Film lists,
film buffs, and movies outside
the lines.

When we asked you to submit your picks for the most essential films, we encouraged you to be as personal as you wished. What we should have known is that a readers poll, which is based on the number of votes each film receives, is bound to winnow out the more quirky and individual choices in favor of movies that more people have seen. So in keeping with the idea of showcasing personal tastes, we here offer a sampling of comments about films, from staff and readers, that didn't make the top 100, but perhaps deserve to be better known. In addition, we have excerpted many of the lists that were submitted, so as to give an idea of the delightful variety of film knowledge and appreciation that you offered to CineScene. The five films that have been excerpted from each list are not necessarily the top five from that list - they were picked because they fell "outside the lines" of the CineScene 100, yet in our opinion still deserved mention.
-- Chris Dashiell

The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
I first saw it when I was about eight, and amongst all the action and adventure available to a young boy, this had resonance, long before I knew what resonance was. Didn't even know its title for years, it was just "that movie with the old guy in the rocking chair." My Dad, who could take movies or leave them, also felt like this one was special. Now I see it as the masterpiece many people feel it is, a harsh, melancholy film of great humanity. Yeah, it's got a few moments where the comic relief is a bit thick, but have any of you people ever lived on a ranch in Texas? Real life comedy relief is a helluva lot less realistic than it is in this film! As much as I love Ford, I like the sentimentalities of some of his other films much less than the "that's life, now let's get on with it" spirit that infuses The Searchers. The music haunts me, as does the eloquent silences when subplots never spoken rise to stand side-by-side with the spoken substance of the storyline. After years of viewings, I still never fail to find things of interest and surprise each time I watch it.
-- Jim Beaver

Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1959)
The essence of this film is Cool. Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is Cool Cool Cool. Pat (Jean Seberg) is also Cool, not Michel Cool, but Cool in her own way. Paris is major Cool, and must be the only place on Earth one can have such a marvelous time scraping for cash and running from the cops. It is, of course, all a facade which inevitably comes crashing down, but for a while Michel achieves a singular kind of glory, and when he has the audacity to fire off a round at the sun, one almost expects it to drop from the sky in supplication. -- Moné Peterson

Tales from the Gimli Hospital
(Guy Maddin, 1988)
With a $10K budget and ancient b&w film stock, Guy Maddin channeled the 1930s and created images mysterious, hysterical, and inexplicably beautiful.
-- Pat Padua

Zelig (Woody Allen, 1983)
I saw this when I was around 14, and it was a revelation to me. For the first time I realized how much distortion our attempts at adaptation could cause in one's personality. If you are an outright neurotic and have no trouble admitting it, then Woody Allen should make you feel at home. If you're thinking of joining the club, then Zelig is the rite of initiation.
-- Mariana Cirne
Mariana Cirne

When Harry Met Sally

(Rob Reiner, 1989)
The Good, the Bad
and the Ugly

(Sergio Leone, 1966)
Mary Poppins
(Robert Stevenson, 1964)
A Night at the Opera
(Sam Wood, 1935)
The Exterminating Angel
(Luis Buñuel, 1962)
Myron Santos

Blue

(Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1993)
Day for Night
(François Truffaut, 1973)
Farewell My Concubine
(Chen Kaige, 1993)
The Last Temptation
of Christ

(Martin Scorsese, 1988)
Mr. Hulot's Holiday
(Jacques Tati, 1953)
kc mcauley

Adam's Rib

(George Cukor, 1949)
Beauty and the Beast
(Gary Trousdale &
Kirk Wise, 1991)
The Hunchback
of Notre Dame

(Wallace Worsley, 1923)
Romeo and Juliet
(Paul Czinner, 1966):
"The ballet with
Fonteyn & Nureyev"
Swing Time
(George Stevens, 1936)
The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1965)
Decidedly partisan against the colonialist French, the film is striking precisely for the starkness of its political position - both in cinematic styling and in narrative focus. Pontecorvo's mock photojournalistic technique, handheld camera, close-up cutting, distance views, and black and white graininess, and his reliance on primarily non-professional actors in actual settings, lend more than an air of realism to what turns out to be a treatise on insurgence, struggle, and persistence. With intent to examine and to demonstrate, he closes in on the details of urban mobilization and power-base resistance, the cruelties and savageries consequential to fighting for a cause, the faces of the victims and the victimizers, and the harsh but immediate understanding between enemy soldiers. As enthralling as it is instructive, whether the emotions it raises are of angry disputation or passionate agreement. You cannot watch without being moved, or without being moved to think.
-- Shari L. Rosenblum
Delicatessen
(Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 1991)
I'd been down on French films most of my life, mainly because I hadn't yet discovered Clouzot, and I still haven't invested much time in Truffaut or Godard. I thought French cinema was mostly unfunny sex comedies. Jeunet et Caro helped me look beyond that stereotype. Personal impact aside, I think it's a damn funny, visually stunning bit of Gilliamesque sci-fi.
-- Greg Sorenson
A Place in the Sun
(George Stevens, 1951)
Montgomery Clift is a sensationally handsome and brooding presence in this melodrama based on Dreiser's An American Tragedy. Monty never gets his due. It wasn't just Brando and Dean that popularized "the method." It was Montgomery Clift, Brando, and Dean, thank you very much. The man needs to be restored to his proper place in the acting pantheon. This film is in glorious black & white and features one of the most erotic screen kisses ever filmed. Liz Taylor and Monty were best friends offscreen but it reads pretty damn lustful on.
-- Nathaniel Rogers
Liquid Sky (Slava Tsukerman, 1982)
"You thought your jeans stood for love, freedom and sexual equality. We, at least, know we're in costume." A near-perfect slice of underground 80s new wave NYC life (replete with drugs, alternate sexuality, and surreal fashion), wrapped in an enduring one-joke sci-fi plot, Liquid Sky was not as widely seen as it should have been, and is ripe for discovery by a new generation. It's just as outré today as when it was new, and its playful sense of humor (not to mention a bit of scathing cultural commentary) may have been lost amidst what little publicity the film got, which focused on its overt sexuality and frank language. New wave punks, bicuspid genitalia, opiate-seeking micro-aliens, and jumbo shrimp. Essentially scandalous.
-- Michael Buck

Melissa B. Cummings

Au Revoir, Les Enfants
(Louis Malle, 1987)
The House of Mirth
(Terence Davies, 2000)
The Lion King
(Roger Allers &
Rob Minkoff, 1994)
Looking for Richard
(Al Pacino, 1996)
The Secret of NIMH
(Don Bluth, 1982)

Richard Doyle

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
(Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974)
L'Avventura
(Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960)
Orpheus
(Jean Cocteau, 1949)
Red River
(Howard Hawks, 1948)
Sweet Smell of Success
(Alexander Mackendrick, 1957)

Jobanks

The Piano
(Jane Campion, 1993)
Breaking Away
(Peter Yates, 1979)
sex, lies and videotape
(Steven Soderbergh, 1989)
A Fish Called Wanda
(Charles Crichton, 1988)
High Noon
(Fred Zinnemann, 1952)

Holiday (George Cukor, 1938)
A superb Phillip Barry play reworked for the screen by Donald Ogden Stewart and directed by George Cukor, this film reads like a who's who of classic 30s moviemaking. Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant team up, with fine support from Lew Ayres, Edward Everett Horton, Jean Dixon and oodles of other kicky character actors. Never stagey, the dialogue here fairly sparkles and the film clips by at a brisk pace. For my money, the best of the Hepburn/Grant pairings, definitely featuring the best chemistry between the two of any of their films together. Also both a clever tolerance and an everyman-style condemnation of the rich and priveleged, all wrapped up in one entertaining little package. Oh, and did I mention it's my favorite film ever?
-- terri mabry
Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
(Sergei Parajanov, 1964)
Exploding onto the moribund Soviet film scene with a riotous burst of color, this extraordinary poetic masterpiece is based on an ancient Carpathian folk legend of a young man and woman who become lovers despite a blood feud between their families. A familiar theme, but Parajanov uses it as a springboard to disrupt conventional narrative. The camera darts and whirls in seemingly impossible ways. Spatial perspective is as mutable as our thoughts, while the images are steeped in music and folklore, each phase of the story boasting a different intoxicating color scheme. All of which technique is brilliantly designed to take the viewer out of ordinary awareness and into the mythic realm of the unconscious. Almost forty years later, Shadows remains both one of the most beautiful and revolutionary films ever made.
-- Chris Dashiell

Au Hasard Balthazar
(Robert Bresson, 1966)
As formally challenging as Bresson's other work, this film - ostensibly about a donkey - may be his most humane. Aloof in its objectivity, the film still manages to evoke compassion for the flawed human beings who put the burdens of their sins on the beast's back. The final pastoral pietà is both ironic and deeply moving.
-- Don Larsson

Edward Scissorhands (Tim Burton, 1990)
The most beautiful adventure I've ever seen. I always cry during certain moments in this movie and my heart also skips a beat when I hear Kim (Winona Ryder) say: "Hold me," and Edward (Johnny Depp) painfully replies: "I can't!"
-- Doddi Jonsson

Celine and Julie Go Boating (Jacques Rivette, 1974)
Okay, so there are these two girls. They meet, eat some candy, move into a flat together, share a bed, share a man, switch personalities, switch identities, stumble upon a haunted house, meet (or invent) a family of spirits, and then witness, and eventually participate in, the very theatrical ghostly goings-on. A surrealistic mess-terpiece of the best sort, where the viewer is as much a part of the proceedings as the participants. Suspenseful, funny, with a child-like sense of whimsy, and above all, thoroughly unique.
-- Moné Peterson

Sasha Stone

Midnight Cowboy
(John Schlesinger, 1969)
La Dolce Vita
(Federico Fellini, 1960)
Don't Look Back
(D.A. Pennebaker, 1967)
Don't Look Now
(Nicolas Roeg, 1973)
Close Up
(Abbas Kiarostami, 1990)

Devin Rambo

The Blue Angel
(Josef von Sternberg, 1930)
Days of Heaven
(Terrence Malick, 1978)
Raise the Red Lantern
(Zhang Yimou, 1992)
The Verdict
(Sidney Lumet, 1982)
A Woman Under
The Influence

(John Cassavetes, 1974)

Martijn ter Haar

The Ballad of Narayama
(Shohei Imamura, 1982)
Boiling Point
(Takeshi Kitano, 1990)
Funny Games
(Michael Haneke, 1997)
The Match Factory Girl
(Aki Kaurismäki, 1989)
The Reflecting Skin
(Philip Ridley, 1990)
"I saw The Reflecting Skin when it was originally released and haven't seen it since. I don't know if it would be that good on a second viewing, but it was the first film I ever saw that really impressed me and couldn't get out of my mind."

Los Olvidados (Luis Buñuel, 1950)
After fifteen years in which Buñuel couldn't find backers for his films, and survived by directing an occasional Mexican potboiler, he finally got his chance. The result was one of the most searing cries of anguish ever put on film. The dirt-poor street kids in Los Olvidados struggle to survive in a world of crime and brutality, a world in which they eventually turn on each other in their rage and impotence. Buñuel delves deeper into their psyches with unforgettable touches of surrealism - the "mother meat" dream sequence is justly famous. The film dares to look into the abyss without offering us any consolation or redemption. It was bitterly attacked by the Mexican government and press, of course, until it was showered with awards at Cannes. Then they changed their tune.
-- Chris Dashiell
All Quiet on the Western Front (Lewis Milestone, 1930)
Eloquent and tragic, rather than angry and cynical, pieces of it seem to glisten at the edges of the many anti-war films that have come since. Though not the first cinematic address against war, there is something stronger, more committed, in its presentation. It stands on the threshold between silent and talkie and it makes a most impressive use of sound effect as moral and emotional punctuation. Its images resonate with equal power. From schoolboy indoctrination to fate's ironies - the faces of innocence anxiously rushing to be lost; and then again, new faces, same rush; shoes passed on from soldier to soldier in a death montage, confrontations with the other side, locked in, face to face with the dying enemy, or frolicking in the water with the enemy's women, the danger of forgetting to fear, and the ultimate irony that underlies the armistice that never arrives soon enough. As a young child, the fact that the film's subjects were not Americans or allies, but Germans - our traditional enemy - was in itself an emotional revelation. There it was, with humanist rather than political polemic, and it was heartbreaking. It is heartbreaking still.
-- Shari L. Rosenblum

Greg Sorenson

Dames
(Ray Enright &
Busby Berkeley, 1934)
Down By Law
(Jim Jarmusch, 1986)
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
(Russ Meyer, 1965)
On the Town
(Stanley Donen &
Gene Kelly, 1949)
The Wages of Fear
(Henri-Georges Clouzot,
1953)

Don Larsson

Band of Outsiders
(Jean-Luc Godard, 1964)
Brightness
(Souleymane Cissé, 1987)
Chimes at Midnight
(Orson Welles, 1965)
In a Lonely Place
(Nicholas Ray, 1950)
Vampyr
(Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1932)

Les Phillips

The Conversaton
(Francis Ford Coppola,
1974
A Man Escaped
(Robert Bresson, 1956)
Pink Flamingos
(John Waters, 1972)
The Letter
(William Wyler, 1940)
Sunday Bloody Sunday
(John Schlesinger, 1971)


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