Here is a look at the latest thirty films in my Quest to See the 1000 Greatest Films. These thirty films were seen between Sept. 25th and Oct. 16th. A complete look at my quest can be viewed HERE.
Next up is what I believe to be the one and only Turkish film on the list - Yilmaz Güney's 1982 film Yol (#923). It had its moments but we should probably move on out of fear of falling asleep at all those non-moment moments. And speaking of falling asleep, next up is the sixteen plus hour German mini-series turned theatrical golliwog, Berlin Alexanderplatz (#924). Now Fassbinder is definitely a take him or leave him type of filmmaker for me (other than Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, The Bitter Tears of Petra Van Kant and The Marriage of Maria Braun, they all seem to blend together) and there are definite ups and downs to this epic viewing, but overall this critic was not overly impressed. This critic was impressed by the next film on his quest. Akira Kurosawa's twenty-third film, Red Beard (#925), starts off quietly and rises crescendo-like into one of the better works in the auteur's oeuvre. Turning back to the boredom side of things, Jean-Luc Godard's Sauve qui Peut (la vie) (#926) from 1980 is just godawful - and I say that as a lover of Godard's early work. In the eight year period from Breathless through Week-end, JLG directed no less than fifteen great works, several of which could even be called masterpieces. Since 1967, the auteur has given us nothing more than a sprinkling of good films (though none of them great) amongst a filmography of pompous, self-righteous claptrap. This film is definitely part of the latter group. Which, non-sequitor notwithstanding, brings us back to R.W. Fassbinder and his penultimate film Veronika Voss (#927). I suppose I would put this unique film, shot in black and white and made to resemble some sort of film noir/melodrama melange, in the aforementioned take him category.
Which brings us to Ken Jacobs' Star Spangled to Death (#935). As I alluded to above, all my regulars (those faithful readers and true believers out there - and you know of whom I speak) know full well my utter disdain for at least 80% of all so-called experimental cinema. Most of it is nothing but sound and fury, signifying nothing (yeah, I just used Shakespeare to diss experimental cinema) and I just do not get so many people's love for it. I will certainly never understand the love for someone like Brakhage. Really!? But I digress, for we are here to discuss a film by Ken Jacobs and not to pick apart the folderol that is the cinema of Brakhage. Well this one is most certainly not what we will come to call "Brakhage Bad." A look at imagery throughout the twentieth century, Jacobs puts together a halfway intriguing collage of film. Granted, the only interesting elements are the clips of old film (Dick Powell singing about the National Recovery Administration, old school animation from the likes of genius animator Ub Iwerks) while the rest (fellow avant-garder Jack Smith and his gang, various protest marches) is mere fiddle faddle that could have just as easily been fiddle faddled right onto the cutting room floor. One of the best films of the year and decade some say. Balderdash! So there.