producer, critic, professor, festival chairman
|À bout de souffle
|Francis Ford Coppola
|All about My Mother
With ingenious overall design (including the technical invention of track-in-zoom-out, computer graphics, special effects, and shot-reverse shot editing), Hitchcock explores the illusionary essence of cinema, its parallel to dream, and examines human frailty with psychological depth (desire, obsession, control, fetish, necrophilia). The surprising thing is: he can accomplish all the above with utmost entertaining values.
If narrative can be compared to architecture, Citizen Kane for me is a grand palace flaunting exquisite design and king-like royal glory. Every creative detail is carefully tended as a great cinematic step forward.
À bout de souffle
It reminds us how young cinema can be, how rebellious cinema can be.
Ozu observes the changing value of a modernized society through the eyes of the elder generation. Like the old Confucian saying: "Mournful but not distressing", the film is imbued with a sorrow feeling yet one can always indulged in the absolute aesthetic beauty which comes so harmonious with the philosophy of Taoism.
A mellowered Yang used a Taipei-based family to tell a story with different layers of narratives. On the surface, it's a human melodrama - death and birth, love and hate, desire and moral, traditional values clashes with the modern mores; on the other hand, there is the act of "look", to examine visually how the reality is re-presented in various forms of photos, monitors, cameras, and medical equipment. Ultimately there is the narrative strategy of urban story, with the city as its protagonist. The city is "alive", with floating images of buildings and traffic, the flickering lights, and its various sounds. All in all, it is a modern epiphany of the 21st century.
It reminds us of how moving picture moves. The whole film celebrates thrilling energy with compassion and empathy for the underprivileged.
It is thrilling to witness an elegy of mafia rises from the bottom of gangster genre, reached its apotheosis as an American eulogy. In its entertaining and artistic way, it bursts the bubble of American democracy and the myth of melting pot.
The maestro composed a poem of life. It is hard to imagine that the experience of growing up in a small Italian town can turn out to be a poetry of love and death, individual and society, history and politics, and the cycle of seasons.
All about My Mother
Almodóvar is deified as the ultimate symbol of Latino culture. His daring challenge to the gender and sexual orientation, his compelling passion for the theatre, cinema, and non-mainstream world, his embrace for women and the underdogs all addresses to a post-aide era. Under his lens, the aberrant becomes normal, the despicable has dignity, the incongruity becomes harmony. He taught us to tolerate, to share a world sans bias and prejudice, and to be excited with all human frolic and vagary.
John Ford disguised the real issue in this epic western as a hero story. Over the years people realised it is not about a simple theme of the white versus the Indian culture. It's more about the culture clashes, an eternal conflict for centuries. Its prodigious influences and variations are clearly presented in films like Star Wars series, Avatar, and many others.
After I finished my voting, I realised that I chose films directed by filmmakers who have/had at least two or more works considered as masterpieces (such as the Man who Shot Liberty Valence vs the Searchers, A Brighter Summer Day vs Yi Yi, Godfather 1 vs Godfather 2, Vertigo vs North by Northwest vs Psycho, Seven Samurai vs Ikiru, the list goes on and on). It gave me a lot of agony and consideration for the criteria and principle of selections. So actually I voted for the best directors as well.
I started to participate in the voting since 1992. For some reason I skipped the 2012 poll - maybe because I changed my email address and did not receive the invitation. But for all these decades, I felt some of the priority on my list changed. Maybe reflecting my taste, my worldview, or simply my attitude towards an ever-changing world after Covid and the Trump/Biden disaster.