18 April 2012

Talk About Cinema

Talk About Cinema
Talk About Cinema, by Jean-Baptiste Thoret, discusses how contemporary cinema is influenced by stylistic innovations of the past. It was originally published in French, with a more descriptive title: Cinema Contemporain: Mode d'Emploi.

Thoret, who writes for Charlie Hebdo, highlights some cinematic technical breakthroughs, briefly summarises cinema's major artistic movements, and profiles some leading contemporary directors (as in Cinema Now). He also lists 20 Seminal Films, chosen because they contain "motifs, situations, or images destined to be reused again and again".

Talk About Cinema's 20 Seminal Films are as follows:
  • Freaks
  • The Red Shoes
  • Invasion Of The Body Snatchers
  • The Searchers
  • Rear Window / North By Northwest / Vertigo / Psycho / The Birds
  • Big Deal On Madonna Street
  • The Twilight Zone
  • 'the Zapruder film'
  • Inferno
  • A Fistful Of Dollars / For A Few Dollars More / The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly / Once Upon A Time In The West / Duck, You Sucker!
  • Blow-Up
  • Play Time
  • The Prisoner
  • Le Samourai
  • Night Of The Living Dead
  • Bullitt
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey / A Clockwork Orange / Barry Lyndon / The Shining
  • Easy Rider
  • Aguirre: The Wrath Of God
  • Scarface
The list, in chronological order, actually has far more than twenty titles, because Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Sergio Leone are each represented by multiple films. Even more esoterically, Thoret includes television series (The Prisoner and The Twilight Zone), an actuality film (Abraham Zapruder's footage of John F Kennedy's assassination), and an unfinished film (Inferno). (Note that Scarface is the Brian de Palma version, not the Howard Hawks original.)