1967: La Collectionneuse (Eric Rohmer)
The funny thing about a list like this is that it somewhat misrepresents my favorite films. Some years contain three of my all time favorites while others are simply my favorite film from that particular year. For instance, this Rohmer is not even my favorite film from the director. His 1986 film Summer is. In fact, it's not even in my top three; my next two favorites are My Night at Maud's and Full Moon in Paris. Yet, I still really love this film and am happy to see it at the top of my list. I just wanted to clarify before going on.
I was so sad to hear of Eric Rohmer's passing a couple of months ago. He represented a certain sophistication, elegance, and consistency of output that is becoming more of a rarity with each passing year. Many people focus on Rohmer's writing and the natural, real quality of the way his characters speak. I certainly share in that admiration, but what's always most impressed me is Rohmer's ability with actors. He's simply able to make them seem more real than everyone else. Sure, much of this stems from the writing, but Rohmer must also create an environment that makes them feel comfortable, then film them in a way that maximizes his goal of dramatizing real life.
I'm now two paragraphs in and have yet to mention this year's film. Call it a cop out, but I think as much any director that has ever worked in the medium, there's a great similarity to most of Rohmer's films, so much so that it can be hard to remember one from the other. The things that stand out to me though about this work are the sexiness of Haydee Politoff, the way that Rohmer handles the beautiful countryside location, and most of all, its wonderful, abrupt ending.
In highlighting the French New Wave, I've already mentioned the playfulness and beauty of many of the films. One other aspect that I think is somewhat forgotten is the way these directors were able to create some of the best endings in the history of film. As opposed to many films nowadays, most of the French New Wave films end five minutes earlier than expected and in completely abrupt and unresolved fashion. La Collectionneuse is no exception and...
Other contenders for 1967: I still need to see several titles. These include: Jim McBride's David Holzman's Diary, Jacques Demy's The Young Girls of Rochefort, Marco Bellocchio's China is Near, Dusan Makavejev's Love Affair; or The Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator, Miklos Jancso's The Red and the White, and Frantisek Vlacil's Marketa Lazarova. I need to revisit Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Samourai, Luis Bunuel's Belle de Jour, and Stuart Rosenberg's Cool Hand Luke as it's been too long since I've seen any of them to know where they'd place on this list. From this year, I really like Monte Hellman's The Shooting, John Boorman's Point Blank, and Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde. I love Jean-Luc Godard's Weekend, DA Pennebaker's Don't Look Back, and Robert Bresson's Mouchette. And my closest runner-up is Jean-Luc Godard's La Chinoise.
6/9/11 I watched Jacques Demy's The Young Girls of Rochefort. Demy definitely has a Technicolor style, wonderful with colors, clothes, sets, and lyrical crane and tracking shots. But Legrand's music doesn't really do it for me here, and without it, it was hard for me to be completely absorbed by it all.
6/20/11 I watched Dusan Makavejev's Love Affair; or The Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator. Inventive and quite unique in its blending of genres and extreme non-linear narrative. And some of its sexiness is quite effective. Overall though more experimental and interesting than fully felt.
8/26/11 I watched Jim McBride's David Holzman's Diary. A few very memorable scenes like the conversation with the sex-crazed woman. But overall, just a little too much ambling and mumbling and not enough lyricism or weight.
4/20/17 I watched Stanley Donen's Two for the Road. Unfortunately probably my least favorite movie I have ever seen from a director I greatly admire. Donen is under the influence of the Nouvelle Vague but this time none of it really seems to work.
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