couldn’t be more simple and direct. One of his better acted movies as well.
Othon (Danielle Huilet, Jean-Marie Straub, 1970)
Straub/Huillet and the word. One of the great musicals only through the sonority of the spoken words. A film of all times.
Touki Bouki (Djibril Diop Mambety, 1973)
One of the great dramas of the Third World filmmaker i show to better absorb artistic influences from the colonial powers while steal dealing with imperialism. Mambety’s film is a New Wave couple’s adventure about colonial affliction that is all the stronger for recognize all the violence inherent to its process.
Dialogue of Exiled (Raul Ruiz, 1975)
Speaking of colonial affliction here we get Raul Ruiz losing any pretenses while filming the neurosis of Chilean exiles after Pinochet’s coup. Exile is complete annihilation of any idea of normalcy.
Muddy River (Kohei Oguri, 1981)
The world’s misery through a child’s gaze. Not a film about the naïve of childhood, but of the harsh negotiations of two kids in a hostile world.
School in the Crosshairs (Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1981)
Scanners reimagined through Japanese society fascistic tendencies by way of juvenile anime.
Berenice (Raul Ruiz, 1983)
Ruiz playing Wellesian shadow games. On how to extract so much out of minimal scene elements.
Alexandria Again and Forever (Youssef Chahine, 1990)
On filmmaking and power. The director’s gaze, all those who appear in front of his camera and all those who labor behind it. Among Chahine’s autobiographical work I think this is t6he one with the most inventive ideas.
Samba Traoré (Idrissa Ouedraogo, 1992)
A thriller about the exact moment his actions will caught up with its main character. An invaluable film not about guilty but responsibility of what’s to come.
Fragile as the World (Rita Azevedo Gomes, 2001)
A forbidden love and the filmmaker’s generous gesture of making it eternal by placing its young lovers in the world as unforgiven as it might be.
The Salvation Hunters (Joseph Von Sternberg, 1925)
The Kid Brother (Ted Wilde, 1927)
Speedy (Ted Wilde, 1928)
Linda (Dorothy Davenport, 1929)
Where East is East (Tod Browning, 1929)
The Wild Party (Dorothy Arzner, 1929)
City Girl (F.W. Murnau, 1930)
A Lady to Love (Victor Sjostrom, 1930)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Rouben Mamoulian, 1931)
Possessed (Clarence Brown, 1931)
Beauty and the Boss (Roy Del Ruth, 1932)
Red-Headed Woman (Jack Conway, 1932)
What Price Hollywood? (George Cukor, 1932)
Baby Face (Alfred E. Green, 1933)
The Mayor of Hell (Archie Mayo, 1933)
The Mystery of the Wax Museum (Michael Curtiz, 1933)
Queen Christina (Rouben Mamoulian, 1933)
The Silver Cord (John Cromwell, 1933)
Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back (Roy Del Ruth, 1934)
Four Frightened People (Cecil B. De Mille, 1934)
Imitation of Life (John M. Stahl, 1934)
No Greater Glory (Frank Borzage, 1934)
Hands Across the Table (Mitchel Leisen, 1935)
After the Thin Man (W.S. Van Dyke, 1936)
Priest of Darkness (Sadao Yamanaka, 1936)
Stand-In (Tay Garnett, 1937)
At the Circus (Edward Buzzell, 1939)
Son of Frankentein (Rowland V. Lee, 1939)
Seven Sinners (Tay Garnett, 1940)
Manpower (Raoul Walsh, 1941)
The Shepherd of the Hills (Henry Hathaway, 1941)
Destination Tokyo (Delmer Daves, 1943)
The Ghost Ship (Mark Robson, 1943)
A Good Lad (Boris Barnet, 1943)
Johnny Come Lately (William K. Howard, 1943)
I’ll Be Seeing You (William Dieterle, 1944)
Reign of Terror (Anthony Mann, 1949)
Tomahawk (George Sherman, 1951)
Welcome, Mr. Marshall! (Luis García Berlanaga, 1953)
Floating Clouds (Mikio Naruse, 1955)
Flowing (Mikio Naruse, 1956)
Star in the Dust (Charles F. Haas, 1956)
Gunman’s Walk (Phil Karlson, 1958)
Dead Eyes of London (Alfred Vohrer, 1959)
The Demon (Brunello Rondi, 1963)
The Ghost (Riccardo Freda, 1963)
The Indian Scarf (Alfred Vohrer, 1963)
The Magnificient Adventurer (Riccardo Freda, 1963)
Zatoichi’s Vengeance (Tokuzô Tanaka, 1966)
Cruces sobre el Yermo (Alberto Mariscal, 1967)
Massacre no Supermercado (J.B. Tanko, 1968)
Three Sad Tigers (Raul Ruiz, 1968)
Demons (Toshio Matsumoto, 1971)
What’s the Matter with Helen? (Curtis Harrington, 1971)
Payday (Daryl Duke, 1973)
Killer Cop (Luciano Ercoli, 1975)
Light of Africa (Tatsumi Kumashiro, 1975)
The Suspended Vocation (Raul Ruiz, 1978)
Mueda, Memory and Massacre (Ruy Guerra, 1981)
Mur Murs (Agnes Varda, 1981)
Search (Amir Naderi, 1981)
The Horse Thief (Tian Zhuangzhuang, 1986)
Bu Su (Jun Ichikawa, 1987)
Daughters of the Dust (Julie Dash, 1991)
Nach Jerusalem (Ruth Beckermann, 1991)
Lumumba: Death of a Prophet (Raoul Peck, 1992)
Love – Zero = Infinity (Hisayasu Satô, 1994)
Haircut (Joaquim Sapinho, 1995)
Goshogaoka (Sharon Lockhart, 1998)
The Joy of Life (Jenni Olson, 2005)
The Last of Crazy People (Laurent Achard, 2006)
Men at Work (Mani Haghighi, 2006)
Montparnasse (Mikhaël Hers, 2009)
Last Screening (Laurent Achard, 2011)
It All Starts at the End (Luis Ospina, 2015)