Ray Memorial 100 [Foreign films]

Ray Memorial 100

It’s like the IMDb top 250, only it’s just non-English language films and voting was not open to the general public. It’s better than anything the AFI ever put together.

I disagree with #1, “Rules of the Game.” I saw it because it was #1 on this list. After I saw it, I thought to myself, no way is it better than “M” or “Seven Samurai,” the #2 and #3 films, not respectively. I’ve seen a lot of Kurosawa and as far as I am concerned he can do no wrong. He is the most represented director on this list for good reason. I’ve seen “Metropolis” as well as “M,” and I like what I’ve seen of Fritz Lang. I have seen “Bete Humaine” and “Grand Illusion” and didn’t care for them that much. Maybe I just don’t appreciate Jean Renoir, which could be why I don’t think “Rules of the Game” should even be in the top 10(I wouldn’t deny it a place on the list, though.)

I am most intrigued to watch “Satantango.” It is 7.5 hours long. It is in B&W, even though it was made in the mid '90’s.

What I want to know from the Dope is, how many of the films have you seen? What do you think of the list overall? I don’t know when the list was made, but nothing made after '02 was included by design.

I’ve seen 30 of them. IMHO it’s a little too enamored of French New Wave and it’s knock offs for my tastes. It’s a fairly predictable list and I’d think a more sophisticated critic would be able to look beyond “French New Wave inspired art film” to come up with some more interesting, important films. This list reminds me of something a film-school sophomore would come up with to impress dates. Not that the films are bad, just repetitive and obvious.

Chunking Express is my favorite movie in the whole world. I was surprised to see Come and See, which is probably the most completely depressing movie ever but worth seeing.

I’ve seen all of them except #100.

I think the list is actually very very good. I think the only real egregious standout, placement-wise, is the good-but-overpraised City of God, which, at #26, is much too high.

Still, the diversity is very good, and almost all the greats (Dreyer, Bresson, Bunuel, Mizoguchi, Ozu, Bergman, Antonioni, Kurosawa, Fellini) are represented very generously. It is a little surprising that only one film by Rossellini, Tarkovsky, Ophuls, Rivette, and Fassbinder made the list, but at that point it gets to quibbling. The one biggie MIA is, quite ironically, Satyajit Ray. In fact, this is largely a Euro/Asia100, since no reps from the Middle East (Kiarostami & Makhmalbaf) or Africa (Cisse or Sembene) are here, and barely any from Latin American (where’s I Am Cuba?).

The other big director MIA is Wajda, which is also curious (since his fellow Pole Kieslowski is there 4 times!), though some other surprising films or filmmakers missing are The Traveling Players (Angelopoulos), Underground (Kusterica), Ariel (Kaurismaki), The Mother and the Whore (Eustache), Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Paradzhanov), The Spirit of the Beehive (Erice–probably the worst single oversight), Show Me Love (Moodysson), The Red and the White (Jancso), W.R.-Mysteries of the Organism (Makavejev), and The Shop on Main Street (Kadar/Klos). Note that most of these are from countries that are also largely not represented on the list either. Also notably, no silents are included (hence the absence of Metropolis, The Passion of Joan of Arc, Pandora’s Box, A Page of Madness, etc.), which is probably why Eisenstein is also missing (since his silents are much better regarded than his sound era films, generally speaking).

Still, I can’t even really take issue with the Top 10. Sure, mine would be different, but there are no obvious interlopers collected there. Farther down, personal choice would’ve replaced Umberto D with Shoeshine, Amelie with The City of Lost Children, and Masculin/Feminin with Weekend, but films that should be on lists like these but often aren’t (Celine & Julie, Come and See, St. Matthew, Yi Yi, The Leopard, Eyes without a Face) are most welcome. Not much genre filmmaking either (especially comedies), but foreign films aren’t quite as well known for that anyway, except thrillers (which are scattered throughout the list) and horror (which do show up a few times).

So while the list is a little more myopic than I would like, it is highly preferable to the truly atrocious Landmark Cinema Foreign Film 100 from several years ago, and I’d say just about everything listed is worth seeing (even the Tarr), even though you’re almost assured to not like all of them (including, probably, the Tarr).

I don’t know if I am being whooshed, but it is called “The Ray Memorial 100” because of this fact.

I’ve seen about 36. Not a bad list, though how anyone thinks the cliche-ridden Blue is a good film is beyond me. But that’s made up for the fact that Playtime makes the list.

I would also add Children of Heaven and Osama to the list.

Ah, didn’t read the Intro, though the result is still somewhat surprising–except for the fact that no great director is as underrepresented on DVD (which probably accounts for the growing lack of familiarity for his work). Even the Apu trilogy (which usually always makes these list) has been long out-of-print, typically running over $250 for the set.

He did make the 22 also-rans with “Ashes and Diamonds.” Ray didn’t even get that.

Wow. Awesome list. I’ve seen 81 of them. Some of my very favorite movies are on here. Of course, others of my favorites are oddly missing. But that’s the way of such lists. While I consider Kurosawa to be one of the luckiest beneficiaries of overrating who ever lived, for the most part this list is pretty dang good.

Of course I posted before I read ArchiveGuy’s first post above, which I think should be permanently appended to this list.

Oh and–

The Cranes Are Flying is definitely worth seeing. It’s not as breathtaking as I Am Cuba, but by the same director, so put it on your short list. It’s an oddly non-idyllic portrayal of wartime USSR, considering the propagandistic fervor of I Am Cuba.

Oh, I haven’t been avoiding it–just hadn’t gotten to it yet (though I had forgotten Kalatozov had done both).

To answer my own question, I just counted for the first time and I’ve seen 30.

BTW Archive Guy, do you study movies for a living? Lissener is right, your first post should be appended to the list.

I wish I remembered how I found this list. I love lists, making lists, reading lists, etc. I’ve had it bookmarked for awhile.

I’m humbled and flattered.

I am a professional film archivist, have managed megaplexes, worked for film festivals, and have two degrees (BA & MA) in the field, as well as an extremely modest IMDB entry and an undistinguished past as an occasionally published critic. I’m also, on a personal level, a movie junkie, consuming as much as I can in my free time as well (while still, you know, trying to lead a relatively normal, physically active, well-read, socially-balanced married life).

So I’ll be the first to admit I’ve still got a lot to learn, catch up on, and revisit, but I do have a lot of viewing time (and experience writing about it) under my belt.

I love films. I got my BA in film. Kurosawa is my favorite director, and he’s not exactly famous for brevity. But I just can’t make myself want to see a 7 1/2 hour long film. I think I’ll just accept that there’s a hole in my resume and always will be.

And to my great shame, I must admit I’ve only seen 19 of these. Clearly I have wasted my entire life.

I’ve seen exactly 12. I hated #1, la Grande Illusion is much better. At least 5 more are in my stack to watch, but I haven’t got around to it yet.