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Old January 11th, 2008, 09:10 AM   #1
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What are some good movies to learn from?

I want to make indie films and would like to watch a few movies that explore unconvential camera techniques, interesting shots, great cinematography without cgi, overall something you'd be told to watch in film school for aspiring directors/film makers?

Any movies come to mind?
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Old January 11th, 2008, 10:36 AM   #2
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My film professor has passed down a list to me of "Classic Films for a Cineaste to Watch". Its a packed list, which I have seen over 75% of it, but it really does help.

"With the caveat that some of these generic categories overlap, and that some of these films could arguably be placed within a different genre, here are my picks of the “best” films (more or less in order of preference within each genre) produced up to 2006. I’ve tried to limit my selection to five films in each category.

But remember: as the British Film Institute eloquently says about their list of best films, “[this] list is intended, and offered, as a starting-point for any discussion, rather than as an end to one.”



Best Western film:
The Searchers (1956)
Unforgiven (1992)
Red River (1948)
Shane (1953)
The Wild Bunch (1969)

Best Musical film:

Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
The Band Wagon (1953)
Cabaret (1972)

Best Horror film:
28 Days Later (2002)
Quatermass and the Pit (1967)
Village of the Damned (1960)
Nosferatu (1922)
Scream (1996)

Best Science Fiction film:
Aliens (1986)
The Blob (1958)
I Married a Monster From Outer Space (1958)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Planet of the Apes (1967)

Best Comedy film:
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Pillow Talk (1959)
The General (1926)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)

Best Documentary film:
The Civil War series (1990)
The Thin Blue Line (1989)
Night and Fog (1955)
Sherman’s March (1986)
Nanook of the North (1922)

Best Literary Adaptation:
Richard III (1995)
The Duelists (1977)
Barry Lyndon (1975)
The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
The Conformist (1969)

Best Romantic Melodrama:

Emma (1996)
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
A Room With a View (1985)
The Flesh and the Devil (1927)
All That Heaven Allows (1955)

Best Crime film:

The Godfather Trilogy (1971-1990)
North by Northwest (1959)
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Double Indemnity (1945)
Out of the Past (1947)

Best Action film:
The Seven Samurai (1954)
Beau Geste (1939)
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Best War film:
Napoleon (1927)
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Come and See (1985)

Best Animated film:
Duck Amuck (1953)
Dumbo (1941)
The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)
A Close Shave (1995)
Are We Still Married? (Stille Nacht II) (1991)

Best Religious film:
The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1965)
Anything by Robert Bresson, but especially A Man Escaped (1956), L’Argent (1983), and Pickpocket (1959)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
Ordet (1954)
The Ten Commandments (1954)

Honorable Mention:
The 400 Blows (1959)
Pandora’s Box (1928)
Wings of Desire (1987)
Man With A Movie Camera (1929)
Koyaanisqatsi (1983)

Guilty Pleasures:
Zombie films like Night of the Living Dead (1969) and Dawn of the Dead (1975)
Early James Bond films, especially From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), You Only Live Twice (1967), and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
This Is Spinal Tap (1986)

Most overrated:
Anything by Jean-Luc Godard
Italian films
Most of the leftist “art films” of the 1960’s and 70’s
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Films starring Nicholas Cage
“Indie” films

I hope it helps. Oh, and he hates Nicholas Cage with a passion, which I agree - he is a emotionless actor.
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Old January 13th, 2008, 06:50 AM   #3
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Why are most of these movies very old movies?
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Old January 13th, 2008, 07:18 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Seun Osewa View Post
Why are most of these movies very old movies?
Because so many current theatrial films are nothing more than trailers for the videogames and fast-food marketing tie-ins where the real money is made. Lot's of action and CGI effects, damned little story and characterization.

Watched the restored version of "Battleship Potemkin" last night - amazing what can be done to tell a story with nothing more than gesture, lighting, and montage.
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Old January 13th, 2008, 10:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
Watched the restored version of "Battleship Potemkin" last night - amazing what can be done to tell a story with nothing more than gesture, lighting, and montage.
I haven't watched the whole movie, only parts of it, but I think it would have to be told different for today's audiences. I remember one scene where soldiers storm up the stairs in Odessa, and it seems to be going on forever. You see them run and run and run and run and run. The stairs are only a hundred meters or so, for our perception today the scene is just 5 times too long and seems to use the same (or very similar) pictures over and over again. Very well done at the time, and probably very impressive for the original audience - but I rather watch more modern movies (except for research).

Adam, does your professor also hate Orson Welles, or why isn't Citizen Kane on the list?


Quote:
Why are most of these movies very old movies?
Some movies are considered to have set the ground for a certain style/technique whatever. For example the propaganda movies by Leni Riefenstahl with camera angles never used before influenced many modern movies and I guess most car commercials (a commercial is not so different from propaganda). The visual quotes used from an original movie become a part of the visual language of filmmaking. It never hurts to see its origins.
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Old January 13th, 2008, 02:47 PM   #6
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Once Upon a Time In the West
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Old January 14th, 2008, 06:42 AM   #7
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Sorry but this list is missing the most important category...

Film Noir
1. The 3rd Man - 1949
2. Double Indemnity - 1944
3. LA Confidential - 1997
4. Brick - 2005
5. The Big Sleep - 1946
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Old January 14th, 2008, 09:05 AM   #8
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[QUOTE=Heiko Saele;807644]I haven't watched the whole movie, only parts of it, but I think it would have to be told different for today's audiences. I remember one scene where soldiers storm up the stairs in Odessa, and it seems to be going on forever. You see them run and run and run and run and run. The stairs are only a hundred meters or so, for our perception today the scene is just 5 times too long and seems to use the same (or very similar) pictures over and over again. Very well done at the time, and probably very impressive for the original audience - but I rather watch more modern movies (except for research).

[QUOTE]

Modern movies can have even more temporal stretch, give how every bullet can fly past in slow motion, so the Odessa steps sequence would be rather tame in that regard: perhaps it would last even longer in a current film!
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Old January 14th, 2008, 12:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Adam Chapman View Post
My film professor has passed down a list to me of "Classic Films for a Cineaste to Watch"...
Sad to see that your film professor confuses classic films with (mostly) Hollywood films, doesn't know of any good foreign films and dismisses entirely all indie films.
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Old January 14th, 2008, 01:16 PM   #10
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a can of worms...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vincent View Post
I want to make indie films and would like to watch a few movies that explore unconvential camera techniques, interesting shots, great cinematography without cgi, overall something you'd be told to watch in film school for aspiring directors/film makers?

Any movies come to mind?
There is some disagreement over what is good, bad, classic, indie, etc. Take every opinion with a grain of salt and use what information you can.

My 2c:

"Dead Man" (1995) dir. Jim Jarmusch
"Kids" (1995) dir. Larry Clark
"La bęte lumineuse" (1982) dir. Pierre Perrault
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Old January 14th, 2008, 04:03 PM   #11
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Indie films

Here are just a few films, there are to many to list here, but start with these.

'Breathless' cinematography by Raoul Coutard
Amazing handheld work
'Chinatown' cinematography by John Alonzo
The framing builds suspense
'In the Mood for love' cinematography by Christopher Doyle
The close framing
'Sunrise' cinematography by Charles Rosher and Karl Struss
Shots that go on for ever, in cameras tricks

Buy or rent 'Vision of Light' a documentary on Cinematographers it will expose you to amazing films. Read Shot by Shot and if you can find it Bare Bones Camera Course for Film and Video by Tom Schroeppel.

David H Castillo
Director of Photography
Blue Barn Pictures, INC
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Old January 14th, 2008, 04:30 PM   #12
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YOU have to decide what films to emulate.
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Old January 15th, 2008, 10:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas View Post
Sad to see that your film professor confuses classic films with (mostly) Hollywood films, doesn't know of any good foreign films and dismisses entirely all indie films.

This is the American list. The list is for students, that live in America, and who wants to shoot American style films. That list is filled mostly with American films because that is what is popular to the general public in America.

Who would of thought?

For foreign films, we have the BFI list.

British Film Institute list of the top 100 British films:
http://www.bfi.org.uk/features/bfi100/

Much love.

Heiko - I agree with you, I believe Citizen Kane should be on there. It is one of my favorite ones. For his reason, I don't know.
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