Jarrod's Favorite Films

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  1. Jarrod's Favorite Films:
  2. Ordet (Carl Th. Dreyer, 1955, Denmark)
  3. Nashville (Robert Altman, 1975, USA)
  4. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011, USA)
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  13. The Greatest Question (D.W. Griffith, 1919, USA)
  14. Napoleon (Abel Gance, 1927, France)
  15. Hallelujah! (King Vidor, 1929, USA)
  16. The Big Trail (Raoul Walsh, 1930, USA)
  17. I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (Mervyn LeRoy, 1932, USA)
  18. Babes in Toyland (Gus Meins/Charley Rogers, 1934, USA)
  19. Only Angels Have Wings (Howard Hawks, 1939, USA)
  20. The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1939, Japan)
  21. I Love You Again (W.S. Van Dyke, 1940, USA)
  22. The Mortal Storm (Frank Borzage, 1940, USA)
  23. Charlie Chan in Rio (Harry Lachman, 1941, USA)
  24. The Devil and Daniel Webster (William Dieterle, 1941, USA)
  25. The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942, USA)
  26. Western Approaches (Pat Jackson, 1944, UK)
  27. Farrebique, or The Four Seasons (Georges Rouquier, 1946, France)
  28. Let There Be Light (John Huston, 1946, USA)
  29. Le tempestaire (Jean Epstein, 1947, France)
  30. 3 Godfathers (John Ford, 1948, USA)
  31. Good Sam (Leo McCarey, 1948, USA)
  32. I Remember Mama (George Stevens, 1948, USA)
  33. All My Babies: A Midwife's Own Story (George C. Stoney, 1953, USA)
  34. The Great Adventure (Arne Sucksdorff, 1953, Sweden)
  35. Father Brown (Robert Hamer, 1954, UK)
  36. The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955, USA)
  37. Stranger on Horseback (Jacques Tourneur, 1955, USA)
  38. The Lieutenant Wore Skirts (Frank Tashlin, 1956, USA)
  39. On the Bowery (Lionel Rogosin, 1956, USA)
  40. Angel (Joseph Cornell, 1957, USA)
  41. Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (John Huston, 1957, USA)
  42. Ride Lonesome (Budd Boetticher, 1959, USA)
  43. The World's Greatest Sinner (Timothy Carey, 1962, USA)
  44. Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors (Sergei Parajanov, 1964, USSR)
  45. The Shooting (Monte Hellman, 1966, USA)
  46. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968, UK/USA)
  47. The Hart of London (Jack Chambers, 1970, Canada)
  48. Necrology (Standish Lawder, 1970, USA)
  49. River Yar (Chris Welsby and William Raban, 1971-72, UK)
  50. Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975, USA)
  51. Hitler: A Film From Germany (Hans-J├╝rgen Syberberg, 1977, W. Germany)
  52. Fanny & Alexander (Ingmar Bergman, 1982, Sweden)
  53. God's Country (Louis Malle, 1986, USA)
  54. The Loom (Stan Brakhage, 1986, USA)
  55. Near Death (Frederick Wiseman, 1989, USA)
  56. Time Indefinite (Ross McElwee, 1993, USA)
  57. Spiritual Voices (Aleksandr Sokurov, 1995, Russia)
  58. The New World (Terrence Malick, 2005, USA)
  59. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007, USA)
Author Comments: 

The trinity: Dreyer, Altman, Wiseman. ... and Griffith...and Borzage

Wow, there aren't many recent films ! Interesting...
In your list I've only seen 2001, The New World and There Will Be Blood, but I put them in my favorite films too... :)

Thanks for commenting! Those three are certainly a triple-threat of Glory in my (and many people's) book! And as for that last one: man o man, PT really did it, didn't he?

Damn, some great choices. Ordet's definitely an acquired taste, challenging stuff. This list makes me want to revisit it. Nashville is one of my all time favorites.

I was surprised how American-oriented it is, given your top two selections; but that's not a flaw by any means. I think Night of the Hunter, Fanny & Alexander, There Will Be Blood, Let There be Light and The Hart of London are all really great films. Been wanting to see some more Brakhage for awhile, you've given me a recommendation. Good stuff.

Thanks for your comments. It's always wonderful how talking to fellow film lovers and hearing their favorites inspires a renewed interest and perspective on them. I need to revisit your top 2 films again in particular, it's been a while...and as far as Tarkovsky goes, let's hope those rumors of Criterion re-releasing Andrei Rublev actually happen soon!

As for Ordet and Nashville, I see them as 2 sides of the same great heavenly coin. Above all else, I admire and love them for their fundamental benevolence and see this as indicative of something much greater. Kind masterpieces are hard to find. Both are deeply spiritual to me; Ordet naturally being the more obvious in this regard, but Nashville, for its joyous compassion toward humanity and exhilaration in depicting life, is certainly its earthy Chestertonian equal. I would say Altman made something like 8 perfect films in the 70s and everything else is just varying degrees of fascinating icing on the cake. Quintet? Yow! And (as I'm always quick to mention) I even like OC and Stiggs! As far as benevolence, I view Frederick Wiseman in much the same way. It's tempting with him to just list "all films" because his work is so interconnected. By virtue of "Near Death"'s profundity and length, it wins by a nose. These films offer so much all you can really do is sit back and be grateful.

I finally got to rewatch Ordet (been wanting to ever since reading this list) and it was just unbelievable. One of the best movies ever made, easily.

Deeply moving, as spiritual as anything Tarkovsky did. It's probably fundamentally a movie about change, but it really transcends any one theme. I don't think it's possible to gain an ultimate understanding of the film because part of what Dreyer is saying is that there's no such thing.

But it's not just the content that makes it so incredible, the way Dreyer physically puts scenes together is flawless and unlike any director I've ever seen. From the performances to the camera movements to the concept of space, it's all there to produce an effect. Everything we see is so calculated, not in a soulless way like Kubrick, but in a way that challenges the viewer to absorb and contemplate all that is being presented.

A true masterpiece.

Sorry I didn't respond to this! :D Although it is pretty daunting to attempt to say even a few words about one of my absolute favorite films. I certainly agree about Dreyer's mastery of the medium and it would be easy for me to ramble on and on about the many things in Ordet I love and think about often. What I most admire about the film though is its portrayal of religious belief. Dreyer's view of people is so full and decent and the way he depicts the sincerity of belief in this film is extraordinarily moving. It's the difference between merely showing the idea of common religious virtues (piety, faith, forgiveness) and understanding what those things actually mean to the people who sincerely try to be guided by God in their pursuit of them. The woman's simple prayer at the Bible gathering and Peter the Tailor's awareness of needing to ask Morten for forgiveness in Ordet are two incredibly beautiful expressions of this. Even in Day of Wrath, when the tone is more critical, the decency of Absalon, despite his many failings, is given emphasis. I saw a quote recently by Jonathan Rosenbaum (describing a completely different film) where he responded to its "complex perception of goodness." That sense of goodness is what I respect most about Dreyer and Ordet in particular.

I've been trying to see most of the short films he made for the Danish government recently. Have you seen any of those? They're hard to come by unless you have the BFI DVDs but Good Mothers, The Struggle Against Cancer, Thorvaldsen and They Caught the Ferry are wonderful.

Hiiii.

I finally caught the shorts you mentioned!! It took me awhile to track down (let alone find the time to watch them) but I was impressed. Of course they're not the towering achievements that his features are (then again what is) but they were still well-worth the watch. I'd probably say I enjoyed They Caught the Ferry the most, but each had their moments. Thorvaldsen was probably the most disappointing of the lot, but Dreyer is Dreyer.

Also, this list makes me reallllly wanna watch Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors.

What's the deal with Napoleon!? It feels like there are a good few listologists who swear by it, but I just don't get it. I liked it, but I just don't get its masterpiece status. Given when it was made, sure, light years ahead of its time; but I just don't get that timeless feel from it.

You're right: Dreyer is Dreyer, no matter what! The sense of speed in They Caught the Ferry is really fun and effectively foreboding. There are a few of the shorts I've still been unable to find, chiefly The Village Church that is on the BFI Gertrude disc. I have a copy of the film Two People, which Dreyer apparently disowned, but haven't been able to locate subtitles! Arggh!

Napoleon is all about the thrill of spectacle and the possibilities presented by the tools of film. I can't think of any movie as legitimately and profoundly Spectacular as it is. I imagine seeing it on the big screen would be absolutely awe-inspiring. It is gargantuan, gimmicky and manipulative in the very best possible way. Definitely not an intellectual experience, but one that is moving by the sheer delight you experience through Gance's dedication to exploring every last thing he can find to make the theater-goer sit up in their seat, shocked to life. His story-telling could obviously be seen as silly, but I think its simplicity is balanced by the virtuosity of his style. I've sometimes thought of it as the greatest children's movie ever made. Gance's creative energy seems inexhaustible and it lifts you up joyously. I don't know if you've ever read Pauline Kael's review of the film or not, but she really sums it up beautifully. One of the lines I like best is where she says that Gance had a "fever in his work which came out of love of the medium itself, and this love was the real subject of his movies."

Let me know what you think of Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors! In some ways I think it has a similar spirit to Napoleon. I just noticed The Color of Pomegranates on your list. What a film!!!

Also, how would you describe Pialat? I need to see his stuff!

Well you've certainly convinced me to return to it; I will have to go back to Napoleon with fresh eyes, it sounds like a Jack Kirby comic (energy opposed to intellect, style over narrative). I can definitely see the big screen producing the effect you describe, unfortunately I don't have access to any theaters that even resemble my taste.

Pialat is an unsung master, he's cultivated formal perfection. Although it's not my favorite of his, Police might be most demonstrative of this (granted there is much of his catalog I haven't seen). The subtleties of the camera readjustments, the raw movements, the congested compositions -- he really makes full use of the medium in ways not many directors do. Every frame, every cut, every shot -- it's all communicative, in this respect I think very few directors have achieved what he has... I'd definitely say Dreyer's up there, alongside the likes of Tsai, Angelopoulos, Bresson, etc. I struggle to say anything substantial about him as a director because, like all greats, he's hard to reduce to words. His handling of his narratives is always profoundly intelligent; and there tends to be a striking authentic feel to his work, almost to the point of discomfort, it's all very real. I've only seen Police, Under the Sun of Satan, L'Enfance Nue and The Mouth Agape, the last of which is particularly overlooked; but I can't recommend him enough and would love to read your thoughts.