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Old 10-23-2010, 05:38 PM   #16
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I suppose it was a weak decade for Asian film, at least compared to the 90s and 00s, or the 60s when all the post-war masters and Japanese New Wave guys were doing some of their best work. But you say "aside from anime and the rise of Hong Kong filmmakers" as though they don't go on to become two of the most fruitful and and artistically vital industries/areas in filmmaking for the next 20 or 30 years. Though yes, both areas become increasingly stronger into the 90s and especially into the last decade, with some of the best work in the world coming from China, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong (despite suffering a lot domestically in the 00s, guys like Wong Kar-Wai and Johnnie To keep getting better and garnering international acclaim) and Korea. But just the same I still (evidently) feel much of the best work in the 80s was being done by Asian filmmakers, despite being just the ground-work for greater things to come. Additionally, many of the Japanese New Wavers were still making films here and there this decade when they could, and Hou Hsiao-Hsien was quite arguably the single finest filmmaker in the world between 1983 and 1989 with 8 films, many of them stone-cold masterpieces.

1. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (Miyazaki, 84)
2. A City of Sadness (Hou, 89)
3. The Killer (Woo, 89)
4. Blade Runner (Scott, 82)
5. Once Upon A Time in America (Leone, 84)
6. Paris, Texas (Wenders, 84)
7. Down By Law (Jarmusch, 86)
8. Peking Opera Blues (Tsui, 86)
9. Mauvais Sang (Carax, 86)
10. Angel's Egg (Oshii, 85)
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Old 10-23-2010, 05:55 PM   #17
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7. My Dinner with Andre – Malle
If NSW hasn't already drowned you in his hugs, I will hug you for this one.
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Old 10-23-2010, 06:00 PM   #18
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I suppose it was a weak decade for Asian film, at least compared to the 90s and 00s, or the 60s when all the post-war masters and Japanese New Wave guys were doing some of their best work. But you say "aside from anime and the rise of Hong Kong filmmakers" as though they don't go on to become two of the most fruitful and and artistically vital industries/areas in filmmaking for the next 20 or 30 years. Though yes, both areas become increasingly stronger into the 90s and especially into the last decade, with some of the best work in the world coming from China, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong (despite suffering a lot domestically in the 00s, guys like Wong Kar-Wai and Johnnie To keep getting better and garnering international acclaim) and Korea. But just the same I still (evidently) feel much of the best work in the 80s was being done by Asian filmmakers, despite being just the ground-work for greater things to come. Additionally, many of the Japanese New Wavers were still making films here and there this decade when they could, and Hou Hsiao-Hsien was quite arguably the single finest filmmaker in the world between 1983 and 1989 with 8 films, many of them stone-cold masterpieces.

1. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (Miyazaki, 84)
2. A City of Sadness (Hou, 89)
3. The Killer (Woo, 89)
4. Blade Runner (Scott, 82)
5. Once Upon A Time in America (Leone, 84)
6. Paris, Texas (Wenders, 84)
7. Down By Law (Jarmusch, 86)
8. Peking Opera Blues (Tsui, 86)
9. Mauvais Sang (Carax, 86)
10. Angel's Egg (Oshii, 85)

LOL and of course you still have five Asian films on there. I love The Killer (along with most of Woo's HK stuff), but it's hard for me to justify putting it on a best of the decade list. It's the snob in me, I guess. I did manage to sneak Carpenter on, but he's such a great classicist it wasn't as difficult a choice.

I really need to watch the two Hou films I bought used.
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Old 10-23-2010, 06:28 PM   #19
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I don't agree that the best stuff was coming out of Asia anyway. In France you had the veteran New Wavers still going strong, along with the rise of the Cinema du Look crew (Beineix, Besson, Carax), the new humanist directors like Tavernier and Pialat, and the Atlantic-crossing Louis Malle.

Resnais: Mélo, Mon Oncle d'Amérique
Rivette: Le Pont du Nord, Merry-Go-Round, Love on the Ground, Gang of Four
Godard: Passion, Hail Mary, Detective, King Lear, Histoire du Cinéma
Truffaut (died in '84): The Last Metro, Confidentially Yours
Chabrol: Coq au Vin, The Story of Women, Cry of the Owl
Rohmer: Pauline at the Beach, The Aviator's Wife, The Green Ray
Varda: Vagabond, Le Petit Amour
***
Besson: The Big Blue, The Last Battle, Subway
Carax: Mauvais Sang
Beineix: The Moon in the Gutter, Diva, Betty Blue, Roselyn and the Lions
Tavernier: Round Midnight, Coup de Torchon, Sunday in the Country
Piliat: Under the Sun of Satan, A Nos Amours, Loulou
Malle: Atlantic City, My Dinner With Andre, Au Revoir Les Enfants

Also, Robert Bresson's last film L'Argent (1983) is pretty highly regarded.

Pretty wide range of works there.
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Old 10-23-2010, 06:49 PM   #20
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Lance, how do you feel about going back and adding our unfiltered lists (no director restriction) to each decade once we're finished?
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Old 10-23-2010, 06:58 PM   #21
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Not sure what's LOL worthy about anything there, since I think I made my case pretty well for some very strong films coming out of Asia during this decade, some of my personal favorites at any rate, despite on the whole being slightly weaker. But I thought film this decade from all over the globe was in a bit of a transition period or dip. Continentally, Asian film does pick up in the 90s quite a bit, though I think there might actually be fewer or just the same amount of Asian films on my 90s list as this one.

And all that French film is well and good, though many of the New Waver's did their best work in the decades prior (true of the Japanese New Wavers as well, but I don't see you making a case for them here), but French film almost always has something interesting happening. And just the same, I also feel their national cinema gets more interesting when Denis, Assayas and Desplechin really come onto the scene in the 90s.

In any case, I will say I feel the 80s was especially strong in genre filmmaking. Not sure why, something about the culture of the period perhaps, but I don't feel any reluctance at all including a number of nearly straight-up genre pictures on my list here (Nausicaa, The Killer, Blade Runner, Peking Opera Blues), as they demonstrate just as much bravura, imagination and aesthetic excellence as anything coming out of the art-house quarters around this time. Additionally, Robocop and Aliens just missed my list as well.
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Old 10-23-2010, 06:59 PM   #22
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Lance, how do you feel about going back and adding our unfiltered lists (no director restriction) to each decade once we're finished?
I think this is a fine idea. We should probably just dedicate a single thread for people to post all these lists in together, as many decades as they choose. And maybe another one for a top 20 or so all-time just for the hell of it.
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:10 PM   #23
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Not sure what's LOL worthy about anything there, since I think I made my case pretty well for some very strong films coming out of Asia during this decade, some of my personal favorites at any rate, despite on the whole being slightly weaker. But I thought film this decade from all over the globe was in a bit of a transition period or dip. Continentally, Asian film does pick up in the 90s quite a bit, though I think there might actually be fewer or just the same amount of Asian films on my 90s list as this one.

And all that French film is well and good, though many of the New Waver's did their best work in the decades prior (true of the Japanese New Wavers as well, but I don't see you making a case for them here), but French film almost always has something interesting happening. And just the same, I also feel their national cinema gets more interesting when Denis, Assayas and Desplechin really come onto the scene in the 90s.

In any case, I will say I feel the 80s was especially strong in genre filmmaking. Not sure why, something about the culture of the period perhaps, but I don't feel any reluctance at all including a number of nearly straight-up genre pictures on my list here (Nausicaa, The Killer, Blade Runner, Peking Opera Blues), as they demonstrate just as much bravura, imagination and aesthetic excellence as anything coming out of the art-house quarters around this time. Additionally, Robocop and Aliens just missed my list as well.
I agree with basically all of this, though I do feel that some of those New Wave guys put out stuff on the level of previous masterpieces. At any rate, they were all trying new things and were still vital to international cinema.

As far as the genre stuff, yes, this decade is well known for it, but it's still necessary for me to separate what I really enjoy in terms of pleasure from what I know to be art or exemplary cinema. I liked Robocop and Aliens as well, but they just can't compare to works by more important filmmakers. And as I said about Carpenter, he's got such a distinct style that I'm comfortable with acknowledging The Thing, which isn't my favorite or his most entertaining work, but is the most perfectly done.
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:59 PM   #24
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As far as the genre stuff, yes, this decade is well known for it, but it's still necessary for me to separate what I really enjoy in terms of pleasure from what I know to be art or exemplary cinema. I liked Robocop and Aliens as well, but they just can't compare to works by more important filmmakers. And as I said about Carpenter, he's got such a distinct style that I'm comfortable with acknowledging The Thing, which isn't my favorite or his most entertaining work, but is the most perfectly done.
Right, but it's always a fine line between art and pure entertainment, one that cinema has always had to struggle with. And I don't see any reason necessarily why genre filmmaking has to sit on one side or the other, or why pleasure should be mutually exclusive to high art or "exemplary cinema", as it's still just a matter of deriving pleasure in different ways. You see a lot of westerns, for just one example, being canonized in the great works of art, and a lot of them are straight genre exercises in the formal sense, but elevated to great art by the skill and vision with which great filmmakers crafted them.

Normally, I'm on your side on this, as I'm typically not much of a genre guy at all. But I do think the 80s saw a strong resurgence in this type of artful, powerful and sometimes innovative filmmaking filtered through extremely fun genre projects. The Thing is a great example. I think The Killer is another, personally favorable one. I think there's just as much acute primal human storytelling and bleeding-edge bravura filmmaking in Woo's best work that's just as relevant and worth parsing as anything by Rhomer, Varda or Hou, or John Ford (to go back to the genre auteurs) or anything in "serious cinema". Of course I do think that's rare in genre filmmaking, but it does happen and needs to be considered.

I feel like another hanging point in this discussion tends to be that genre films favor feelings over ideas to put it, uncomfortably, simply (again, the two are far from mutually exclusive, within the same film or between genre and art filmmaking). But I think the best genre films tend to operate through pure aesthetics, or pure cinema, to evoke emotional responses more often than intellectual stimulus. Action and horror being the two most vivid examples, most likely. And who's to deny the artistic merits of someone like Dario Argento, though I'm not personally a fan, a guy who works almost exclusively with pure visual and aural aesthetics to create his art, something genre films mold to quite exceptionally. Similarly, Woo's work in the action genre, Sirk's in melodrama, or Seijun Suzuki's in the yakuza/crime genre make big artistic impressions through typical formula, though they tend to be exceptions to the rule.

I'm rambling, but realizing how that a lot of my favorite filmmakers in the art-house sect tend to work in similar ways though. Many of my favorites are "sensualists" like Wong Kar-Wai, Claire Denis, Michael Mann, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Antonioni, David Lynch at his best, etc. All filmmakers who manipulate the medium in "purer" ways to achieve more visceral, emotional currents... less tangible and certainly less literary cinematic ideas. Heh, I almost think I should be more of a genre fan than I typically am. But yeah, that's because a lot of it does fall short of art or "importance".
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Old 10-23-2010, 08:07 PM   #25
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Looks like a deleted scene from Avatar.
Hah, but speaking of, and a chance to go off topic.... The extended-extended blu-ray of that comes out next month I believe. The lady-friend's folks have a 100'' HD home theater set up in their house, and I look forward watching that there while getting some drank on.
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Old 10-23-2010, 08:20 PM   #26
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1. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (Kershner, '80)
2. Aliens (Cameron, '86)
3. Blade Runner (Scott, '82)
4. The Shining (Kubrick, '80)
5. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Spielberg, '84)
6. Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (Meyer, '82)
7. The Natural (Levinson, '84)
8. Back to the Future (Zemeckis, '85)
9. Batman (Burton, '89)
10. Clue (Lynn, '85)
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Old 10-23-2010, 08:20 PM   #27
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Right, but it's always a fine line between art and pure entertainment, one that cinema has always had to struggle with. And I don't see any reason necessarily why genre filmmaking has to sit on one side or the other, or why pleasure should be mutually exclusive to high art or "exemplary cinema", as it's still just a matter of deriving pleasure in different ways. You see a lot of westerns, for just one example, being canonized in the great works of art, and a lot of them are straight genre exercises in the formal sense, but elevated to great art by the skill and vision with which great filmmakers crafted them.
That sounds good on the surface when you're talking about something like Stagecoach or Rio Bravo, I guess. But no way in hell are films like Robocop, Aliens, or The Killer on the same level of The Searchers, My Darling Clementine, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, to name a few.
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Old 10-23-2010, 08:36 PM   #28
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That sounds good on the surface when you're talking about something like Stagecoach or Rio Bravo, I guess. But no way in hell are films like Robocop, Aliens, or The Killer on the same level of The Searchers, My Darling Clementine, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, to name a few.
Well, if you say so.
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Old 10-23-2010, 09:48 PM   #29
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1. Raging Bull (dir. Martin Scorsese, 1980)
2. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (dir. Paul Schrader, 1985)
3. Blade Runner (dir. Ridley Scott, 1982)
4. The Empire Strikes Back (dir. Irvin Kershner, 1980)
5. Raiders of the Lost Ark (dir. Steven Spielberg, 1981)
6. Hannah and Her Sisters (dir. Woody Allen, 1986)
7. Do the Right Thing (dir. Spike Lee, 1989)
8. The Thing (dir. John Carpenter, 1982)
9. Blue Velvet (dir. David Lynch, 1986)
10. Amadeus (dir. Milos Forman, 1984)
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Old 10-23-2010, 09:55 PM   #30
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Blue Velvet and Mishima were up there for me too. Empire is due for a rewatch, personally. Or rather it would be if these fucking things ever come out on blu-ray.
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