TOWARDS A GREATER CANON : The First Year


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VOICE OVER (Contents Exposition) ooooo ooooo ooooo ooooo ooooo VERTIGO ooooo ooooo ooooo oooooAn Annual Archive of Posts METROPOLISooooo ooooo oooo.o Alphabetically Ordered PostsPANDORA’S BOXoooo ooo oo.o 250 Greatest Films of All Time ASHES & DIAMONDS – ooo ooo o.oo – Few Selections of Great FilmsTHE RULES OF THE GAME – oooooooooo – Opinions of Mine on Film

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Readers who follow this blog – even sporadically! – know that I don’t write posts with personal things in them – the stuff many blogs are made of. I don’t have a problem to lay bare my opinions about the films discussed, but I don’t usually deal in conversational style about daily emotions, people who inspire me or current affairs that do not connect with issues concerning the movies. This position has been intentional since the very beginning of TOWARDS A GREATER CANON. Therefore, it is time I explained my intentions a little clearer…

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I created the blog to discuss issues – philosophy, psychology, politics or cinema – inspired by the great masterpieces of world cinema. I understand world cinema as literally as possible – as opposed to the Anglo-American notion of films with languages other than English – and that is, films from every nation in the world. Nevertheless, there is some bias towards American masterworks. A glance at the screenshots on here – with links to every single post throughout the past year – will reveal a 3:2 ratio between American and ‘foreign’ films.

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The reason for such bias, other than short-sightedness, is that like any other kid in the world I grew up with American films. I just hope that you agree that those US movies are sufficiently great to justify their own inclusion and deserve to be talked about. However, nobody can accuse me of jingoism as I was born in Brazil into a diverse home (my mother is Brazilian and my father was Italian), have lived in Italy for few years, have a Polish wife, two children with three passports each and now live in the UK for nearly 20 years.

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As the blog turns 1 year old I am expanding the PANDORA’S BOX page – which is the basis for the publication of posts – from the 200 titles to 250 films. The simple reason for such change is the intention to include other great movies which were overlooked the first time round. Today, I cannot believe how I looked past Last Year at Marienbad (1961, Alain Resnais), Shoah (1985, Claude Lanzmann) and Glengarry Glen Ross (1992, James Foley) and were able to keep a clean conscience. So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it…

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Every six months I publish a longer piece intended to discuss the film in question a little further. These posts are also meant to signal a preference for a certain work. Now, with the rarest of exceptions, I really love all the films that I write about. But some are more special than others. And this is what these longer posts are about. So far I wrote about the psychological motivations of the characters in 12 Angry Men and soon will publish my take on the significance of The Godfather and The Godfather – Part II on the American Dream.

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As I publish a post every ten days (three pieces per month), 36 films will be discussed in any year. At this rate, I will take just under seven years to conclude this project. How should I feel about it? Well, for the most part, I feel encouraged knowing that this humble investigation of things great is not about to finish any time soon. Then, who’s to say the list of films cannot keep growing. Is this cheating: The will to further one’s knowledge through an obsession only few others might understand? Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!

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So far this journey has taken us to the world of a deranged taxi driver and an insanely delusional aspiring actress , before considering the duties children have towards their parents . Then, we’ve seen a rebellious upper-class musical genius and an aspiring psychopath with a genial haircut . Whereas Bobby was escaping the high-class milieu, George wanted to join it . As concubines were being exploited in China , in America, gay cowboys could not love each other . Worst of all, in Germany, the whole country could only love one person .

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Have a laugh with the story of Brian , and despair with the tale of three innocent guys being hanged , but examine life itself, together with Yusuf and Mahmut . If it is crime that you want, try kidnapping your own wife or killing your own husband . Perhaps, just quit your job, work out and smoke pot . Urban centres seem to aggravate man’s malaise as seen in the stories of Rupert Pupkin , the paulistano Carlos and Jaguar Paw . Human misery can also be found in psychiatric wards , stuffy court rooms or middle-class homes .

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Oh! Our planet Earth… Makes me want to venture into the surreal landscapes of the Zone , the wilderness of the Arctic  or the claustrophobic tenements of Hong Kong . Let us witness the evolution of man , hardship as the result of his brutality  and his indulgence as the consequence of civilised decadence . Go and fight nature and human nature , endure misery and destitution  and suppress your instincts to the full . Under a glorious sunshine, Mrs. Robinson is waiting , Gloria Desmond is forgotten  and Li’l Zé is killed .

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As Serpico resisted and stayed alive , the workers (or are they ants?!) of Metropolis seemed already dead , whereas Julie struggled to find reasons to live . And as we find ourselves full circle in this journey of life and death, of crazy cab drivers trying to kill others and uptight artistic and intellectual types wanting to die, we see the full power of this beautiful art that is cinema. I’m not its best or most prolific critic, or even the most knowledgeable student of its glorious history. But I know I am very passionate about it.

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Cinema’s appeal is so universal, the power of images so persuasive, that it makes sense to feel emotionally connected with faces and gestures pasted on celluloid film. Peck’s Joe falls for Princess Ann and we’re sure she loves us back. We all want Tyler Durden’s wit and charisma. We feel for the tramp, and with a heavy heart, we despair as Rick is letting Ilsa go. I’m sorry but Paris is not enough…

That’s why Hungarian filmmaker György Pálfi’s Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen, a film-montage made of 450 snippets of great movies, is magnificent. It tells such an essential story of one man (with hundreds of different faces!) and one woman (who through decades of cinematic history, flirts, sings, dances and enchants us) in such an admirable way. It is the story of cinema itself in a short hour and 20 minutes.

For a critical review of the film, read Miklós Kiss’ extensive (and excellent!) article in Senses of Cinema: Creativity Beyond Originality: György Pálfi’s Final Cut as Narrative Supercut. Below I want to give you, my reader (whomever you may be, a film enthusiast or a friend, a sucker for movie blogs or my wife) the chance to watch the complete film. Enjoy! Hope to see you again…

∗ There is no intention to breach copyright with the film’s exposure in the blog, as it is presented here exclusively for educational purposes. ∗

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August 2015. ooooo ooooo ooooo ooooo ooooo ooooo ooooo ooooo Ricardo Pizzeghello.

6 thoughts on “TOWARDS A GREATER CANON : The First Year

    • Hey Lu, how are you doing? Thanks for your comment. I hope to continue with the blog for a long time. I have to confess though that it sometimes feels that I’m writing for myself. So I’m lucky to be a little narcissist. At least, I try to be my fiercest critic. Please, do keep coming back… Cheers, Ricardo.

  1. Hello Ricardo
    Love your blog and grateful to our mutual friend Guy for putting me on to it. I like your analyses and enthusiasm. Good luck with the project.
    Cheers, Barry
    PS. I hear that you follow JM Greer?

    • Hi Barry, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you comment; I’m glad you like the blog. Now, if I did not know Guy well enough I would be puzzled by your mentioning of this JM Greer. I bet he put you up for this as a joke aimed at myself. I googled the name and an exoteric website came up (“druid perspective on nature…” WTF!!) If that’s not the case and you’re serious, please forgive me but I don’t know any JM Greer. Cheers. Ricardo.

      • Oops. Sorry Ricardo. Don’t think it was joke but maybe references to wrong person. JMG writes many books about the Long Descent, i.e. the slow collapse of US (Western) civilisation.
        Cheers, Barry

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