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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!