See Jean-Luc Godard’s Lists of Favorite Films From 1956 to 1965

“I write essays in the form of novels, or novels in the form of essays. I’m still as much of a critic as I ever was during the time of Cahiers du cinéma. The only difference is that instead of writing criticism, I now film it,” said one of the world’s greatest living artists and filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard, whose latest work Adieu au Langage (Goodbye to Language) premiered earlier this year.

And as today marks his 84th birthday, let’s take a look at some of his cinematic favorites from the beginning of his career.

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1956

01. Mr Arkadin (Orson Welles)
02. Elena et les hommes (Jean Renoir)
03. The Man Who Knew Too Much (Alfred Hitchcock)
04. Bus Stop (Joshua Logan)
05. Slightly Scarlet (Allan Dwan)
06. The Saga of Anatahan (Josef von Sternberg)
07. Un Condamne a mort s’est echappe (Robert Bresson)
08. Fear (Roberto Rossellini)
09. Bhowani Junction (George Cukor)
10. My Sister Eileen (Richard Quine)

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1957

 01. Bitter Victory (Nicholas Ray)
02. The Wrong Man (Alfred Hitchcock)
03. Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (Frank Tashlin)
04. Hollywood or Bust (Frank Tashlin)
05. Les Trois font la paire (Sacha Guitry)
06. A King in New York (Charlie Chaplin)
07. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (Fritz Lang)
08. The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz (Luis Bunuel)
09. Sawdust and Tinsel (Ingmar Bergman
10. Saint Joan (Otto Preminger)

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1958

 01. The Quiet American (Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
02. Journey into Autumn (Ingmar Bergman)
03. Bonjour Tristesse (Otto Preminger)
04. Montparnasse 19 (Jacques Becker)
05. Une Vie (Alexandre Astruc)
06. Man of the West (Anthony Mann)
07. Touch of Evil (Orson Welles)
08. L’Eau vive (Francois Villiers)
09. White Nights (Luchino Visconti)
10. Le Temps des oeufs durs (Norbert Carbonnaux)

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1959

 01. Pickpocket (Robert Bresson)
02. Deux Hommes dans Manhattan (Jean-Pierre Melville)
03. Les Rendez-vous du diable (Haroun Tazieff)
04. Moi, un Noir (Jean Rouch)
05. La Tete contre les murs (Georges Franju)
06. Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe (Jean Renoir)
07. Hiroshima, mon amour (Alain Resnais)
08. Les Quatres cent coups (Francois Truffaut)
09. Les Cousins (Claude Chabrol)
10. Du cote de la Cote (Agnes Varda)

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1960

 01. Les Bonnes Femmes (Claude Chabrol)
02. The Savage Innocents (Nicholas Ray)
03. Give a Girl a Break (Stanley Donen)
04. Sansho Dayu (Kenji Mizoguchi)
05. Moonfleet (Fritz Lang)
06. Nazarin (Luis Bunuel)
07. Poem of the Sea (Alexander Dovzhenko)
08. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock)
09. Le Testament d’Orphee (Jean Cocteau)
10. Tirez sur le pianiste (Francois Truffaut)

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1961

 01. Two Rode Together (John Ford)
02. La Pyramide humaine (Jean Rouch)
03. Le Testament du Docteur Cordelier (Jean Renoir)
04. Les Godelureaux (Claude Chabrol)
05. Paris Nous Appartient (Jacques Rivette)
06. Rocco and His Brothers (Luchino Visconti)
07. Exodus (Otto Preminger)
08. Lola (Jacques Demy)
09. Era Notte a Roma (Roberto Rossellini)
10. The Thousand Eyes of Dr Mabuse (Fritz Lang)

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1962

 01. Hatari! (Howard Hawks)
02. Vanina Vanini (Roberto Rossellini)
03. Through a Glass, Darkly (Ingmar Bergman)
04. Jules et Jim (Francois Truffaut)
05. Le Signe du Lion (Eric Rohmer)
06. Vivre sa Vie (Jean-Luc Godard)
07. The Flaming Years (Alexander Dovzhenko)
08. Sweet Bird of Youth (Richard Brooks)09. Une Grosse Tete (Claude de Givray)
10. Ride the High Country [G.B. Guns in the Afternoon] (Sam Peckinpah)

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1963

 01. Proces de Jeanne d’Arc (Robert Bresson)
02. The Exterminating Angel (Luis Bunuel)
03. The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock)
04. The Chapman Report (George Cukor)
05. Adieu Philippine (Jacques Rozier)
06. Donovan’s Reef (John Ford)
07. Muriel (Alain Resnais)
08. The Nutty Professor (Jerry Lewis)
09. Irma la Douce (Billy Wilder)
10. Two Weeks in Another Town (Vincente Minnelli)

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1964

01. I Fidanzati (Ermanno Olmi)
02. Gertrud (Carl Dreyer)
03. Marnie (Alfred Hitchcock)
04. Man’s Favourite Sport? (Howard Hawks)
05. The Red Desert (Michelangelo Antonioni)
06. A Distant Trumpet (Raoul Walsh)
07. Love with the Proper Stranger (Robert Mulligan)
08. Cheyenne Autumn (John Ford)
09. La Ragazza di Bube (Luigi Comencini)
10. L’Amour a la chaine (Claude de Givray)

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1965

 01. The Enchanted Desna (Alexander Dovzhenko)
02. Winter Light (Ingmar Bergman)
03. Journal d’une femme en blanc (Claude Autant-Lara)
04. Young Cassidy (Ford-Cardiff)
05. Shock Corridor (Samuel Fuller)
06. Gun Hawk (Edward Ludwig)
07. Vidas Secas (Nelson Pereira dos Santos)
08. Yoyo (Pierre Etaix)
09. Lilith (Robert Rossen)
10. The Unworthy Old Peter and Pavla (Forman-Allio)

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 Bonus: Best American Sound Films

01. Scarface (Howard Hawks)
02. The Great Dictator (Charles Chaplin)
03. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock)
04. The Searchers (John Ford)
05. Singin’ in the Rain (Kelly-Donen)
06. The Lady from Shanghai (Orson Welles)
07. Bigger Than Life (Nicholas Ray)
08. Angel Face (Otto Preminger)
09. To Be or Not To Be (Ernst Lubitsch)
10. Dishonoured (Josef von Sternberg)

Check Out a Video Countdown of the Year’s Best Films

So far this week we’ve taken a look at John Waters’ top films of 2013, alongside Jean-Luc Godards own year end roundups from 1956-1965—but today we get another list in the form of a wonderfully edited video countdown looking at the top 25 films of 2013. For the past few years, Film.com’s David Ehrlich has been crafting his own visual guide to your favorite films of the year and this time around, he includes a healthy mix of mass appeal and the lesser known films we’ve fallen in love with over the year.

Ahead of our own look at the best of 2013, his countdown features some of our personal favorites—from Before Midnight and Upstream Color to The Act of Killing and The Great Beauty. Speaking to his list, Ehrlich noted:

There’s a brief intro to set the stage and paint a slightly broader picture of the year that was (with a few red herrings tossed in for good measure), but this video is ultimately a countdown of my favorite 25 films of 2013. I’ve played loose and fast with the eligibility requirements in the past, but this time around I thought it would be easier and more instructive to honor only those films that were publicly released in the United States during the calendar year of 2013 (my refusal to abide by this criteria in previous videos explains why Olivier Assayas’ Something In The Air and Abbas Kiarostami’s Like Someone In Love aren’t included this time around).

Check out the video below and stay tuned for our year end best coming next week.

Taking a Look Back at the Best of Barbet Schroeder on His Birthday

 

Born in Tehran in 1941, the son of a Swiss geologist and a German physician, Barbet Schroeder worked as a film critic with the influential French film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma and assisted New Wave pioneer Jean-Luc Godard on the 1962 film Les Carabiniers before releasing his opera prima in 1969: More. You may have been one of the 1.78 million American television viewers who saw his most recent directorial outing: a season three episode of Mad Men, "The Grown-Ups", which aired in 2009. To mark his 72nd birthday, take a look back at Schroeder’s long and successful career in celluloid.

 

More (1969)

Schroeder’s psychedelic directorial debut told the story of a couple addicted to heroin on the island of Ibiza, starring the adorable Mimsy Farmer and featuring a soundtrack written and performed by Pink Floyd.

 

La Vallée (1972)

In 1972, Bulle Ogier made a splash in Luis Buñuel’s masterpiece The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie. Less known is her other appearance that same year in Schroeder’s La Vallée, in which she plays the wife of the French consul in Melbourne. She goes into the New Guinea bush searching for the feathers of a rare exotic bird and ends up…(wait for it)…discovering herself. Pink Floyd was enlisted again to provide a soundtrack, which they recorded as the album Obscured by Clouds. Footage from the film was later incorporated in the 1980 horror film Hell of the Living Dead.

 

 

Barfly (1987)

Talk about a labor of love. Schroeder commissioned the original screenplay of Barfly—in which Mickey Rourke plays of Henry Chinaski, the perpetually drunk and down-and-out alter ego of poet Charles Bukowski—and then, as Roger Ebert reported, "spent eight years trying to get it made." Ebert noted that the director even "threatened to cut off his fingers if Cannon Group president Menahem Golan did not finance it." Thankfully for Mickey Rourke fans—and Schroeder’s own digits—Golan did.

 

Reversal of Fortune (1990)

Jeremy Irons won the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Actor for his chilling portrayal of Claus von Bülow, the German-Danish socialite who was acquitted of murdering his wife, Sunny (played by Glenn Close). Schroeder was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director.

 

 

Single White Female (1992)

Ever since Jennifer Jason Leigh’s psychotic turn as Bridget Fonda’s new roommate suffering from Dependent Personality Disorder in Single White Female, looking for potential living partners through the want ads has been tinged with a wee bit of fear.

 

 

Kiss of Death (1995)

While David Caruso nabbed a Razzie Award nom for "Worst New Star" for his head-scratching turn as an ex-con trying to lead the straight life with his family in Queens, a muscle-bound Nicolas Cage (sporting a super-coiffed yet oddly sinister goattee) delivered the bizarro goods as a local crime boss/homicidal maniac. The Washington Post‘s Hal Hinson wrote that Cage "dominates the camera, stealing scenes by the sheer intensity of his inimitable strangeness."

Noah Baumbach Talks His Intensely Charming ‘Frances Ha’

Woody Allen’s Manhattan ends with the final line: "You have to have a little faith in people." It’s a simple bit of dialogue, but entirely genuine and honest, holding a vast amount of emotional weight in its ease. Picking up where that sentiment left off is Noah Baumbach’s new film, the charmingly awkward black-and-white character study Frances Ha, whose leading lady stands out like a beacon of optimism, unwavering in her desire for more from life.

Throughout the last decade, modern meditations on post-collegiate ennui have become commonplace, but it’s rare to find a film that takes that tired convention and exposes it in a new light. Frances Ha not only reflects what it means to simply exist at that time in life and in that universe, but shows the beauty in the mistakes made along the way, underscoring the idea that just because something isn’t working doesn’t mean it’s broken. Baumbach has crafted a film that feels refreshing and contemporary yet harkens back to to such European cinematic masters as Francois Truffaut, Eric Rohmer, and Jean-Luc Godard in its casual essence, reminding us of what we love so much about the filmmaking of days past.
 
Co-written with the film’s brilliant and versatile star, Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha is infused with a unique magic that comes from a true meeting of minds. If you look back on Baumbach and Gerwig’s early work, it’s evident that the two are cut from the same cloth—both sharing an affinity for a particular kind of character’s journey, dealing with a sense of malaise as they meander through life, yet filled with a yearning for more. And whereas many of Baumbach’s film’s tend to err on the side of the misanthropic, Frances Ha is a film that makes you want to go out and engage in life. It’s an inspired and intelligent love letter to cinema that never stops moving while we follow the endearingly strange Frances as she dances from life to life.
 
At its core, Frances Ha is both a journey of self-discovery and a love story between best friends. With Gerwig’s frank yet tender touch, we see a realistic look at a fractured female friendship and the mourning that comes from feeling as though you’ve lost a part of yourself to someone else. "We’re like the same person but with different hair," says Frances of her best friend Sophie, who begins to drift apart after getting involved in a serious relationship. We see Frances caught in the wake of their relationship, but her spirited self never diminishes, only dulls for a moment before realizing her ambitions as a modern dancer and choreographer. As we wander with her through her days from Brooklyn to Chinatown to Paris, we begin to admire her boldness and realize that Baumbach cast a spell on us, making us fall in love with his star just as he did behind the camera.
 
Last week I got the chance to sit down with Baumbach to talk about his desire to showcase Gerwig’s talents, the inspiration engrained in the film, and the heroic moments of everyday life.
 
I’ve been a big fan of Greta’s for a while now. She can be so funny yet dramatic and has such great physicality. Did you know you wanted to make something that would play to all her abilities?
Yeah, that’s exactly what I wanted to do. We’d worked together before and I felt that she was all of those things. But I thought we could do something where she could be the center of the movie and showcase all that she could do.
 
As an admirer of your work, you can see what a similar sensibility you two share as writers as well. What was the initial collaboration process like—was it an easy merging of ideas?
Yeah, the writing came somewhat organically because I first approached her more as an actor. I asked if she’d want to act in something I directed but I wasn’t sure what that would be, so I asked her what she was thinking about, or things she thought could be in a movie about a 27-year-old in New York. She has such great ideas and thoughts and observations and was so funny, I felt immediately like this was a movie.
 
You started by writing emails back and forth?
We’d send the same document back and forth and I would respond and then she would and we’d rewrite. After a while the document started to take shape and we said, okay maybe it opens this way, and then after a while we started writing scenes.
 
With the love-letter-to-New York essence of the film, the music, and the black-and-white style, it would be easy for people to make a lot of Woody Allen or Manhattan allusions. Were you more influenced by Truffaut and Rohmer and the New Wave cinema that you love?
Yeah, and I always feel inspired by those guys—Truffaut and Rohmer—in all my movies. But somehow in this one the influence is clearer. There’s something about this material that it could hold a lot of potentially referential moments without them feeling heavy. There’s a moment when Frances is over for the first night with the guys and she’s saying goodbye to the girls, the three of them walk back into the room—when we shot it I realized it in the first take—and they’re all dressed so anthropologically right for now in New York City–one has a hat, one has a tie and sweeter, one has a dress—but they all look like they’re in a Godard movie. 
 
And the way they moved felt so choreographed, it was a magic little moment that everyone noticed and fell in love with.
Well, by take 900, that’s what you’re seeing in the movie, because I was like, oh we need to keep doing this over and over to get this walk right. And it looks so French but it was not deliberate. It was just engrained, it was in the air, in the style, and I think that was true for a lot of the movie. So in cases where I was aware of a music reference or something that I might be drawing upon, it also felt right for the milieu of the film. 
 
I loved the juxtaposition between Frances’ physical and mental state. Mentally she was so stalwart and unable to accept change, but physically she never stopped moving—whether that was literally in her dancing down the street or hopping from apartment to apartment.
We never articulated it but I think it was also baked into it. And the locations being chapters, that discovery informed so much because it said everything you’re saying but it also provided us with just a really great structure for the movie. And I think we were aware of all those things but leaving them somewhat unarticulated. 
 
The trip to Paris was one of my favorite moments because it felt entirely authentic. You make this grand gesture to do something out of the ordinary or go somewhere exciting to escape your problems or yourself but these things inevitably stay with you no matter where you go. 
That’s true, and I always liked the idea that what in another movie would have been the right thing at the right time, like she meets somebody or it would change her life, that it would be the exact opposite of that. 
 
She goes all the way to Paris and is late for Puss in Boots.
We had the Paris idea fairly early. But what made Paris and allowed us to keep it and put it in the film was discerning that Sophie would call her then. Initially it was just a funny idea but we needed to find the story there too. I think that helped land it for us.
 
With all your films you seem to want to expose the extraordinary details of everyday life in a way that we normally wouldn’t perceive them in our own memory—taking the slightest of moments and bringing out the tenderness or absolute sadness. As a director is that a theme you find yourself returning to?
I’m interested in how psychology becomes behavior. Takes Frances. What she accomplishes at the end of the movie, out of context, is relatively minor in that she takes a desk job and she finds an apartment. But in the context of the movie, it’s kind of heroic. And, to some degree, it’s always trying to find the context for these things, these little movements we make in life. Like the end of Greenberg, where he goes and picks her up at the hospital, this sort of little thing for these characters means a lot. I’m always thinking of those things as cinematic and big and I see no reason why they shouldn’t be.
 
Something I admired about Frances was that she wasn’t disillusioned. I feel like that’s something rare in the portrayal of women in New York nowadays. Even when things were at their worst she wasn’t depressive or bogged down. Rather, she understood that, okay for now this is the shitty situation I’m in, but it’ll pass. And because she didn’t use that disillusionment as a crutch, she was able to have her heroic ending.
And that was clear to me, that our job as filmmakers was to protect her because she was so open. I wanted to reward her too, because she was making these movements and I thought that the movie should reward her both with the cinema of the movie as we’re watching it, but also even in the ending. It always just felt very clear to me that she should get her moment.
 
Now, this might sound stupid, but there’s a Beckett quote that reminded me of the movie—
This sounds smart.
 
We’ll see. He says "That’s the mistake I made … to have wanted a story for myself whereas life alone is enough." And that reminded me of this because it seems by the end Frances learns that she can just live and be and especially in terms of her friendship with Sophie they have this story that they tell each other, and by the end they realize that their friendship can work but real life does get in the way.
I wish I had that Beckett quote handy in a lot of interviews because I’m always stumbling around trying to say that exact thing. That’s a really good one. I think that’s absolutely true.
 
How was it, for you, returning to these similarly aged and similarly-minded characters as that of Kicking and Screaming? Now that you’ve had more time to reflect on that period of your own life, how do you perceive this time different and what did Greta, being someone that age, bring to it?
Well Greta was really my entree into that age group. So I wanted the movie to be about her character. Although I had a different trajectory than Frances, when I was 27 or 28, that was the period—I didn’t know it at the time—but I was about to go through great change, sort of professionally but more significantly, emotionally and psychologically. I went through a transition at that time in my life and I think I let go of a lot of ideas I had for myself that I thought would be true, or ideas of how I thought I would be, and it was difficult.  It was heard to let go of those things. But I also think that life and in experience since then, is a return to those moments—you become more ware of them and there are other events that are clearer transitions. But all this is to say that I relate very strongly to that period in time and that age. So I didn’t think twice about it or think very consciously about it, it was more oh this is very interesting to me.
 
Having the star of your film as the co-writer, does that make being on set much easier because Greta knew Frances inside and out?
Yeah, although essentially it’s the same. For Greta, in the same way I’ve always co-written everything I’ve directed, there’s some compartmentalization that goes on when I go to direct my own script. I somehow always have trouble remembering the lines even. I almost have kind unconscious amnesia, while also knowing at the same time that I do know this material so well, but I never take that for granted. There are times when I’ve taken it for granted and realized, you know even though I wrote this, I need to actually dig deeper as a director and figure this out better. And Greta I think went through something similar, both as a writer and an actor. When she was in it, she was so present as an actor that she could forget lines just the way she could forget lines if she hadn’t written them. And she might take time to find a moment as she might anyway, and that was the best way for it to be because that’s what you want from an actor—you don’t want them too prepared. Or at least, I don’t anyway, I don’t like when actors have it figured out. I like to figure it out with them.
 
What really held the film together was this love story between Frances and her best friend. That’s rare to see in this sort of woman’s self-discovery movie. She has these small romantic possibilities, but they’re of no consequence, and when she finally has that magical moment she so desired, it’s with Sophie.
We were aware that the normal assumption might be when she has that monologue at the party about wanting this moment with someone, the audience assumption would be that this would be with a guy. So we knew that we were giving it to her and Sophie, and maybe that would be a pleasant surprise. But it really came in the best way, it came very organically out of the character and the age and that time, because that was the central relationship and the central friendship. So it felt like we had to follow that and really tell that story. Also, Frances as a character has these blinders on, and until this thing is worked out with Sophie—which really means until it’s worked out for herself—she’s not going to accept any other substitutes. That means no other relationships with men and no other friends. But that was just so much of the character, so it was like well, the character’s not going to allow a romance, so weren’t not gong to force one on her.

Get Excited for the Criterion Collection’s ‘Band of Outsiders’ Release With Three Reasons

When you think of iconic 1960s cinema, its the work of Jean-Luc Godard that pops to mind first. And after his era-defining free-form homage to the American films that inspired him, Breathless—a film that would go on to spark the start of the French New Wave—he took the genre even further with his 1964 classic Band of Outsiders (Bande à part). Starring the enchanting Anna Karina, Sami Fey, and Claude Brasseur, the film tells the story of two restless young men who enlist the woman they both desire to help them commit a robbery. In his essay Band of Outsiders: Get Your Madis On, Joshua Clover states that:

For all of this, Bande à part (its French title) is a movie with a main motion—not of a noir or a policier, but a love story. Like so many Godard films, it’s a love story with a bullet in it. And like the most fiercely involved romances, it’s a map of difficult frontiers: between big city and still-rustic suburbs, prewar singularity and the masses of mass culture, between natural light and the color of money. Characters meet, notes the director, “at the crossroads of the unusual and the ordinary.” An encyclopedic litterateur, Godard recalls the sublime phrase of proto-Surrealist Raymond Roussel, envisioning the art of the new century as “the marriage of the beautiful and the trivial.” 
 
That might describe all of Godard; certainly all the film’s characters. Still, beyond the vexed romance of Arthur, Odile, and Franz, there is a more encompassing love story. Shot by Raoul Coutard in a filtered black and white that renders the Bastille neighborhood flat and workaday, the suburban landscape charged and ghostly, Band of Outsiders is more than anything a melancholy love letter to Paris and to time. These are complicated relationships, to be sure. For the French New Wave, cultural nostalgia was conservative unto anathema. Godard was never in the business of stopping time, from his celebrated jump-cuts to the irrevocable destinies which sweep his characters before them. The movie doesn’t come to judge the future, but to marry it. 
And with the film’s Criterion Collection Blu-Ray release coming next week (May 7th), they’ve release  their signature Three Reasons video for the film, which happen to be Band of Outsiders‘ alluring Anna, it’s effortless cool, and the feature’s poetry in motion.
 
Check out the video below and get your hands on a copy now.

Photo via

Timeless Originals: This Week on Hulu

Jonathon Demme has said, "I don’t think it’s sacrilegious to remake any movie, including a good or even great movie." And he’s right, some films only grow with adaptation and allow for a new perspective on a world we already love. However, some fall flat and prove entirely unnecessary—like last year’s remake of Straw Dogs, for example. What was point of that film? There’s no way it could have even compared to the cinemaitc audacity and penetrating violence of the Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 original in its cultural context and the repercussions it faced with censorship of the time. However, it’s always interesting when a director remakes is own work, as Michael Haneke did with Funny Games in 2007. But it’s the original film that one should always watch first. And this week, Hulu and the Criterion Collection will be highlighting their favorite originals, all later adapted into other works. From Wim Wenders’ philosophical meditation on love, longing, and the desire for existence in 1980s Berlin with Wings of Desire (later to become City of Angels) to Jean-Luc Godard’s seminal 1960 nouvelle vague classic Breathless (needlessly remade in 1983 with Richard Gere), these originals will remind you what’s it’s like to witness a truly incredible film for the first time. 


Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire, 1987


Anthony Asquith’s Pygmalion, 1938


Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress, 1958


Peter Brook’s Lord of the Flies, 1963


Roger Vadim’s …And God Created Woman, 1956


Jean-Luc Godard’s À bout de souffle (Breathless), 1960


George Sluizer’s The Vanishing, 1988

A Coiffure of Importance: This Week on Hulu

Never underestimate the prestige of good hair. Master of the perfectly sculpted coiffure, David Lynch once said, “Well, I’ve been blessed with good hair, or at least some people think it is. It is the way it is, sort of does what it wants to. So, yeah, I guess it is [a metaphor for your views on art and life].” And really, it is. A memorable, character-defining look is more than just sartorial choices and good lighting. So naturally, this week on Hulu they will be highlighting some of your favorite, most stylish Criterion Collection picks featuring the best in bobs, bouffants, and everything inbetween.

This week’s menu includes:

er
David Lynch’s Eraserhead

viv
Jean-Luc Godard’s Vivre sa Vie

po
William Klein’s Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?

kw
Masaki Kobayashi’s Kwaidan

pa
G.W. Pabst’s Pandora’s Box

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Ettore Scola’s La Nuit Varennes

cl
Agnes Varda’s Cleo from 5 to 7

Sacre Bleu! The Ten Most Infamous Moments of Cannes

The Cannes Film Festival, now in its 65th year and currently underway (it wraps the 27th), is known for red carpet fashion, parties, unjust Palmes, and outrageous accusations and statements made by auteurs against either the system or other directors. We’ve compiled a timeline of the most outrageous moments in Cannes history. 

1954:  Breast in Show
B-movie actress Simone Silva (who died when she was 29, we learned while reading her sad Wikipedia page) posed topless in photographs for her honorary title “Miss Festival 1954” with Robert Mitchum. To a world unfamiliar with breasts or Robert Mitchum, this was quite a scandale.

1969: Easy Riders
Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, and Co. showed up at Cannes and pretty much peed and drank their way through the town. Hopper, who was in the heyday of his hard-living, took home Best First Work, thereby legitimizing both independent cinema and doing lots of drugs. 

1985: A French Witticism!
It wasn’t the first time and won’t be the last time that an international director gets a faceful of pie. But when New Wave filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard was pied in the face by a Belgian journalist, he simply licked his pie off his cigar and said, "C’est ce qui arrive quand le cinema muet rencontre le cinema a textes," which translates to, "This is what happens when silent movies meet talking pictures."

1989: Do the Wrong Thing
When Spike Lee didn’t win the Palmes d’Or for Do the Right Thing (which went to Steven Soderbergh’s Sex, Lies, and Videotape)he blamed jury president Wim Wenders. Mr. Lee left the festival saying that at home he had a Louisville Slugger with Wenders’s name on it.

1991: Europoops
Lars von Trier brought his film Europa to Cannes, which won the Jury Prize. Upon the realization that he did not win the Palme d’Or (which went to the Coen Brothers for Barton Fink) and actually shared the Jury Prize (with Maroun Bagdadi for Out of Life), he stormed out of the festival brandishing his middle finger and publicly called jury president Roman Polanski a midget.

2001: Real Life Bloodsport
To celebrate the screening of 24 Hour Party People, the four actors portraying members of real-life punk band Happy Mondays took to the beach, where they pelted each other with dead pigeons.

2007: Unbeelievable
Jerry Seinfeld arrived at the festival mid-air dressed as a bee to promote Bee Movie, that year’s computer-animated clunker.

2009: The Triumph of the Balls
A herd of naked cyclists, led by Belgian director Felix van Groeningen, descended upon Cannes to promote La Merditude Des Choses (The Shittiness of Things). It didn’t win.

2011: The Great Hitler Debate
Lars von Trier, no stranger to Cannes controversy, created a fury when he suggested that he sympathized with Hitler. If anything, he managed to get powerful performance out of Melancholia star Kirsten Dunst as she fidgeted uncomfortably next to him at his press conference

Jean-Luc Godard Is Incommunicado

On Tuesday, the Motion Picture Academy notified the winners of this year’s honorary Oscars. Actor Eli Wallach, director Francis Ford Coppola, and documentarian Kevin Brownlow all received phone calls, but a fourth recipient proved harder to reach. Jean-Luc Godard, it would seem, is nearly impossible to get a hold of, and as of this writing may still not have heard about the accolade!

“We’ve been attempting to reach him since 7 o’clock Tuesday evening and we have as yet had no confirmation,” Bruce Davis, the Academy’s executive director, told THR yesterday afternoon. “We have tried by telephone, by fax, by emails to various friends and associates. We have sent a formal letter by FedEx. But we have certainly not been told he will show up at this point.”

Therein, of course, lies the rub. Even assuming Godard does get the news, the chances of his putting in an appearance are slim. Famously anti-Hollywood, he’s also anti-plane owing to the smoking restrictions. Moreover, if Godard did show, it’s unlikely that he’d just deliver a gracious speech. An angry rant would be more characteristic. Here’s hoping anyway.