|The Third Man
|Carl Th. Dreyer
|Cléo from 5 to 7
|To Be or Not to Be
|Erich von Stroheim
|Francis Ford Coppola
There is a certain humour in Lang's work, a humour of rigour and fright, which is deployed, for example, in the parallels he draws between police procedures and the methods of the criminal underworld. And there is this extraordinary precision. I discovered the photographer August Sander before M, and both struck me in the same place. The idea that cinema, like Sander's portraits, is able to paint a landscape: that of an entire society, caught up in the turmoil of its time.
The art of a gesture whose perfection lies in its absolute discretion. At the moment he works, the pickpocket must not exist for anyone. Bresson makes him a majestic figure of solitude.
It is not just the memory of an extraordinary, epic, decisive battle. It is also the story of an era - that of the samurai - which is approaching its end and which, in so doing, reveals its essence: honour, not as a means, but as an end in itself.
The Third Man
In the very select pantheon of sublime villains, we can distinguish, among others, the Master of Ballentrae, Colonel Kurtz, Dr Mabuse, Iago... and Harry Lime.
A dazzling, ghostly, indelible vision. Does the supernatural come from the vampire - this woman we never see - or from the gaze of this man obsessed by the strange, by death, by the invisible?
Cléo from 5 to 7
Two women drive slowly in a convertible through the streets of Paris. "How I wish the street names in this city were named after living people. And we would change the name of the street as soon as they died, what do you think?” Paris seen through the eyes of a woman who wants to retain the passage of time. No man had filmed this city like this before. With a young Jean-Luc Godard who furtively reveals his eyes without sunglasses.
To Be or Not to Be
How we need the subtlety and nonconformism of a Lubitsch these days.
Now in the shadow of Ivan's Childhood (1962) and Come and See (1985), Larissa Shepitko's contribution to the war film genre does not seek the spectacular, but something more absolute. Probing the intimacy of two men, one facing his own pain, the other facing himself. The collaborationist character played by Anatoli Solonitsyn is unforgettable.
Cinema as an art endowed with irony, the spectator as a voyeur, the gaze as a perverse impulse distorted by class prejudices.
If one were to try to describe each film as a weapon, figuratively speaking, then the Godfather's would be, for me, poison. The poison that infuses the veins and hearts of men (and some women). The one that cannot be seen, except by the slow and methodical destruction it inflicts on the bodies it invades. This poison that some refer to as power, money, ambition, or more generally capitalism, and which Coppola, rather than adding a name to this collection, scrupulously observes as it spreads death in the Corleone clan. Perhaps the real monster of the film is not the 'Don', nor his son, but this elusive, scary and so very human thing.
Who can claim in good faith to name the ten greatest films in the history of cinema without feeling like committing an unforgivable heresy? It's interesting though: I'm a child of VHS and DVD, a child of television, comics and noir novels, and despite this, cinema remains for me that most sacred of places, at once intimidating, attractive and mysterious. Long life to it.