Why Robby Muller isn't more of a household name is beyond me? He's responsible for five or six of the most beautiful films ever made: Dead Man, Alice in the Cities, Paris, Texas, Down by Law, Breaking the Waves, The American Friend, and Kings of the Road. Okay, make that eight or nine!
I find that Muller has as great a sensitivity and relationship to nature as any cameraman that has ever worked in the medium. There's a poetry to the way that he frames the outdoors and a lyricism to the way he lets his camera slowly absorb images that is deep and elemental. And nowhere is his special gift so apparent, so affecting, as in this early Wenders road epic.
This one demands patience, but if you can get hooked on its rhythms, it's an incredibly moving tale of friendship, love, and cinema. It's also a definite desert island choice in these parts.
Other contenders for 1976: This is yet another strong year, in my opinion, even though there are a number of titles I still need to see. These include: Alfred Hitchcock's Family Plot, Alan Rudolph's Welcome to L.A., Eric Rohmer's The Marquise of O..., Bernardo Bertolucci's 1900, Jacques Rivette's Noroit and Duelle, Joseph Losey's Mr. Klein, Francois Truffaut's Small Change, Nagisa Oshima's In the Realm of the Senses, Larisa Shepitko's The Ascent, Ingmar Bergman's Face to Face, Luchino Visconti's L'innocente, Robert Altman's Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson, Dario Argento's Suspiria, Carlos Saura's Cria Cuervos, Don Siegel's The Shootist, and Peter Bogdanovich's Nickelodeon. I need to revisit Sidney Lumet's Network as it's a film I've struggled with in the past. From this year though, I really like Roman Polanski's The Tenant, Brian De Palma's Carrie and Obsession, David Lynch's Eraserhead, and John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13. I love Alan Pakula's All the President's Men. And my closest runner-up is Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver.
4/11/11 I watched Francois Truffaut's Small Change. A strange film. Sweet, and at times Truffaut amazes at how he's able to remember and capture some of the aspects and feelings of childhood. But it seems as awkward and distracted as most young children, and this meandering quality starts to take away after awhile.
5/13/11 I watched Alfred Hitchcock's Family Plot. An unusual final film from a master. It's fun, light in many ways, and still maintains much of the great Hitch touch. Dern is perfectly cast, as is Barbara Harris and Ed Lauter.
7/22/11 I watched Nagisa Oshima's In the Realm of the Senses. The ultimate film on co-dependency. Incredibly intense and disturbing. Oshima proves himself one of the ultimate "cruel" filmmakers but also one who is unflinching and unafraid to take his subject into every single, possible realm, no matter the risk or daring involved. Cold and not totally my thing, but I respect the achievement.
8/11/11 I watched Larisa Shepitko's The Ascent. Incredibly visual, in the way a Tarkovsky film can be. And particularly affecting when it comes to depicting torture and death. Ultimately hard for me though to find a real window into it emotionally.
8/19/11 I watched Luchino Visconti's L'innocente. Another psychological and claustrophic chamber piece from Visconti. Not my thing at all, but well done for what it is.
3/7/17 I rewatched Michael Ritchie's The Bad News Bears. Ritchie's slacker sensibility is a perfect match with the material. I don't think this one gets near enough attention and should be in any conversation around the greatest sports movies of all time.