Saint Kitts and Nevis/UK
|Vittorio De Sica
|The Battle of Algiers
|Francis Ford Coppola
|West Indies: The Fugitive Slaves of Liberty
|La Rue Cases-Nègres
|Djibril Diop Mambéty
A monumental cinematic experience. Unsurpassed in the early years of cinema, this film remains an illustration of the essential art of cinema.
This is the outstanding example of Italian neorealism. It substantially helped to define Italian cinema after 1945, which also influenced other national cinemas, particularly those outside of Europe where its methodology and aesthetic offered an important model for a cinema that could, in a sense, reveal the ‘hidden face’ of their world.
As the first in the 'Apu trilogy', which charts the Indian experience of and into modernity, this film is an important intervention at an important moment of defining an ‘Indian’ national cinema.
This is the first feature of Ousmane Sembène, and an adaptation of one of his short stories. The film works through its neorealist aesthetic and African narrative storytelling to firmly establish a new and credible African presence in cinema, some seventy years after the birth of the ‘moving image’.
The Battle of Algiers
In this film a new kind of hero inverts the dominant notion of ‘Hollywood entertainment’, as depicted in the 'normal' execution of violence against those marked as ‘native’, 'other', etc. Its thematic preoccupation resonates across the principal and persisting concern of its time, decolonization.
This film marks a high point in Hollywood excellence – an accumulation of its industrial efficiency, film technique and the absorption of global influences over at least six decades.
This is an exquisite film by a great film artist. In its enduring cinematic appeal, it remains engaging and intriguing in its command of the medium and its possibilities.
West Indies: The Fugitive Slaves of Liberty
This film evokes a global experience and an epic history. As an achievement realised outside of the institutional framework of an 'industry', it is remarkable for its innovative narrative exposition.
La Rue Cases-Nègres
The film is the first feature of Euzhan Palcy and an adaptation the novel La Rue Cases-Nègres by Joseph Zobel published in 1950. Set in 1930s Martinique in the Eastern Caribbean, the film in its coming of age narrative captures a seminal moment in the history of a post-plantation community and the region as a whole.
Djibril Diop Mambéty of Senegal made only two feature films across his career (the other being Touki Bouki). He has however distinguished himself as one of the great auteurs of cinema and a seminal voice in African cinema. This film, an adaptation of Friedrich Dürrenmatt's famous Swiss play The Visit, excels in visual imagery and (to borrow a term) what might be called its narrative performativity, around its themes of colonial power and imperial insanity.
Further remarks...for another time and place, perhaps. However, all of these films, among others not listed, continue to engage my artistic appreciation of the essential power of cinema.