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The French website LaCinetek maintains a large list of director's 50 favorite films:

"LaCinetek asked directors around the world for a list of their 50 favorite films. It is the addition of all these lists that make up our catalog."

>> from the home page, click on the menu link titled "Les Listes De" to open the general listing

https://www.lacinetek.com/la-liste-de/

Edited by pherank
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What a fascinating list! Somewhat like the annual top tens that Sight & Sound and Film Comment used to publish – though Rossellini, Ophuls, Vigo, and Keaton are no longer in the upper ten or fiften. And only four women directors: Jane Campion for Janet Frame's An Angel at My Table, Claire Denis (with Agnes Godard's camerawork) for Beau Travail, Barbara Loden for Wanda, and Agnes Varda for Cleo from Five to Seven.

It's a director's directors list and so most of the films are solidly constructed, with few false passages. And being made before the introduction of Steadicam photography meant that each tracking shot, which involved physically laying tracks and clearing the right of way (as in the beginning shot of Contempt), had to be carefully considered and dramatically justified.  Robert Bresson used only one in Les Femmes du Bois de Bologne, when when the main characters are introduced to each other in the park, and it's quite startling in effect.

Top thirty:

Sunrise – Murnau
Vertigo – Hitchcock
Tokyo Story – Ozu
Rules of the Game (still highly rated) – Jean Renoir
400 Blows – Truffaut
Night of the Hunter – Charles Laughton (James Agee screenplay)
2001 – Kubrick
Taxi Driver – Scorsese
Citizen Kane – Welles 
Ugetsu – Mizoguchi
Ordet – Dreyer
Barry Lyndon (out of circulation?) – Kubrick 
8 1/2 – Fellini (Ennio Flaiano screenplay)
The Mother and the Whore – Eustache
Pickpocket – Robert Bresson (I believe there was an American version with Richard Gere)
Close-up – Kiarostami
Au hasard Balthazar – Robert Bresson
A Woman under the Influence – Cassavetes
Playtime – Jacques Tati
Andre Roublev – Tarkovksi
Touch of Evil – Welles
Singing in the Rain ("Cantons sous la pluie") – Donen
L'argent – Robert Bresson
The Searchers – John Ford
Contempt – Jean Luc Godard
The Leopard – Visconti
La Dolce Vita – Fellini (Flaiano screenplay)
The Conversation – Coppola
M – Fritz Lang
Godfather part 2 – Coppola
 

shortcut to full unnumbered list (100?):

https://www.lacinetek.com/top-des-listes

 

Edited by Quiggin
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1 hour ago, Quiggin said:

What a fascinating list! Somewhat like the annual top tens that Sight & Sound and Film Comment used to publish – though Rossellini, Ophuls, Vigo, and Keaton are no longer in the upper ten or fiften. And only four women directors: Jane Campion for Janet Frame's An Angel at My Table, Claire Denis (with Agnes Godard's camerawork) for Beau Travail, Barbara Loden for Wanda, and Agnes Varda for Cleo from Five to Seven.

I love Cleo from Five to Seven.  ;)

Naturally artists have all sorts of reasons for including an item on their top film list. Some of the films are there for mainly reasons of technical achievement. Or a film may have been favorite entertainment since childhood. My list would be a real hodgepodge of the purely entertaining or inspiring, along with technical marvels sporting visually impressive cinematography (and that can be found both in black and white films, and color films). I can appreciate great sets and costumes as well, but there are also times when something quite simple and minimal is refreshing. The most classic films tend to have solid technical craft behind them in addition to strong writing/storytelling and characterizations. But it does depend on the individual project.

I don't see Sergei Parajanov on the lists (so far), or Mikhail Kalatozov. I don't see animation filmmakers like Jan Švankmajer or Hayao Miyazaki. Maya Deren's Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) and At Land (1944) would be on my list. No Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene)? No Peter Greenaway, such as The Draughtsman's Contract (1982)? Cocteau's Orpheus is another glaring omission.

 

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Les Enfants du Paradis may be more a critic's pick than a director's choice. It was often on best lists in journals like Film Quarterly when Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris were reviewing there. You can also understand why Truffaut liked it when you think of films like Jules and Jim

But cinematically Les Enfants du Paradis is fairly conventional and more of a filmed stage play when compared to say Jean Renoir's films like Rules of the Game and A Day in the Country (with Sylvia Bataille) with their long takes and surprising camera moves and clever ways of compressing the story. Or Antonioni's La Notte with the marvelous scene with Jean Moreau in the passenger seat involved in an animated conversation with the driver of the car (her only happy scene in the movie) that the camera follows alongside, a little behind, then a little forward of. You don't ever hear a word of the conversation, only the sound of the rain and the windshield wipers. It's the kind of thing you could do in a film but not in a novel or on the stage.

But it's amazing how strong the list is – Tarkovski's Andrei Rublev with the long scene of casting the church bell, Rohmer's quirky and melancholic Rayon Vert, the delightful Band Wagon, and yes Cleo from 5 to 7 with its bizarre cafe scene and the piano lesson with young Michel Legrand. It's the list that young filmmakers like George Lucas and Martin Scorsese and Paul Schrader used to have on their "must see" lists – perhaps missing Lady from Shanhai, a Jean Rouch film like Chronicle of a Summer, and something by Shirley Clark. It might also stand as a kind of cultural record of the 20th century.

Edited by Quiggin
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I'm am most embarrassed about not having heard of some of them and having never been able to get through a few of them, but I was so happy to see Rules of the Game, one of my favorite movies of all time, so high on the list.  

And I remember seeing Barry Lyndon one summer in a screening sponsored by a college film course and loving it.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Helene said:

I'm am most embarrassed about not having heard of some of them and having never been able to get through a few of them, but I was so happy to see Rules of the Game, one of my favorite movies of all time, so high on the list.  

And I remember seeing Barry Lyndon one summer in a screening sponsored by a college film course and loving it.

Some of the "great" films can be quite difficult to watch, but many are lighter and more enjoyable too. When I was younger, the pacing of Barry Lyndon bored me to tears, though I always appreciated the cinematography and costumes/sets. Lyndon was shot entirely(?) with natural lighting, which in itself was a great cinematographic feat. So a film can make a big impression on one, and still be grueling to watch. I've always appreciated David Lynch's films - but a fun bit of escapism? Absolutely not.

I recommend Cleo from 5 to 7 to Helene. And The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg). See if you like those. Oh, and Cocteau's Orpheus.

Since so many of the titles are in displayed in French, I was doing a page search on the director's last name to find things (or not). Today I keep getting a server error on the .com website, so they're probably overloaded. Only the .de website is accessible (though the navigation is in German). The website itself is not well designed - there should be direct URLs to pages that load quickly. But I find I keep having to reload/refresh pages to get the information to finally load. Here's the total list categorized by directors (on the German site):, but it's necessary to click the "Alle Filme" button to see the correct listing of films by director:
https://lacinetek.de/3-alle-filme

LaCinetek's Instagram page has some nice photos:

https://www.instagram.com/lacinetek.de/

Edited by pherank
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Quiggin said:

Les Enfants du Paradis may be more a critic's pick than a director's choice. It was often on best lists in journals like Film Quarterly when Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris were reviewing there. You can also understand why Truffaut liked it when you think of films like Jules and Jim

But cinematically Les Enfants du Paradis is fairly conventional and more of a filmed stage play when compared to say Jean Renoir's films like Rules of the Game and A Day in the Country (with Sylvia Bataille) with their long takes and surprising camera moves and clever ways of compressing the story. Or Antonioni's La Notte with the marvelous scene with Jean Moreau in the passenger seat involved in an animated conversation with the driver of the car (her only happy scene in the movie) that the camera follows alongside, a little behind, then a little forward of. You don't ever hear a word of the conversation, only the sound of the rain and the windshield wipers. It's the kind of thing you could do in a film but not in a novel or on the stage.

But it's amazing how strong the list is – Tarkovski's Andrei Rublev with the long scene of casting the church bell, Rohmer's quirky and melancholic Rayon Vert, the delightful Band Wagon, and yes Cleo from 5 to 7 with its bizarre cafe scene and the piano lesson with young Michel Legrand. It's the list that young filmmakers like George Lucas and Martin Scorsese and Paul Schrader used to have on their "must see" lists – perhaps missing Lady from Shanhai, a Jean Rouch film like Chronicle of a Summer, and something by Shirley Clark. It might also stand as a kind of cultural record of the 20th century.

I agree that many great films were represented, but it's necessary to go to the overall list of nominations to see something more comprehensive. Then I start seeing more of my personal favorites, like Tarkovsy's Ivan's Childhood. But no one nominated Cocteau's Orpheus which was considerably more unusual and mind-bending in approach than Beauty and the Beast. And no Terry Gilliam.  :(

Edited by pherank
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On 7/30/2020 at 2:48 PM, pherank said:

Wow, no Les Enfants du Paradis? I assume that's on some individual director lists somewhere...

I think directors tend to like pictures that are Directed. The most immediately arresting quality of Les Enfants du Paradis is the richness of its performances and dialogue, while Carne's direction is less to the fore, although his touch is apparent in such scenes as the murder of the count, which we see only through the horrified expression of Lacenaire's confederate. Even so, Truffaut once said he would give up all his films to have directed Les Enfants du Paradis.  

I guess no one ever asked Bergman for his list. And none of his movies are in that top thirty, which is nuts.

 

 

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