Monday, September 30, 2002

Santayana - quote

" I think Dickens is one of the best friends mankind has ever had."

J B Priestly - quote

Dickens possess in full measure that fiercely creative will in which Thackeray a big but slack and soft man is defficient. He had all the gifts of a master except the fiercely creative will that lifts an artist above bad luck and an unpropitius time.
J B Priestly. 'Literature and Western man'

Friday, September 27, 2002


"art is like digging up a hundred tonnes of dirt, carrying it out of the hole a sack at a time, then sifting and washing the whole of it to get a gram of gold and making exquisite jewellery out of it"

Monologue of a bush postman

Monologue of a bush postman

There is no growth as such. Life is just a wasted time spent carrying tears and joys between people. It is spent walking the muddy shores of this river.
All the rivers are coming from this bush. The mud sucks in my legs. And my eyes are straining to see the silver streaks of fish among the blinding glimmer of the river.
Green breasts speckled with broken mirrors carrying the sun on the their faces. I wish I could sit somewhere. I wish I could rest my head on the gnarled thighs of that tree, within the dark green silence. But my rest is broken by the fact that, under me beneath this roots a million ants are toiling forever, building passages, chambers, storages and altars. The need of what they build are neither explained nor felt. I got up. Started walking again.slcw

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Samuel L Jackson as Jules

From Quentin Tarantino's blazing hot Pulp Fiction:

[Jules and Vinnie take Marvin with them in their car and Vinnie's gun goes off and blows Marvin's head off]
Jules: Oh! Fuck's happening!
Vincent: Man, I shot Marvin in the face.
Jules: Why the fuck did you do that! Oh man I've seen some crazy ass shit in my time!
Vincent: Chill out, man. I told you it was an accident. You probably went over a bump or something.
Jules: Hey, the car didn't hit no motherfucking bump.
Vincent: Hey, look man, I didn't mean to shoot the son of a bitch! The gun went off. I don't know why.
Jules: Well look at this fucking mess, man. We're on a city street in broad daylight.
Vincent: I don't believe it.
Jules: Well believe it now, motherfucker! We gotta get this car off the road. You know cops tend to notice shit like your driving a car drenched in fucking blood.
Vincent: Take it to a friendly place, that's all.
Jules: We're in the Valley, Vincent! Marcellus ain't got no friendly places in the Valley.
Jimmie: Now let me ask you a question, Jules. When you drove in here, did you notice a sign out in front that said, "Dead nigger storage"?
Jules: Jimmie...
Jimmie: Answer the question! Did you see a sign out in front of my house that said "Dead nigger storage"?
Jules: Naw man, I didn't.
Jimmie: You know why you didn't see that sign?
Jules: Why?
Jimmie: 'Cause storin' dead niggers ain't my fuckin' business!
Jules: Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie but I'd never know 'cause I wouldn't eat the filthy motherfuckers. Pigs sleep and root in shit. That's a filthy animal. I ain't eat nothin' that ain't got enough sense to disregard its own faeces.
Vincent: How about a dog? Dogs eat their own feces.
Jules: I don't eat dog either.
Vincent: Yeah, but do you consider a dog to be a filthy animal?
Jules: I wouldn't go so far as to call a dog filthy but they're definitely dirty. But, a dog's got personality. Personality goes a long way.
Vincent: Ah, so by that rationale, if a pig had a better personality, it'd cease to be a filthy animal. Is that true?
Jules: Well we gotta be talkin' about one charmin' motherfuckin' pig. I mean he'd have to be ten times more charmin' than that Arnold on Green Acres, you know what I'm sayin'?
Jules: There's a passage I got memorized. Ezekiel 25:17. "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you." I been sayin' that shit for years. And if you ever heard it, it meant your ass. I never really questioned what it meant. I thought it was just a cold-blooded thing to say to a motherfucker before you popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some shit this mornin' made me think twice. Now I'm thinkin': it could mean you're the evil man. And I'm the righteous man. And Mr. 9mm here, he's the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or it could be you're the righteous man and I'm the shepherd and it's the world that's evil and selfish. I'd like that. But that shit ain't the truth. The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be a shepherd.
Fabienne: Whose motorcycle is this?
Butch: It's a chopper, baby.
Fabienne: Whose chopper is this?
Butch: It's Zed's.
Fabienne: Who's Zed?
Butch: Zed's dead, baby. Zed's dead.
Captain Koons: The way your dad looked at it, this watch was your birthright. He'd be damned if any of the slopes were gonna get their greasy yellow hands on his boy's birthright. So he hid it in the one place he knew he could hide something: his ass. Five long years, he wore this watch up his ass. Then when he died of dysentery, he gave me the watch. I hid this uncomfortable piece of metal up my ass for two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the watch to you.
Esmeralda: What is your name?
Butch: Butch.
Esmeralda: What does it mean?
Butch: I'm American, honey. Our names don't mean shit.

And I'm wondering why the hell this film ain't on my favourites list.

From the verse of A C Swinburne:

Ah, yet would God this flesh of mine might be
Where air might wash and long leaves cover me;
Where tides of grass break into foam of flowers,
Or where the wind's feet shine along the sea.
- 'Laus Veneris' (1866)

I will go back to the great sweet mother,
Mother and lover of men, the sea.
I will go down to her, I and no other,
Close with her, kiss her and mix her with me.
- 'The Triumph of Time' (1866)

For the crown of our life as it closes
Is darkness, the fruit thereof dust;
No thorns go as deep as a rose's,
And love is more cruel than lust.
Time turns the old days to derision,
Our loves into corpses or wives;
And marriage and death and division
Make barren our lives.
- 'Dolores' (1866)

'Sea Fever' (1902) by John Masefield

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life.
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

The Chicago Tribune is bowled over by Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas, calling the first Bollywood film to feature in the competition section at Cannes ‘an exceptionally moving and deeply satisfying work.’

But the Observer’s Ryan Gilbey ‘cannot fathom why everyone is literally making such a song and dance about… a violent alcoholic narcissist with pyromaniac tendencies.’

Tunku Varadarajan, deputy editorial features editor and chief television and media critic of The Wall Street Journal, surveys the best and worst of 9/11 books.

The Postmodernism Generator. If you try this link you’ll find an essay that ‘is completely meaningless and was randomly generated by the Postmodernism Generator.’ Refresh the page and you’ll find another one. Good stuff!slrs

Fuck. An enlightening and entertaining article on the four-letter word.

Along with "cunt," "fuck" was excluded from dictionaries and almost all writing from the middle of the eighteenth century until 1960, when the Lady Chatterley trial was held, and both words were welcomed back from the Siberian gulags of condemned words. Not without difficulty, it has since made its way onto stage and screen. It must be said that an activity that is so popular and widespread has been poorly served by polite language.

Is the traditional concert-hall performance of classical music unsuitable for our excessively visual times?

In a concert, everyone has a role to play. The performer's artistry involves the controlled revelation of a structure in sound. The audience's responsibility is stillness and silence.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

Sam Mendes's follow-up to American Beauty, The Road to Perdition stars Tom Hanks and Paul Newman.

Lou Lumenick of the New York Post says Shekhar Kapur's new film The Four Feathers is the year's first serious Oscar contender. '...splendidly spectacular, intelligent and very well-acted...'

How Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami learned his craft making films about oral hygiene and school discipline.

Art / Design

'Art has to move you and design does not, unless it's a good design for a bus.'
- David Hockney

'Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.'
- A N Whitehead

'Art does not reproduce what we see. It makes us see... it is the expression of the profoundest thoughts in the simplest way.'
- Albert Einstein

'Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.'
- Pablo Picasso

'Everyone wants to understand art. Why not try to understand the song of a bird? Why does one love the night, flowers, everything around one, without trying to understand them?'
- Pablo Picassoslq


'Beauty will save the world.'
- Dostoevsky

'It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.'
- Tolstoyslq

The New York Times reviews Agni Varsha.

'The nature of reality is this: It is hidden, and it is hidden, and it is hidden.'
- Rumislq

'Sanity is madness put to good uses.'
- George Santayanaslq

'Anyone who isn't confused doesn't really understand the situation,' Edward R Murrow commented on the Vietnam war, but I suppose our ordinary lives too qualify for that description.slq

'You're mad because they lied to you? They lie to everyone! They lie to the fish!'
- Robert Duvall to Michael Douglas in Joel Schumacher's Falling Downslq

Friday, September 20, 2002

- 'Marciano vs. Simmons', by Eliot Elisofon (1951) for Life magazine

- Four Seasons III by Charles Wysocki


'The simplest Surrealist act consists of dashing down into the street, pistol in hand, and firing blindly, as fast as you can pull the trigger, into the crowd.'
- Andre Breton, Second Manifesto of Surrealism

'Surrealism, as I envisage it, proclaims loudly enough our absolute nonconformity, that there may be no question of calling it, in the case against the real world, as a witness for the defense. It could only account, on the contrary, for the complete state of distraction which we hope to attain here below. Kant's absentmindedness about women, Pasteur's absentmindedness about "grapes," Curie's absentmindedness about vehicles, are in this respect, deeply symptomatic[*].'
- Andre Breton, 1924, Manifeste du Surrealisme

*'There is an ascending gradation here in the consequences of absentmindedness. Kant was a confirmed bachelor who completely ignored women all his life. Pasteur on the other hand was involved once in a rather ridiculous incident when, during a meal, he carefully washed grapes in a glass of water, explaining to his guests the importance of eliminating germs from food--and then, distracted, drank the soiled water in the glass. As for Curie, his absentmindedness caused his death: he was run over by a carriage and killed while crossing a street.'
- Marcel Jean, The Autobiography of Surrealism

- The Elephant Celebes (1921) by Max Ernst

Ernst: 'How to overcome the disgust and fatal boredom that military life and the horrors of war create? Howl? Blaspheme? Vomit?'

In 1920 Ernst organized one of the Dada movement's most famous exhibitions in the conservatory of a restaurant in Cologne. Visitors entered through the lavatories and axes were provided so they could smash the exhibits if they felt so inclined.


'On one occasion [Max Ernst's father] omitted a tree from one of his landscapes. This was an embarrassment, and he went back to the forest to saw down the tree in question.'
- Wayne Andrews; The Surrealist Parade

Salvador Dali: 'The only difference between myself and a madman is that I am not mad.'slq

When asked the question "What is art?" Kurt Schwitters replied, "What isn't?"slq

A few strange, crazy verses from his brilliant 'Desolation Row' from the same album:

'Now the moon is almost hidden
The stars are beginning to hide
The fortunetelling lady
Has even taken all her things inside
All except for Cain and Abel
And the hunchback of Notre Dame
Everybody is making love
Or else expecting rain
And the Good Samaritan, he's dressing
He's getting ready for the show
He's going to the carnival tonight
On Desolation Row'

'Einstein, disguised as Robin Hood
With his memories in a trunk
Passed this way an hour ago
With his friend, a jealous monk
He looked so immaculately frightful
As he bummed a cigarette
Then he went off sniffing drainpipes
And reciting the alphabet
Now you would not think to look at him
But he was famous long ago
For playing the electric violin
On Desolation Row'

'Praise be to Nero's Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
And everybody's shouting
"Which Side Are You On?"
And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
Fighting in the captain's tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea
Where lovely mermaids flow
And nobody has to think too much
About Desolation Row'

For Fobbin. 'Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues' from Dylan's great album Highway 61 Revisited:

When you're lost in the rain in Juarez
And it's Eastertime too
And your gravity fails
And negativity don't pull you through
Don't put on any airs
When you're down on Rue Morgue Avenue
They got some hungry women there
And they really make a mess outa you

Now if you see Saint Annie
Please tell her thanks a lot
I cannot move
My fingers are all in a knot
I don't have the strength
To get up and take another shot
And my best friend, my doctor
Won't even say what it is I've got

Sweet Melinda
The peasants call her the goddess of gloom
She speaks good English
And she invites you up into her room
And you're so kind
And careful not to go to her too soon
And she takes your voice
And leaves you howling at the moon

Up on Housing Project Hill
It's either fortune or fame
You must pick up one or the other
Though neither of them are to be what they claim
If you're lookin' to get silly
You better go back to from where you came
Because the cops don't need you
And man they expect the same

Now all the authorities
They just stand around and boast
How they blackmailed the sergeant-at-arms
Into leaving his post
And picking up Angel who
Just arrived here from the coast
Who looked so fine at first
But left looking just like a ghost

I started out on burgundy
But soon hit the harder stuff
Everybody said they'd stand behind me
When the game got rough
But the joke was on me
There was nobody even there to call my bluff
I'm going back to New York City
I do believe I've had enough

Sam Peckinpah made a film called Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973). Bob Dylan did the soundtrack to the film and made a guest appearance on it too. The soundtrack had one of Dylan's most famous songs--'Knockin' on Heaven's Door':


'Mama, take this badge off of me
I can't use it anymore.
It's gettin' dark, too dark for me to see
I feel like I'm knockin' on heaven's door.

'Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door
Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door
Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door
Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door

'Mama, put my guns in the ground
I can't shoot them anymore.
That long black cloud is comin' down
I feel like I'm knockin' on heaven's door.'

Another song, titled 'Billy 1', from the album:

'There's guns across the river aimin' at ya
Lawman on your trail, he'd like to catch ya
Bounty hunters, too, they'd like to get ya
Billy, they don't like you to be so free.

'Campin' out all night on the berenda
Dealin' cards 'til dawn in the hacienda
Up to Boot Hill they'd like to send ya
Billy, don't you turn your back on me.

'Playin' around with some sweet senorita
Into her dark hallway she will lead ya
In some lonesome shadows she will greet ya
Billy, you're so far away from home.

'There's eyes behind the mirrors in empty places
Bullet holes and scars between the spaces
There's always one more notch and ten more paces
Billy, and you're walkin' all alone.

'They say that Pat Garrett's got your number
So sleep with one eye open when you slumber
Every little sound just might be thunder
Thunder from the barrel of his gun.

'Guitars will play your grand finale
Down in some Tularosa alley,
Maybe in the Rio Pecos valley
Billy, you're so far away from home.

'There's always some new stranger sneakin' glances
Some trigger-happy fool willin' to take chances
And some old whore from San Pedro to make advances
Advances on your spirit and your soul.

'The businessmen from Taos want you to go down
They've hired Pat Garrett to force a showdown.
Billy, don't it make ya feel so low-down
To be shot down by the man who was your friend?

'Hang on to your woman if you got one
Remember in El Paso, once, you shot one.
She may have been a whore, but she was a hot one
Billy, you been runnin' for so long.

'Guitars will play your grand finale
Down in some Tularosa alley
Maybe in the Rio Pecos valley
Billy, you're so far away from home.'

A useful link for researching literature: www.linkstoliterature.comslrs

Chapter 1 of Dostoevsky's Notes from the Underground:

I am a sick man. ... I am a spiteful man. I am an unattractive man. I believe my liver is diseased. However, I know nothing at all about my disease, and do not know for certain what ails me. I don't consult a doctor for it, and never have, though I have a respect for medicine and doctors. Besides, I am extremely superstitious, sufficiently so to respect medicine, anyway (I am well-educated enough not to be superstitious, but I am superstitious). No, I refuse to consult a doctor from spite. That you probably will not understand. Well, I understand it, though. Of course, I can't explain who it is precisely that I am mortifying in this case by my spite: I am perfectly well aware that I cannot "pay out" the doctors by not consulting them; I know better than anyone that by all this I am only injuring myself and no one else. But still, if I don't consult a doctor it is from spite. My liver is bad, well--let it get worse!

I have been going on like that for a long time--twenty years. Now I am forty. I used to be in the government service, but am no longer. I was a spiteful official. I was rude and took pleasure in being so. I did not take bribes, you see, so I was bound to find a recompense in that, at least. (A poor jest, but I will not scratch it out. I wrote it thinking it would sound very witty; but now that I have seen myself that I only wanted to show off in a despicable way, I will not scratch it out on purpose!)

When petitioners used to come for information to the table at which I sat, I used to grind my teeth at them, and felt intense enjoyment when I succeeded in making anybody unhappy. I almost did succeed. For the most part they were all timid people--of course, they were petitioners. But of the uppish ones there was one officer in particular I could not endure. He simply would not be humble, and clanked his sword in a disgusting way. I carried on a feud with him for eighteen months over that sword. At last I got the better of him. He left off clanking it. That happened in my youth, though. But do you know, gentlemen, what was the chief point about my spite? Why, the whole point, the real sting of it lay in the fact that continually, even in the moment of the acutest spleen, I was inwardly conscious with shame that I was not only not a spiteful but not even an embittered man, that I was simply scaring sparrows at random and amusing myself by it. I might foam at the mouth, but bring me a doll to play with, give me a cup of tea with sugar in it, and maybe I should be appeased. I might even be genuinely touched, though probably I should grind my teeth at myself afterwards and lie awake at night with shame for months after. That was my way.

I was lying when I said just now that I was a spiteful official. I was lying from spite. I was simply amusing myself with the petitioners and with the officer, and in reality I never could become spiteful. I was conscious every moment in myself of many, very many elements absolutely opposite to that. I felt them positively swarming in me, these opposite elements. I knew that they had been swarming in me all my life and craving some outlet from me, but I would not let them, would not let them, purposely would not let them come out. They tormented me till I was ashamed: they drove me to convulsions and--sickened me, at last, how they sickened me! Now, are not you fancying, gentlemen, that I am expressing remorse for something now, that I am asking your forgiveness for something? I am sure you are fancying that ... However, I assure you I do not care if you are. ...

It was not only that I could not become spiteful, I did not know how to become anything; neither spiteful nor kind, neither a rascal nor an honest man, neither a hero nor an insect. Now, I am living out my life in my corner, taunting myself with the spiteful and useless consolation that an intelligent man cannot become anything seriously, and it is only the fool who becomes anything. Yes, a man in the nineteenth century must and morally ought to be pre-eminently a characterless creature; a man of character, an active man is pre-eminently a limited creature. That is my conviction of forty years. I am forty years old now, and you know forty years is a whole lifetime; you know it is extreme old age. To live longer than forty years is bad manners, is vulgar, immoral. Who does live beyond forty? Answer that, sincerely and honestly I will tell you who do: fools and worthless fellows. I tell all old men that to their face, all these venerable old men, all these silver-haired and reverend seniors! I tell the whole world that to its face! I have a right to say so, for I shall go on living to sixty myself. To seventy! To eighty! ... Stay, let me take breath ...

You imagine no doubt, gentlemen, that I want to amuse you. You are mistaken in that, too. I am by no means such a mirthful person as you imagine, or as you may imagine; however, irritated by all this babble (and I feel that you are irritated) you think fit to ask me who I am--then my answer is, I am a collegiate assessor. I was in the service that I might have something to eat (and solely for that reason), and when last year a distant relation left me six thousand roubles in his will I immediately retired from the service and settled down in my corner. I used to live in this corner before, but now I have settled down in it. My room is a wretched, horrid one in the outskirts of the town. My servant is an old country- woman, ill-natured from stupidity, and, moreover, there is always a nasty smell about her. I am told that the Petersburg climate is bad for me, and that with my small means it is very expensive to live in Petersburg. I know all that better than all these sage and experienced counsellors and monitors. ... But I am remaining in Petersburg; I am not going away from Petersburg! I am not going away because ... ech! Why, it is absolutely no matter whether I am going away or not going away.

But what can a decent man speak of with most pleasure?

Answer: Of himself.

Well, so I will talk about myself.

An essay on fictional biographies such as Billy the Kid in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's magazine Headspace titled 'The Fantasy of Authenticity.' One example of the genre is J M Coetzee's The Master of Petersburg, based on the life of Dostoevsky. The following extract from the book is a monologue of the fictional Dostoevsky:

'What is it that frightens you, Councillor Maximov? When you read about Karamzin or Karamzov or whatever his name is, when Karamzin’s skull is cracked open like an egg, what is the truth: do you suffer with him, or do you secretly exult behind the arm that swings the axe? You don’t answer? Let me tell you then: reading is being the arm and being the axe and being the skull: reading is giving yourself up, not holding yourself at a distance and jeering.'

During my last vacation in Kochi, Fobbin handed me a book by Michael Ondaatje which he liked very much--The Collected Works of Billy the Kid: Left-handed Poems. I do not feel that my current fragmented state of mind is very suited to reading and so had not read a book through for quite a while. [Pierre Hadot wrote in Spiritual Exercises, 'Every era has to start this task afresh: learning to read and reread "old truths." We pass our lives in "reading,"... but we no longer know how to read, that is to stop, to free ourselves from our concerns, to return to ourselves, to leave aside our quest for subtlety and originality, to meditate calmly, to ruminate, to let the texts speak to us. It is a spiritual exercise, one of the most difficult: "People," said Goethe, "do not realize how much time and effort it takes to learn to read. It took me eighty years, and I am not even certain whether I have succeeded."'] But the fragmented style of Ondaatje's book seemed to vibe well with my mindscape and I found it an enjoyable browse-through.


From the book:
'while i've been going on
the blood from my wrist
has travelled to my heart
and my fingers touch
this soft blue paper notebook
control a pencil that shifts up and sideways
mapping my thinking going its own way'


'Jesus I never knew that did you
The nerves shot out
The liver running around out there
Like a headless hen jerking
Brown all over the yard
Seen that too at my aunt’s
never eaten hen since then'

On the book, from the web:
* The New York Times review from 1977
* Essay in the internet magazine it's a bunny
* A student's prize-winning essay

Laton A Huffman, whose photographs are used in the book.

Monday, September 16, 2002

Taking a look at the dozen films I have listed as my favourite in the section introducing myself on this weblog, I felt that if at all any among my choices would surprise a cineaste it would be The Mission. I took a look at what other critics say about this film directed by Roland Joffe and written by Robert Bolt.

Here are two reviews, both from the Washington Post:

1 ‘… as ponderous as it is powerful

2 ‘… everything a movie should be – magnificently produced, epic in scope, serious in theme – everything, that is, but good’

Among the awards this film starring Jeremy Irons and Robert de Niro won are the Palme d’Or at Cannes, the Academy Award for best cinematography and the BAFTA award for best score.


Another fact I noticed is that apart from The Mission, there are two other films in my list from 1986! (A spectacularly good year then, eh?) Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes that year and Oliver Stone’s Platoon was the recipient of the Best Film Academy Award.

The Observer asked its readers what they thought were the most memorable moments in film history. From more than 15,000 votes the paper compiled the 100 greatest film moments.

[If you are yet to see The Usual Suspects, don’t read about moment No 1. You’ll spoil the fun. Ditto about some others too, eg Seven. You’ve been warned.]

Came across in this list: Batty the android’s final speech as he is about to die at the end of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner:

‘I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate. All these moments will be lost in time. Like tears in rain. Time to die.’

Neil Jordan comments that the lines had always seemed to him to be a quote from Paradise Lost. I agree.sll

Derek Malcolm’s top 100 films. The list, which is limited to one film for a director, has two films from India – Ray’s Jalsaghar and (surprise!) Kamal Amrohi’s Pakeezah (‘one of the most extraordinary musical melodramas ever made’).

And a certain Mr Steven Spielberg doesn’t figure in the list.sll

The British Film Institute’s magazine Sight and Sound polls the world’s leading critics and filmmakers every 10 years to determine which films are currently considered the greatest of all time. Its editor Nick James claims the results to be ‘a touchstone for worldwide film opinion’. The results of the latest poll were published last month:

The Critics’ Choice:
1 Citizen Kane (Welles)
2 Vertigo (Hitchcock)
3 La Règle du jeu (Renoir)
4 The Godfather and The Godfather Part II (Coppola)
5 Tokyo Story (Ozu)
6 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick)
7 Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein)
8 Sunrise (Murnau)
9 8½ (Fellini)
10 Singin' in the Rain (Kelly, Donen)
11 Seven Samurai (Kurosawa)
12 The Searchers (Ford)
13 Rashomon (Kurosawa)
14 The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer)
15 À bout de soufe (Godard)
16 L'Atalante (Vigo)
17 The General (Keaton)
18 Touch of Evil (Welles)
19 Au hasard Balthazar (Bresson)
20 Jules et Jim (Truffaut)
21 L'avventura (Antonioni)
22 Le Mépris (Godard)
23 Pather Panchali (S. Ray)
24 La dolce vita (Fellini)
25 M (Lang)
26 The Story of the Late Chrysanthemums (Mizoguchi)
27 Barry Lyndon (Kubrick)
28 Ivan the Terrible (Eisenstein)
29 Les Enfants du paradis (Carné)
30 Man with a Movie Camera (Vertov)
31 Metropolis (Lang)
32 Some Like It Hot (Wilder)
33 Ugetsu Monogatari (Mizoguchi)
34 Wild Strawberries (Bergman)
35 Andrei Rublev (Tarkovsky)
36 The 400 Blows (Truffaut)
37 Fanny and Alexander (Bergman)
38 La Grande Illusion (Renoir)
39 The Magnificent Ambersons (Welles)
40 Modern Times (Chaplin)
41 Psycho (Hitchcock)
42 The Seventh Seal (Bergman)
43 Taxi Driver (Scorsese)
44 The Third Man (Reed)
45 Bicycle Thieves (De Sica)
46 Blade Runner (Scott)
47 City Lights (Chaplin)
48 Greed (von Stroheim)
49 Intolerance (Griffith)
50 Lawrence of Arabia (Lean)

The Directors’ Choice:
1 Citizen Kane (Welles)
2 The Godfather and The Godfather Part II (Coppola)
3 8½ (Fellini)
4 Lawrence of Arabia (Lean)
5 Dr Strangelove (Kubrick)
6 Bicycle Thieves (De Sica)
6= Raging Bull (Scorsese)
6= Vertigo (Hitchcock)
9 Rashomon (Kurosawa)
9= La Règle du jeu (Renoir)
9= Seven Samurai (Kurosawa)


Philip French of The Observer discusses the nature of the changes in this poll’s results over the last six decades. He also lists his own top ten and his choice of the best films made in the last two decades.sll

Saturday, September 14, 2002

Peter Mullan's The Magdalene Sisters wins the Golden Lion at the Venice film festival.

Ever wondered whatever happened to Barry Norman – the BBC TV film critic who suddenly vanished from his regular spot on the channel a few years back? I found out from the Guardian.

Tributes in the British media when ‘Britain's best-known film critic’ quit reviewing films last year – from the Guardian and The Independent.

Back in Pune. Back to the usual.