Sylvie Pierre

Revue TRAFIC, Editions POL

France

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Amarcord

1972

Federico Fellini

Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach

1968

Jean-Marie Straub/Danièle Huillet

Great Dictator, The

1940

Charles Chaplin

Dr. Strangelove

1963

Stanley Kubrick

Imitation of Life

1959

Douglas Sirk

Macunaima/Jungle Freaks

1969

Joaquim Pedro de Andrade

Maison des bois, La

Maurice Pialat

Marseillaise, La

1937

Jean Renoir

mépris, Le

1963

Jean-Luc Godard

Searchers, The

1956

John Ford

Comments

Amarcord is not as well known as La dolce vita or 81/2 as an aesthetic pinnacle of achievement, but, I LOVE this film – it’s so sensitive, so delicate as a poem, full of such humour and humanity. The Great Dictator sees Chaplin as prophet and is the best politics-and-laughter as terrorism achievement in cinema against Nazism. Dr Strangelove is so horribly funny, and has a real global dimension. Imitation of Life is the most beautiful melodrama ever filmed; emotionally it is so strong, and is a masterpiece of mise en scène from the first sequence on the beach to the funeral of the black mother. Only imbecils think Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bachis boring; it is the best biopic about a musician ever filmed in Europe, even if it is really something else: a bio-cinematic force, a real sound of music, an homage to the artist as a worker and to his supporting wife. Jungle Freaks is sad and hilarious tropics, incredibly funny and serious, and displays the sensational courage of filming in the middle of a military dictatorship. La maison des bois is a six-hour TV film about the protection of children during First World War by a nice family in the country: war is horrible, but being a lonely child during one may be worse, so that this film is like an oasis of tenderness in the Pialat’s generally very black universe. La Marseillaise is the most generous and intelligent film about the French Revolution. Filmed during ‘Front Populaire’ in France with high degree of historical oportunism and courage, it presents Louis XVI, as interpreted by Renoir’s brother, as a very nice man. Le Mépris has always been my favorite Godard. It is the pinnacle of something, and is so beautifully inspired by classical Greco-German-Roman culture. It is even dedicated to Fritz Lang as a master. Do I to justify The Searchers? I might have chosen ten or more other John Ford films, but this one is special: it reaches so deep into the heart of America, and is a peak in John Wayne’s career.

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