|Carl Th. Dreyer
|Death in Venice
|Imitation of Life
|Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom
|Pier Paolo Pasolini
|Sansho the Bailiff
Gretrud shows us that cinema can, even if only for two hours, allow us to believe in God. In Dreyer's film our incompleteness is proof of the divine, our dissatisfaction – and the longing contained therein – a state of grace.
Death in Venice
A film that lets us rehearse our own deaths. When we come to the end of our toil, life and beauty will remain untouched – as cruel and and fickle and mysterious as ever. Almost unbearable.
Imitation of Life
I somehow think of Imitation of Life as a Buddhist experience – such is the exquisite pain as Sirk, wielding irony as his scalpel, cuts through veil after veil of worldly illusion. More than for Annie's death or Sarah Jane's regret, the bitter tears unleashed by this women's weepie are for ourselves – and our terrible knowledge of the spectacle of life.
Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom
Pasolini's film tells us that in the face of a rising consumer culture and the unmitigated pleasure principle, resistance is futile. And yet the very existence of this unspeakable horror show as a full-throated howl against a world where bodies have become things is – for whatever it's worth – perhaps the greatest cinematic act of resistance we have seen.
Margaret begins as a coming-of-age movie and ends as an epic, symphonic study of the American culture of narcissism, a kind of Hieronymus Bosch painting of shipwrecked modern existence, rendered with great empathy and a deep sense of the tragedy of individual lives when cut loose and left alone to toil for meaning.