Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Joseph Wren Reviews His Ten Favourite Films, Part 1

Today Joseph Wren begins his Montage rites of passage and reveals the first two of his ten favourite films...

Annie Hall
USA 1977
Director: Woody Allen
Screenwriters: Woody Allen & Marshall Brickman
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Certificate: 15
DVD Distributor: MGM

Suddenly single and don’t know what went wrong? Watch Woody Allen struggle for answers from his recently terminated relationship with Diane Keaton’s Annie Hall, and sympathetically wallow in Woody’s world of charmingly neurotic introspection. The second (and last) comedy to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, Annie Hall has since been the prime example of the great romantic comedy for nearly thirty years, inspiring countless films and TV shows. With Annie Hall, Playboy Magazine credited Woody Allen with “making neurosis sexy”, and ever since, the “neurotic single urbanite” theme has practically become its own genre.

Through nearly three decades of having its material stolen by Hollywood, and endless Woody Allen impersonations, Annie Hall has amazingly remained authentic, touching, and hilarious. In Annie Hall, Allen tunes in to a cinematic world inspired by European giants like Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, and Francois Truffaut, and like them, explores the same profound struggles as them, the timeless engagement with memory and romantic contemplation. Only here, it’s funny.

Citizen Kane
USA 1941
Director: Orson Welles
Screenwriters: Orson Welles & Herman J. Mankiewicz
Running Time: 119 Minutes
Certificate: A
DVD Distributor: Universal Home Entertainment

Constantly considered “the greatest film ever made”, there isn’t much to be said about this Orson Welles film. The film has been shown and taught to film students since there even were film students. I was one of them, and on the first day of Film 101, we were shown Citizen Kane. After the first viewing, we learned the story behind the film, and than we watched it again. We must have watched the film a dozen times that term.

Taking in Citizen Kane that day felt as if I was experiencing cinematic rock and roll for the first time. Watching Orson Wells’ ferocious acting, larger-than-life staging and political wails - this was the film that surrendered me completely to cinema, in awe of its magic and expression. Citizen Kane is the gold standard of storytelling.
Read Part 2 tomorrow!

No comments: