Miquel Escudero Diéguez
Film curator and journalist
|Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
|Stromboli, terra di Dio
|Carl Th. Dreyer
|F for Fake
|Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
One of the most beautiful films ever made. Murnau’s mise en scène is extremely brilliant. Beyond any doubt, it is one of the greatest films of all time.
Murnau truly understood the essence of the cinematographic image: his choices were always discreet, silent and subtle. Nevertheless, Murnau’s cinema is always virtuous.
I would even say he is one of the most influential filmmakers of all time.
City Lights is a film based in a frontier. When the whole world pretended silent films were over, the world’s most important filmmaker decided to resist. Chaplin understood that the most essential and intimate secrets of the human being can only exist in silence.
City Lights is one the most beautiful films about seeing (and being seen). Charles Chaplin stood up for cinema, he always did.
Furthermore, City Lights ending is one of the most endearing scenes of all time.
When cinema was still young, Fritz Lang made his first talking film. M is a dark symphony about Berlin in the dawn of the 20s. The time and the space of a whole era is reflected on the face of a man. A man suffering from “a social evil”, as Fritz Lang would say.
Hans Becker, the character played by Peter Lorre, meets the fury of the crowd. They are about to lynch them, but Lang is always on the side of those who try to understand human behavior. In fact, M is one of the most brilliant films ever made about not showing something. He deliberately chose not filming the children while getting murdered. The absence of that image would create a unique feeling in each one of the spectators. They would think they just assisted to the most horrible crime. Truth is that they did not. They did not see a thing.
Stromboli, terra di Dio
Stromboli. Terra di Dio is the result of a happy meeting between two of the most luminous spirits in the cinema history. Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini.
Bergman’s intelligence and instinct were decisive in Stromboli’s shooting. Rossellini knew that truth is about how you look at somebody.
Documentary shooting techniques were used in order to find a revelation. They didn’t really know which one yet; they only knew that they were looking for something. All the most beautiful filmmakers do.
I would say Stromboli is the most beautiful film of the Italian Neorealism. And the main character of the film is played by one of the biggest stars in Hollywood history.
Ordet is about a double miracle. Dreyer knew that the most intimate secrets on human condition are always subtle, almost imperceptible. As a filmmaker, he was always exemplary: a mise en scène extremely precise, always fluctuating between transcendence and simplicity. He was maybe one of the most virtuous filmmakers of all time.
Dreyer’s asceticism was the ideal place for letting miracles get into the film.
We must never forget that cinema is also a place for resisting death.
Vertigo is the most beautiful example of a film that never stops. Every time I see it, I feel exhausted and fascinated in the same time. There are always new shadows blossoming in the heart of this film.
Vertigo is a film in which I could spend my whole life.
F for Fake
Orson Welles breaks down the world of art and the notion of authorship in one of the greatest films of all time.
It begins as an answer to Pauline Kael, who affirmed in Raising Kane that Welles didn’t really write Citizen Kane.
Welles’ statement is one of the most sublime essays about art: “Our songs will all be silenced. But what of it? Go on singing. Maybe a man’s name doesn’t matter that much”.
Andrei Tarkovsky’s most personal and intimate film. Tarkovsky truly understood the secrets of cinematographic images. Cinema saved his life and he gave the best of himself to honor cinema in each one of his films.
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
Jeanne Dielman is one of the best essays on time in all cinema history. Chantal Akerman truly understood that time in cinema lied in the heart of the vampires.
I would say that Akerman was one of the most brilliant and coherent filmmakers of all time.
One of the most unique films of all time. Hossain Sabzian pretending to be Mohsen Makhmalbaf is one the most fascinating things that ever happened to Abbas Kiarostami’s cinema. I would say that Kiarostami was one of the most lucid and humble filmmakers of all time.
Choosing is also about forgetting. When we talk about “the greatest films of the history of cinema”, we should insist on films which were truly extraordinary at the time when they were released. I’m aware there are other films which could be considered better or more interesting, but I wanted to point out ten films which I find essential and unique for the history of cinema. For me, this list has also meant not mentioning some of the filmmakers who I admire the most: Ingmar Bergman, Kenji Mizoguchi, Federico Fellini or Robert Bresson.