February 2018


A Century of Film: 1912-2011

So when does film begin?  Does it begin with some of the Edison shorts?  Do you start with Méliès?  What about a specific film to start with like A Trip to the Moon in 1902 or The Great Train Robbery in 1903?  You could easily start in 1906 with The Story of the Kelly Gang, the first film to run over an hour, kind of the demarcation point for what constitutes a feature film (though the Academy defines it as 40 minutes).  The problem is The Story of the Kelly Gang, while running over an hour in length, today consists of only fragments and those fragments add up to only 17 minutes.  So where to begin?

All of this also brings up the question of where to end a history of film.  Every week new films get released.  Do you include them?  Do you need time to truly reflect on them?  You could cut things off on December 31, 1999 and call it a day but that leaves 17 years of films worth out in the cold and it accounts for considerably less than a century’s worth of films since feature films didn’t yet exist in 1900. (more…)

“You realize who this linen girl Tanya is?” (p 612 – Pevear / Volokhonsky translation)

My Top 9:

  1. Dr. Zhivago
  2. The Pawnbroker
  3. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
  4. The Collector
  5. A Thousand Clowns
  6. King Rat
  7. The Human Condition: Part III
  8. Thunderball
  9. The Train

Note:  That’s it.  After years and years of a list longer than ten, I can only come up with nine films and one of those, The Train, was actually nominated in the Original Screenplay category even though it was based on Rose Valland’s book. (more…)