Tag Archives: The Fire Within

My Criterion Top 10: Anna/Defiant Success

CriterionTop10

I’ve been running contributions from some of my favorite film critics, writers, and theorists from around the internet for the past few weeks. Each writer is listing their top 10 from the Criterion Collection. This is the second to last entry in the series, and it’s a special one. That’s because Anna, today’s writer, was inspired by some of the other lists and offered hers. And this list is a gem. Anna has been running her blog, Defiant Success, since August 2009. In that time, she has compiled quite an impressive list of films reviewed. Anna may be found on Twitter @MovieNut14. Continue reading

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My Criterion Top 10

CriterionTop10

One of the many features that makes the Criterion Collection amazing is their recurring Top 10 series. They ask various pop culture personalities (mostly film) to supply a list of their 10 favorite Criterion films. It’s a great way to learn about important and/or unique cinema. Most importantly, I love that it’s a synaptic slice of the writer’s movie psychosis. Criterion offers such a wide variety of genres, themes, and directors that choosing 10 specific films says something about your personality. In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be presenting The Criterion Top 10 Series, a series of articles from many of my very favorite film writers, critics, and theorists on the internet and in my circle of friends. Strap yourself in because the next several days are going to feature some incredible writing about some equally incredible films. To kick it all off, here is my own Criterion Top 10. Continue reading

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The 50 Greatest French Films of All-Time

It’s time yet again for my favorite feature at TDYLF- my annual list of the 50 greatest French films of all-time. One aspect I’m starting to really enjoy about this list is how organic it is. Each year, movies rise and fall thanks to re-watches, exposure to new films, and new insights. Keeping and maintaining this list throughout the year also serves an important function for me. It motivates me to continue learning, and grow as a French film enthusiast. A few notes before we get started:

  • I am not an authority on this. I’m just a Francophile with a Blu-ray player, Netflix and Facets subscriptions, and a love of movies.
  • As much as I try, I am not a completist. There are a lot of films I simply haven’t seen. I’ve done my best to make it as comprehensive as I could but there’s always room to see more. There are still some relatively glaring omissions. Please feel free to recommend others, as I am always on the lookout to improve this list. It’s a labor of love for me.
  • There is obviously a lot of personal preference involved. However, I’ve given a lot of weight to objective aspects like a film’s influence, importance, creativity, and how much they embody the spirit of French cinema and history.
  • To qualify, the film has to be a French language film. There are non-French directors on this list but every movie is a French language film.

With that out of the way, I present to you  the 50 greatest French films of all-time: Continue reading

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Filed under Foreign Film, French Film, Movies

Depressing Movies Made Festive with Santa Hats

I’m just about to shut everything down until Christmas, and maybe a day or two afterwards. My next entry will likely be no earlier than Monday, and maybe as late as Wednesday of next week. This is my last chance to wish everyone happy holidays. What better way to do it than by twisting depressing movies and movie scenes into something more festive? What’s more festive than a Santa hat? Happy holidays, everyone. Continue reading

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Iron Director: Louis, Luis (Malle v. Buñuel)

It’s time for the third entry in the Iron Director series. In the first edition, the theme was “Directors I became obsessed with in 2010”- Francois Truffaut and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, with Truffaut emerging victorious. In the second edition, I pitted two people that I consider to be the two greatest living American directors, Martin Scorsese and the Coen Brothers. Scorsese just barely earned the win. For this entry, we’ll be taking a look at two guys with the same name, albeit different spellings- Louis Malle and Luis Buñuel. To set the mood, I highly recommend watching this clip of The Kingsmen singing Louie, Louie. These two have always been linked in my head for a handful of reasons. I have an ongoing internal conversation about which of the two is my 2nd favorite director of all-time. I’ve mentioned both of them as my 2nd favorite on multiple occasions. Depending on the week, you’re liable to get a different answer. I’m a great admirer of both of their filmographies. Both have worked, and excelled, in several countries. There aren’t a lot of similarities on the surface, but going a little deeper shows that they’re not wildly different. Let’s dig in: Continue reading

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Filed under Foreign Film, French Film, Movies, Silent Movies, Spanish Movies

Vis-à-Visceral: The Most Uncomfortable Acts to Witness in Film


Odds are pretty good that it’s happened to all of us. You’re watching a film, you might have even heard that there’s something “trying” in it, or “challenging”, or whatever other ominous adjective someone used to describe what you’re going to watch. And then it happens- the “it”, the scene that makes you cover your eyes. It’s the scene that makes your stomach turn. And what is “it”? Probably one of these horribly uncomfortable acts:

Incest
“It”- incest- has been happening in pop culture ever since Oedipus did the worm with his mom in the 5th century B.C. I guess you could say it’s nothing new. It still pops up in films from time to time. Sometimes, but not always, you can see guideposts all the way and you spend the entire film hoping beyond hope that the filmmaker won’t actually follow through with it. Other times, it’s a horrible twist that you didn’t see coming.
Examples: Oldboy (2003); Chinatown (1974); Murmur of the Heart (1971); The Godfather: Part III (1990) Continue reading

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Malle, Adjusted

When you see lists of great directors, Louis Malle is often buried towards the bottom or excluded altogether. It flummoxes me every time I see it. It’s not that he’s viewed with any type of ill will. Most critics speak highly of his work. I can’t specify exactly what it is that keeps him from higher praise, but I’m a firm believer that he deserves higher standing. He’s one of my five favorite directors. Here are some aspects of Malle’s work that makes him stand out for me. Continue reading

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