Tuesday, November 17, 2009

200 Posts! My favorite scenes from the last 100 ... and 2.

I blew it on Friday. And then I up and didn't post yesterday, my ranting promises from days previous, already things of the past.

But I'm here now, with some of my favorite moments from the last 102 films. Yup, in my life of watching Criterion films I've consumed 102, and there's been some scenes that've really stuck with me. Sad, gory, freaky, beautiful - for some reason or another, they cling in my mind, and I thought, in the continuous quest to get you watching these films right along with me, to share a few.


Top Scenes From The Last 102 Criterion Films

The Film: Seven Samurai (2)

What Is It?:
The final moments of the film, the town has been ravaged but saved, many of the samurais lie dead or dying. The final three, their names I forget, stand in front of the burning funereal pyres, the wind blowing their top-knots in slo-motion.

Why Do I Love It?: Because it highlights exactly what this film is about - the end of a culture. With the death of Kikuchiyo to the harsh blast of a rifle, Kurosawa signals the end of the samurai culture. No longer will swords and honor be the ruling power, instead a new wave of existence has begun. These three men, stoically standing, are a powerful image of a time long past. Gets me every time.

The Film: Robocop (23)

What Is It?: Robocop, out and about making a name for himself as the new corporate face of crime-fighting, stumbles upon a mugger holding a woman hostage with a knife. There's lot of banter back and forth about "killing" and "putting weapons down" and then Robocop just targets the knife-wielding thug and blasts him. Screw the hostage.

Why Do I Love It?: I'm a sucker for cheesy action and the idea of a robo-man-cop firing his strangely automatic handgun in to the sneering face of a 1980s mugger is just so cornball it works. I still find myself, when drunk or bored, doing the Robocop walk. Don't know what the Robocop walk is? I pity you.

The Film: Diabolique (35)

What Is It?: The final moments of the film. The body has been discovered, again, in the bathtub, eyes open in fishy-eyed death, and our conspirator-turned-victim has stumbled into insanity. And what does that body do? It gets right up and pulls those fishy eyes out and is a living, breathing, person.

Why Do I Love It?: This whole film rotates around this crux of a murder discovered. Of two women who've killed to save themselves, but now must face the facts that somebody knows they've done a dirty deed. And then, right at the end, right when the tension is so unbearable you just want to snap, director Henri-Georges Clouzot, turns everything on its head and you're stuck staring, slack-jawed, almost mad at how well you've been had. Buh-rilliant.

The Film: The Third Man (64)

What Is It?: The first reveal of the notorious Harry Lime. A cat, a shadow and the shiny shoes of one Orson Welles. Then, a bus, a break in light and whammo, Harry Lime in all his glory. And then poof, he's gone.

Why Do I Love It?: Orson Welles can steal a scene without even a word. He's considered a genius for good reason and this slice of pie from a true classic American film always proves it undoubtedly to me. That smile, good or bad, you just can't help but be happy that Welles is in this.

The Film: Sisters (89)

What Is It?: The final dip in to the brains of the two sex-fueled, homicidal twins. It's all sepia and it's all fucked up. Each and every bit.

Why Do I Love It?: Originally, because this film caught me so completely off guard. I knew this was going to be a weird one, but yikes, DePalma really knocks the oddball out of the park right here. This scene though, when everything is coming to light and everything is unraveling is just so over the top fucking crazy and Alex and I just sat there, mouths open in shock, stomachs roiling, completely won-over.

The Film: Gimme Shelter (99)

What Is It?: Mick Jagger's final freeze-frame. Murder in his eyes.

Why Do I Love It?: The Maysles took what could've been a concert-film-gone-wrong and turned it in to a dissection of the Summer of Love. That in it self is amazing. Even more amazing is the subplot of Mick Jagger and company pretty much realizing their infallibility. The final shocked look on Jagger's face as he sees a man murdered on screen says it all, "You are rockstar, not a god." Gives me chills just thinking about it.


And that's what I got. It's loose and short and grabbed on the fly, but there's a thread here of pay-offs and suspense and a certain type of looming violence that really seems to grab me. These are all great films, but hell, so are most of these films, and you should be watching them, each and every.

Again, thanks for reading. Here's to another 100.

Wednesday: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (102)

1 comment:

griffdog said...

great summary and although I have only watched a small fraction of them, I am moved to see more. The list reminds me of a job interview you had at Scarecrow Video in Seattle. If you had given them this list with these comments you definitely would have gotten the job.