Carlos Alberto Mattos
|Twenty Years Later
|Man with a Movie Camera
|Luis Fernando Carvalho
|Sergei M. Eisenstein
|Memories of Underdevelopment
|Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
|2001: A Space Odyssey
Otto e mezzo synthesises modern cinema in terms of narrative invention and reflexiveness on cinematographic art. The filmmaker's crisis allows for a glimpse of the doubts, weaknesses and ghosts involved in the creation process, calling into question the idea of an omniscient and secure author in his métier. Fellini also develops a penetrating study of the artist's psychology, projecting it on to his alter ego, lived by Marcello Mastroianni. In addition, the film condenses several ingredients typical of the Fellinian universe, such as mass communication, the circus, the game of affections and the artificial world provided by art.
Time passes, and Citizen Kane's wealth of ideas and influences seems to be inexhaustible. The shock caused by Orson Welles in classic cinema made the film eternal. Apart from the controversies regarding authorship, its impact remains immense. Whether due to the fragmentation of points of view, or the oblique relationship with the models taken from reality, or even the technical and artistic prodigies of production, this is a work immune to ageing.
Twenty Years Later
This Latin American documentary classic is a unique experience in the relationship between Cinema and History. Almost twenty years after having his fictional and pedagogical project interrupted by Brazil's 1964 military coup, Coutinho went back to the same footage and the same non-professional actors as the basis for a documentary about the break-up of a family and political memory during the period of the dictatorship. A unique film in its confrontation between two historical times and two models of cinema. It was about picking up the threads of a memory that had been dispersed, both in the people and in the director's mind. This results in an implicit reflection on the influence of circumstances on the truth that can be captured by a documentary.
Man with a Movie Camera
If Bronenosets Potemkin can be considered the "first film-theory" of fiction cinema, Chelovek s kino-apparatom must be taken as its equivalent for nonfiction. Vertov's accumulation of experiences with newsreels led him to build this kaleidoscope that inaugurates metalinguistic and self-reflective cinema. Cinematographic truth lost its character of transparent illusion to become itself, as a technical and mechanical construction without the mediation of an intellect exposed in the intertitles. The dynamism of the capture and montage also reflected the enthusiasm for an era that discovered speed and praised movement, presuppositions of urban modernity.
Perhaps the most beautiful reflection in cinema on ageing. Bergman pays tribute to Victor Sjöstrom, one of his great inspirations, projecting on to him his concerns about physical degeneration, the inconsistency of career achievements, the ghosts left behind in life and the proximity of death. The film treats time with remarkable flexibility when it brings together the old Isak Borg with figures from his past, in an environment that is at once lyrical and morbid. The prologue with Isak's dream is one of the most striking sequences not only in the director's work, but in all of modern cinema.
An absolute masterpiece of contemporary Brazilian cinema, this version of the book of the same time by Raduan Nassar is much more than a simple literary adaptation. It is a “reading” of the book “with” the image, not “by” it. The poetic style of the direction takes to the heights of the sublime a story of incestuous obsession, generational upheaval and crisis of conscience. A complex tale which is not limited to the factual description, but which launches itself into the sensorial involvement of the audience through light, music and the intensity of the interpretations. Time, sculpted with such sensitivity in this film, is part of the material of the walls, clothes, furniture and objects that appear in it, naked and aged as bones. An extraordinary film that deserves the world's attention.
A film that amounts to an entire film theory. In it, Eisenstein consolidated his view of intellectual montage and sowed a lasting influence. The Potemkin sailors' revolt became a paradigm of revolutionary cinema – and not only for the content, but mainly for the powerful way in which he organised the values of his narrative, creating shocks and attractions that communicated by themselves. The Odessa staircase sequence is one of the most imitated in cinema. Likewise, the type of propulsive montage drew attention to the metrical and rhythmic use of the succession of images in order to create a subliminal sense of rebellion.
Memories of Underdevelopment
While his bourgeois family leaves Cuba for Miami in 1961, amid tensions with the United States, a writer decides to stay in Havana and observe the changes taking shape in the city and the country. Alea made a classic about the condition of Latin America between the fears of imperialism and the desire for revolutionary autonomy. More specifically, the film examines the interaction between the individual and society through a dense panel of memories and intimate confrontations of its protagonist. In formal terms, Memorias del Subdesarrollo is perhaps the best absorption of the modernity of 1960s cinema by Latin American filmography.
A seminal film for the dialogue between fiction and documentary, so much in vogue nowadays. Starting from a real fact – a case of affectionate imposture, so to speak – Kiarostami blended fictional renactment with nonfiction investigation, in an intricate game that always leaves us on the border between the two registers. The Iranian master masterfully handles this puzzle, testing our perception of the nature of what we see and hear. Close-up imposes itself as one of the most instigating proposals on the illusionist character of cinema, at the same time that it documents a true event and interferes with its unfolding.
2001: A Space Odyssey
At the same time a science-fiction spectacle, an anthropological speculation and a philosophical meditation, Kubrick's film created an unavoidable monolith in its genre. Its aesthetic set a standard for space travel films, and the breadth of its approach has made it unsurpassed to this day. His riddles have fuelled all sorts of conjecture, which makes it fascinating with every re-viewing. The sharp cut from the bone to the spacecraft and the "death" of the Hal 9000 computer cannot be omitted from any anthology of the greatest moments of cinematic art.
It is a great honour to participate for the first time in this poll, which traditionally establishes a canon of appreciation in the world of cinematographic art. The respect and prestige that the Sight and Sound lists enjoy are unparalleled in the industry. For my part, I have tried to combine some iconic films with some choices linked to my sphere of personal admiration within Brazilian and Latin American cinema. It would be much more comfortable to point to 100 films, or at least 50 films, instead of just 10. Every choice is a renunciation and a partiality. Within those limits, I tried to be as balanced and honest as possible. I eagerly await the final result of the poll.