Clodualdo ("Doy") del Mundo
|Der blaue Engel
|Josef von Sternberg
|Vittorio De Sica
|The 400 Blows
|MUERTE DE UN BUROCRATA
|Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
|2001: A Space Odyssey
|Manila by Night
Der blaue Engel
This early sound film demonstrates creative use of sound. The performance of Emil Jannings as the Professor is memorable and affecting, as is Marlene Dietrich's song number.
This masterpiece by Orson Welles is a "textbook" in filmmaking. His mise en scène, the interplay of foreground, middleground and background, is not only aesthetically pleasing but meaningful as well. Gregg Toland's cinematography, of course, plays a major part in this film. The ensemble of actors also makes this film effective.
This is a key film of Italian neorealism. The camera literally shows what we would see if we were there with the actors. The relationship between the father Antonio and his son Bruno becomes very emotional, but credible. In the end, the father and son hold hands, a very touching moment indeed. The film is simple, but not simplistic.
One of the early films by Ingmar Bergman that had a lasting influence on me as a screenwriter. The retired professor's car ride to the place where he will receive an honorary degree becomes a journey to his life and soul. Victor Sjöstrom gives life to the retired professor.
The 400 Blows
The French New Wave was a major influence on our generation of Filipino filmmakers. Definitely, Truffaut's film played a part in this. The liveliness of The 400 Blows, the openness to new approaches to filmmaking, and the refusal to be tied down to mainstream filmmaking were very instructive for would-be filmmakers like us at the time.
There are several films by Kurosawa that encouraged me to get into filmmaking – Rashomon, Ikiru, Seven Samurai, etc. But Red Beard inspired me to be a filmmaker. The connection between the doctor (Mifune) and the young medical apprentice develops through a series of events that are filled with drama and some action. Kurosawa demonstrates the effective use of the film medium.
MUERTE DE UN BUROCRATA
I must add a Latin American film to my Top Ten list, simply because the world in these films is very close to our own. Death of a Bureaucrat is a satiric black comedy that pays homage to classic comedy and even references Hitchcock and Bergman. It's quite absurd; everything happens because of a union card that gets buried with the worker. Definitely, a fun but meaningful film.
2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick was ahead of his time. 2001: A Space Odyssey does not merely display special effects, but deals with science fiction to get through man's spirituality. The use of 'The Blue Danube' to accompany the images of spaceships floating in space is a turn of genius.
Taxi Driver is memorable for Robert De Niro's performance, Scorsese's visualisation, and Paul Schrader's screenplay. This is one of the films that influenced our generation of Filipino filmmakers in the 70s.
Manila by Night
I must add a film from our country. And there are several films that I could add to the list – particularly films by Lino Brocka and Mike de Leon. I think Bernal's Manila by Night makes the grade because of its subject – the dark side of Manila. This was done during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and the rule of Imelda Marcos as governor of Metro Manila. Quite predictably, Manila by Night was censored. It was finally approved with a change of title. The reference to Manila in the title was not just acceptable; it was changed to City After Dark. The film shows a young man's journey into the night; in the process, we see a motley of characters, the denizens of the dark side of Manila.
This is an interesting exercise – to come up with a list of Top Ten Greatest Films of All Time. But it is impossible, really. So, what I've done is to list the top ten films that had influenced my life as film enthusiast, teacher, and filmmaker. Still with difficulty, I end up with my list. I limit it to films up to 1980. There are more favourites in the later years; but, I will let time decide if these later films will stand the test of time.