The Top Ten Films on My Watchlist

I have an ever expanding list of films I want to see. My current watchlist contains 385 films, plus there’s the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book, and I’ve only seen three hundred and something of those. So to list my entire watchlist here as I had contemplated doing would be a foolish thing; a mammoth task that would really have very little point, so I’ve decided to list just the top ten films on that list, counting down from #10 to the ever-elusive #1. Here goes.

10: La Roue (1923)

When I saw Abel Gance’s 1927 masterpiece Napoleon I was floored. Every second of it had been fantastic; it was one of the earliest true masterpieces in all of cinema. When I found out that there was a film that had come before it, in 1923, called La Roue, which used similar techniques and had the same undeniable respect for cinema as it’s follow-up feature, I knew I just had to see it. Unfortunately, finding a copy of this five hour film is proving to be rather difficult.

9: The Mirror (1974)

I am a great admirer of Andrei Tarkovsky. He has to be the king of all Russian filmmakers, second only to his protege Alexandr Sokurov, or perhaps the classic cinematic renovator Sergei Eisenstein. So far, I’ve seen four of Tarkovsky’s seven films, but there is one more I am aching to see: The Mirror, which has been praised by critics and filmmakers as Tarkovsky’s masterpiece. It is one of those true classics, about a man reflecting on his childhood and past life as he prepares to die.

8: Nashville (1975)

I don’t love Robert Altman, but of the two films of his I’ve seen, I loved them both. And I have heard so much of Nashville, his 1975 epic, a reigning classic among films about multiple characters and storylines. The promise of a film which heavily inspired my all-time favourite movie Magnolia, as well as all multiple-storyline films in general is too much to resist. Unfortunately, it’s not been easy for me finding a copy of this.

7: Paris Je T’Aime (2006)

This is probably the easiest one on this list for me to find. I’ve seen a copy of it at the library a few weeks ago but chose another film over it instead. After reading many praising reviews, and hearing of the film’s multiple-director shooting style, as well as my love for French cinema and the city of Paris, I simply have to see this.

6: Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier’s latest film will likely be going to the indie movie theatre when it arrives here, and since the pathetic city I live in does not have one, I will be left out. Sure I’ll find a way to see it (I’ll fly to Auckland if I have to), but for now it remains on the watchlist, and my envy of the many people I know who have seen it, some of whom are nowhere near as big a fan of von Trier as I am, is growing. Nevertheless, I shall be patient and hopefully be rewarded.

5: Mean Streets (1973)

I saw parts of this many years ago; my Dad had it on videotape, but since that tape’s long gone and I don’t have a VHS anyway, I’ll have to find this Martin Scorsese classic some other way. It’s stunning, to me, that the local DVD rental service has almost all of Scorsese’s films on offer, but of the handful they don’t have, a classic such as Mean Streets has to be among them. Shame on you! Someday, this vision shall be realised.

4: Scenes from a Marriage (1973)

Ever since I became obsessed with Ingmar Bergman in March, I’ve watched as many of his films as I could find; the resulting tally added up to more than twenty films, some amazingly good but ridiculously obscure to locate. There are still a handful left for me to see, but of those five there is not one I want to see more than Scenes from a Marriage, the 1973 follow-up to the astonishingly good Cries and Whispers. I’ll probably end up buying the Criterion DVD, knowing me.

3: Fanny and Alexander: Full 5-Hour Director’s Cut (1982)

The three-hour theatrical version of Fanny and Alexander was one of the first Bergman films I ever saw. But the DVD store only had that version, and not the full, extended five hour version, which I’m planning to buy at some point from Amazon. It’s impossible to describe how achingly much I love Fanny and Alexander – it is a modern classic, the greatest foreign film of the last thirty years, and to finally see it in its full, uncensored form would be a dream come true.

2: The Phantom of Liberty (1974)

In early September, I took a look at the list of films I’d seen from well-known directors, and noted I’d only seen two from Luis Bunuel – and they were both short films from the late 20s. I quickly corrected this by going through as many of his movies as I could find, watching Land without Bread, Los Olvidados, Viridiana, The Exterminating Angel, Belle De Jour, Tristana and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie. I still have two films left that I’d really like to see, but The Phantom of Liberty is one I really, really want. It sounds like exactly my kind of film, and what I’ve read about it makes it seem so alluring. Want. Want. Now!

1: Satantango (1994)

I have not seen any of the films of Bela Tarr, but I have heard a lot of them. Apparently he has a special directorial style, and from what I’ve read about it it sounds exactly like the kind of directing I crave and love. Satantango is his most famous film. It is a seven hour masterpiece, and I’ve read tons of reviews, pages and pages of analyses and I’ve had countless recommendations that it’s made my head spin. A film with tracking shots where barely anything happens? Sign me up. Long, winding stories about a village in decay, told in a haunting but fractured real time? That’s exactly my kind of movie. Acclaimed, award-winning, fantastic, extraordinary, vital… all these words I’ve heard describe it, but it seems so far from my reach. This is the problem with being a cinema lover. No matter how many films you watch, there will always be a million more you haven’t seen. Cinema is the greatest art form in all existence, but a cinematic addiction comes with a price.

How many of these have you seen? Any at all? What are some films on your watchlist? Leave a comment below!

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Posted on October 21, 2011, in Lists, Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. La Roue is incredible. I’ve only seen it once, on a shabby VHS without English subtitles, and in a far from complete print, but it was still remarkable. I’ve got the DVD (with the longest known version) from Flicker Alley now, though haven’t watched it yet.

    I’ve seen Mean Streets for sale on this side of the Tasman, but something about it looks like a dodgy pirate. Never seen the film itself, but I can borrow a friend’s import copy.

    Haven’t seen Phantom of Liberty in years but I don’t recall liking it an awful lot. Think I preferred That Obscure Object of Desire.

    My watchlist literally amounts to a couple of thousand films. I use the ICheckMovies website, and I took some of the big lists from that (1001 Movies, They Shoot Pictures, Have You Seen, Doubling the Canon, Top 500 Horror Movies and the Criterion Collection list), collated all the ones I haven’t seen from those, and ended up with a list that would take me about 6-10 years to get through if everything on it were actually accessible.

  2. Shame you have not been able to check out Melancholia yet, it was absolutely stunning and I’m sure you will like it a lot!

  3. I want a bit of Melancholia in my life. I guess I am going to have to wait until it gets a BD release now 😦

  4. I’ve seen Fanny & Alexander in the 5 hour cut. Even if we had a break in the middle, I assure you that it put a strain on my butt! But it was good.

    And just to put more salt into your wounds I watched Melancholia back in June in a theatre in my city. It was good. I staggered out of the theatre, floored by the ending. It was predicted all from the start but it didn’t take away the majesty of it. I guess it might not be quite the same on a small screen, but I hope you’ll enjoy it anyway once you get to see it.

    It’s kind of special. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea. But since you’re a fan I don’t doubt you’ll like it.

    • I look forward to seeing MELANCHOLIA, and I have no doubt it will affect me. All Von Trier’s films have.

      Gonna buy the Criterion boxset of both versions of F&A.

  5. I HATED Nashville the first time I saw it, now I consider it faultless. If you like Altman, you’ll love it.

    Paris Je T’Aime is inconsistent; some of its segments are a complete waste of time, others (like the last one) are heartbreaking masterpieces. (Also, you can skip New York, I Love You altogether)

    Mean Streets is a must. Period.

    Scenes from a Marriage is tricky. Like Fanny, there is an extended version and a theatrical version. I prefer the theatrical. (adversely, I prefer the 5-hour Fanny)

    Can’t wait to hear what you think of them!

  6. I have a couple of those on my watch list as well. Melancholia finally comes out here in 3 weeks also Criterion is releasing Fanny and Alexander on Blu Ray next month so that should prompt me to finally watch that one too.

  7. So you have a five hour film and a seven hour film to watch? I hope you have enough stamina to watch them! I get sleepy just watching a two hour film 😛

    I’m hoping to see Melancholia when it’s out here and as I’m unfamiliar with von Trier’s work I’m not sure what to expect. I’m going to watch it with an open mind, though.

    • I definitely have stamina. My all time favourite film is a series of ten short films that when put together, add up to ten hours of fantastic cinema. So of course I’ve got bloody stamina. Now where’s the coffee?

  8. What movies are these, I’ve never heard of most of them. It’s so great to discover new cinema. In comparison my watch list consists of Harry Potter and Captain America. I’m walking away in shame 😦

  9. Intriguing list. The Mirror is curious, I like a couple more Tarkovsky’s much more than that one, but it’s good.

    I’ve actually not finished Mean Streets, I got to the last ten minutes, got distracted, and then it disappeared off of netflix instant.

    You remind me that I should watch more Bela Tarr. Werkmeister Harmonies is magnificent and I should check out the rest of his films.

    • I haven’t seen any Bela Tarr and I WANT SOME!!!

      Thanks for stopping by James. I’ve always liked your site, should probably go there more frequently.

  10. Out of all of these, i’ve only seen The Phantom of Liberty, which was great, but not Bunuel’s best. I am also going to watch Melancholia tonight (which will be my first Von Trier film) on Time Warner Cable’s video on demand service. If you have cable, you should be able to rent it easily. But i’m not sure if it is available on demand in New Zealand. I also own Mean Streets on DVD, but haven’t watched it yet. Are there any online video rental services where you live? As nearly all of these films can be found very easily on one.

    • Believe it or not, there is a DVD rental service here but only two or three of these films are available through it. MELANCHOLIA will be when it is released properly, but it hasn’t even reached theatres here yet!

      • That’s a shame. Netflix and Blockbuster Online have nearly all of these movies. It is kinda surprising that you can’t find Nashville or Mean Streets where you live, because here in the USA, they are extremely easy to find. If finding DVDs is too hard, have you tried finding VHS tapes of movies? That is usually what I do when a movie on DVD is hard to find or expensive. Of course, you can always pirate a movie, but that isn’t the same experience, plus it has all the legal issues.

      • There’s a very strict and dangerous law about pirating and file sharing movies here, so I don’t see it as worth the hassle.

        I’m sure those films will turn up eventually; maybe if Scorsese releases a 40-year anniversary version of MEAN STREETS in two years’ time we’ll get it then!

        Yeah, I hate the limited availability of films here. I’ve already found a good price for a second hand DVD box set of SATANTANGO online, so I might just buy it cheaply.

      • Well piracy definitely wouldn’t be an option then, considering that it can even get you many years in prison in the US. But regarding Satantango, I recommend that you buy it. As even here in the US, it costs sixty dollars for all the discs. So if it is cheap, you should definitely buy it.

  11. Melancholia is awesomeness. But I’ve already said that like 500 times.

    My Fatso queue has a lot on it, but the ones I want to see the most are on low demand so I can’t get them yet. These are films like Days of Heaven, The Double Life of Veronique, GoodFellas, Badlands and Amores Perros. But up the top of my queue (and films I can actually get) are the Three Colours trilogy, Sex Lies and Videotape, Festen, Dancer in the Dark and Chinatown.

    I guess if we’re talking cinema releases then I can’t wait to see Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Like Crazy, Shame, Drive, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Martha Marcy May Marlene, J. Edgar, War Horse, 50/50, Contagion and Take Shelter. And Bridesmaids comes out on DVD next week, which I’m excited about!

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