57. Pather Pachali (Satyajit Ray, 1955)
This is one of the greatest directorial debuts ever, along with Orson Welles‘ Citizen Kane, and Rouben Mamoulian‘s Applause (which is criminally underrated, and really I will look for any excuse to mention it). Just a wonderful film.
Just a simply great film, the first of the Apu Trilogy, which rivals the Star Wars Trilogy as the greatest movie trilogy I can think. Lord of the Rings can go suck a duck.
It’s interesting that the movie was shot on an extremely low budget, oh let’s say 80 rupees or so, and didn’t have a script, and yet turned out fantastic. I think it’s a mix of a wonderful talent in Satyajit Ray, and serendipitous good fortune.
The story follows Apu, a young Indian boy growing up in poverty with an older sister who is quite rebellious, a father who dreams of being a writer, a headstrong grandma, and a mother trying to keep it all together. Man that sounds like a movie blurb.
All that really happens is tragedy, but it’s powerful, and never melodramatic. It’s also somehow inspiring that people carry on with strength and conviction and belief. It’s also wonderfully shot in black and white.
I wish I could have found the original poster art. I bet 1950’s Indian film posters are the shit.
On filmaffinity.com I gave the film 9/10. It’s great, the sequels are great, and Satyajit Ray is great. Watch this film.
13. Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962)
I was really hyped to watch this film, as much as anything on the list. I mean it’s a classic with billions of Oscars. I remember always hearing people talk about watching it like it was a notch in the belt, that they were better having seen it. Forget Citizen Kane, this was the one people held in reverence when I was younger. Plus it has the awesomeness Alec Guinness and Omar Sharif (actually I am kidding about Omar Sharif). An entire generation of movie-goers can’t be wrong can they?
I am afraid they can be. This movie stunk. Long, boring, no character development. There was some gun fights, umm and some sand, actually lots of sand. Oh yeah, there were camels too. It was one of those films where you keep waiting for some reason to care, some means by which to invest yourself, and yet that reason never comes. I really tried to like it, and it just didn’t happen for me. I read reviews post-viewing and still nothing clicked. Why the hell is this movie rated so highly?
Basically all it’s got going for it is that it’s shot in widescreen. I have read some reviews that insist this film must be viewed in a theatre, and that the experience is life-changing. Oh and some people gush over Peter O’Toole’s beautiful eyes, which to quote a character from my favorite Canadian melodrama are “as blue as swimming pools”, but I am more partial to this guy‘s hypnotic stare.
So if you want to spending 227 minutes looking at sand in beautiful widescreen, whilst drooling over Peter O’Toole’s eyes, this is the movie for you. Otherwise stay the hell away.
On filmaffinity.com I gave this film a 4/10 for all the reasons stated above. It’s the lowest ranked out the top 100, and as of now the lowest ranked of the 440+ films I have watched on the list.
It’s a shame that such a boring movie has such a ballin’ poster.