Sunday, March 09, 2008

Have you ever wondered what I think of...

... every single film I've ever seen?

Well, wonder no more, my friends, for my companion blog, Victim's Movies By Year, has finally been updated all the way back to the 1910s, with a grading for every single film I've ever watched (barring kids' things I can't remember), as well as a "still unseen" listing for all years from 1930. All years have a home-made (and quite low-tech) header graphic.

And that's not all. In the processing are my own personal awards for the top six categories (Best Pic, Director, and the four acting categories) for all the years since 1995. At the moment you can check out 2005, 2004, 2003 and 2002. Gold, silver and bronze in each category are handily colour coded for the easiest possible perusal, and previous years will be appearing in due course.

But is there anything there that makes you appauled that I've not yet seen it? Anything that you think needs a fast-track to the top of my rental queue, because I just haven't lived until I've seen it? Tell me. And, as long as you don't offer too many suggestions, those mentioned will, indeed, be bumped to the top.

And you know what? That's not all that's been happening. On the sidebar back here at the main blog I've added my own Oscar statistics for those same six categories. This isn't to signify that I'm about to abandon all other films and go chasing Oscar- but then my viewing is still at the stage where "greatness" and Oscar are still aligning... for instance, who knew that Cries and Whispers was nominated for both Best Picture and Best Director? I do, though, want to go chasing my favourite Oscar category, Best Actress (and, just in case anyone doesn't know, Nick Davis has recently published a spectacular section on that very category which is pretty much the best thing ever), and so I'll be trying to catch up on as many winners there as I can. Most, from Jessica Lange back to Jennifer Jones (I just can't bring myself to put The Great Ziegfeld on there...), have been added to my LoveFilm (pretty much the British equivalent of Netflix) account, and their cycle will start as soon as I'm done catching up with last year.

And the most recent film to add to all these things? The superlatives just aren't enough for F.W. Murnau's Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, which is most famous for being the only winner of the "Unique and Artistic Production" award at the very first Academy Awards, as well as one of three films that won Janet Gaynor the first ever Best Actress Oscar. (It also rather deservedly won Best Cinematography.) Whenever I ponder watching a silent film, I always pause, thinking that the experience will somehow be more difficult than any other film- but it hardly ever has been (we'll ignore Way Down East at this point), and Sunrise, perhaps, is even easier and more pleasurable to watch than almost every other film. It isn't a film overloaded with intertitles, instead choosing to tell its (admittedly quite simple- but then it is somewhat of a fable) story by visual poetry, by the subtle yet crystal clear physicality of its actors, and even by its soundtrack (it was one of the first to use Fox' Movietone sound-on-film system).

Two things surprised me while watching Sunrise: one, how good the unmentioned George O'Brien was as "The Man" (to Gaynor's "The Wife"- she's just as good, but then I'd already been told that); and two, how funny it proved to be. I was aware of Sunrise's credo as a moving visual and emotional experience- which indeed it proves to be- but the central act is light and almost frisky in its delight, the couple's reconciliation and joy felt through the imagery and jokes. Sunrise matches Murnau's striking visuality with an almost screwball sensibility and a delicate, fragile emotional core, providing unmitigated warmth, depth of feeling and redemption. This really is a masterpiece. A


DL said...

Oh my! That is a lot of organizational skills that I wish I possessed. Well, I haven't had a chance yet to look through every little detail (I'll get around to it eventually :P) but I did notice you giving a gold medal to Patrick Wilson for Angels in America in 2003. I have to agree completely -- beautiful perf; beautiful movie; beauiful fella.

Dave said...

I am often driven by strange demons. Obviously reading everything is highly time consuming, and it's not as if people don't have lives! (Pa. Everyone should have already dropped what they're doing and come running. Or clicking.)

2003 wasn't exactly a great year- which is why I gave a TV production a free pass- but Wilson was head and shoulders above anyone else in that category. So layered and moving. Great to know you agree (and thank you for reading!).