Friday, February 7, 2014

10 Auteurs in a Day: the missing director marathon (February 6)


I thought January's viewing marathon would be my last before concluding #WatchlistScreenCaps, but here we are again. My year-long viewing diary ends in five days, and some gaps need plugging before it's over - hence two more marathon sessions, this being the first (the second samples classic Hollywood and is scheduled for Monday).

The point of my screen-cap approach was initially quantitative rather than qualitative: to illustrate what I happened to watch, not to offer up a comprehensive view of cinema history. Nonetheless, at some point I began viewing movies in part so I could screen-cap them and add particular films to my ever-growing image library. Therefore I began balancing out my watchlist, which leaned heavily (and unusually) toward the past thirty years, nostalgia over exploration, and shorts, docs, and cartoons rather than live-action fiction features.

These readjustments have been escalating in the past few weeks as I prepare to end the exercise - for example, my Monday round-up focused exclusively on the late sixties and very early seventies (which, despite being my favorite epoch, I'd mostly ignored till now). Today offers one of my most emphatic "fixer-upper" attempts: it hasn't been a very auteurist year for me, and a lot of great directors have been left off the roster...until now.

Of course there way more great filmmakers excluded than I could rectify in one day's viewings, so I turned to They Shoot Pictures Don't They?'s list of top 250 directors and picked the top ten whom I hadn't sampled in the past year. This still excludes many greats (to just sample the next ten directors I could have chosen: Powell & Pressburger, Vigo, Cassevetes, Lubitsch, Polanski, (wrong - forgot I watched Chinatown), Leone, Ophuls, Donen & Kelly, Kiarostami - whom I've never seen and should probably squeeze in before Wednesday - and Malick). However, it does nicely insert some great visualists (and hence some striking screen-caps) into my collection. And, more importantly, it allowed me to return to and also discover some of the most acclaimed films of all time.

Eight of the films were watched on Hulu (bookending another marathon from last February), the first four as revisits, the final four as first-time viewings for me. The middle two directors (whose work was barely featured on Hulu, if at all) were drawn from my own collection. Oh, and the #1 director I haven't watched yet in the past year is already scheduled for my upcoming weekend viewing, so I left Sr. Fellini out of this venture. I watched these titles in the order their creators appear on the list. Well, enough of this unusually lengthy intro...time to let the pictures talk.

So here are the last ten films I watched, with a screen-captured image and caption. Linked titles lead to my posts on that film. Visit my #WatchlistScreenCaps archive for images from everything I've watched in the past year.



We are born and we die as do the caterpillars, but we can't all become butterflies
A Day in the Country (1936), dir. Jean Renoir

For once Ozu's silences & simple dialogue express disconnection rather than mutual understanding
Tokyo Twilight (1957), dir. Yasujiro Ozu

Even atop a column in the desert, the saint can't dodge petty truths & sexy snares
Simon of the Desert (1965), dir. Luis Bunuel

No director better embodies the word "vision" in all its meanings
Ivan's Childhood (1962), dir. Andrei Tarkovsky

The moon is reaching out for her...and so will Bogie
Sabrina (1954), dir. Billy Wilder

Launching into  everyone's favorite number: "Who's Joe?"
Only Angels Have Wings (1939), dir. Howard Hawks

A noir with more twists and turns than the subway serpent
Scarlet Street (1945), dir. Fritz Lang

The elusive thrill of victory and the all-too-common agony of defeat
The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (1939), dir. Kenji Mizoguchi

Loren si! Mussolini no!
Marriage Italian Style (1964), dir. Vittorio De Sica

Dressed for a funeral: her lover's, her Austrian occupiers', or her own?
Senso (1954), dir. Luchino Visconti


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