Cine-East Film Club: The First 50 Presentations

by George_East on August 31, 2014

Film projectorWith the presentation of Terry Gilliam’s fantastical comedy, The Fisher King dedicated to Robin Williams, the Cine-East Film Club reached its  half century.  When I started the feature a couple of years back (yes, my intention of weekly posts has for one reason or another not lived up to reality) was to provide a regular film feature which would cover the full variety of films: classics, lost gems, cult favourites and just films I love, from all parts of the world, all periods and of all kinds.     My inspiration was the great Moviedrome seasons of curated films that lit up Sunday nights on BBC2 in the late 1980s and early 1990s (with those wonderful introductions by Alex Cox and then Mark Cousins).

My aim was to provide a list of films that would celebrate the sheer diversity of great cinema (in particular steering well away from much of the contents of the godawful greatest film lists found on IMDB or in Empire magazine, which give the impression that only Hollywood makes films and that cinema started with Jaws)The idea was that if you watched the films featured (either for the first time or revisiting) you would hopefully build up a view of the sheer artistic possibility of cinema.

So, how have I done? The Cine-East Film Club has become, wholly unintentionally, something of a Dead Film Icons Club over the last year, as one after another director or actor has bitten the dust, with presentation dedications to Karen Black, Peter O’Toole, Joan Fontaine, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Vera Chytilova, Maximilian Schell , Bob Hoskins, Harold Ramis and Robin Williams – with a few more to come! Please, please can someone give Kirk Douglas a dose of something to keep him going for a few more years yet!

This deathfest has thrown back some of the films I intended to present.  Of the 50 films that have featured, 28 are from the US (both independents and Hollywood), 9 from Britain, 5 from France and 2 from Japan and Italy.  The balance is made up of single film from the cinemas of Germany, Poland, Austria and the then Czechoslovakia).    So that is nothing from Africa, South America or Australasia, and indeed nothing from the two most populous countries: China and India.

The chronological spread has been broad.  The earliest film presented so far is the original horror film the expressionist masterpiece The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (now in some selected cinemas in a beautifully restored version) from 1920 (one of three films to appear from the silent era – all from different countries); the most recent George Clooney’s monochrome take on McCarthyism, Good Night and Good Luck from 2005).   The most popular decade is the 1940s with 10 films followed by 7 films from the 1950s and to me surprisingly 7 from the 1990s.

Two films directed by each of Stanley Kubrick, Sam Peckinpah, Alfred Hitchcock and Clint Eastwood have featured.

I am deeply conscious of the fact that the long promised John Ford western has not yet appeared (and what a choice there is to be had amongst his opus).  Among the giant directors of classical Hollywood there has also not been anything from the great Howard Hawks or the subversively brilliant glossy melodramas of Douglas Sirk, to name but three.  Oh and nothing directed by perhaps the greatest genius of all American directors, Orson Welles (though one of his greatest acting performances has featured, as Harry Lime in Carol Reed’s The Third Man).

Although we have had an MGM musical or two and a universal horror picture, there has been no Warner Brothers gangster picture, and shockingly no true film noir (even though after the western it is probably my favourite genre).    Additionally there have been no shorts and no animation.

Of the icons of cinema – we’ve had Gene Kelly, Fred and Ginger, Garbo, Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda and Clint Eastwood,  but no Cagney, Bogart or Monroe (again to name but three).

Moving away from Hollywood, Japanese cinema has been represented by both Akira Kurosawa and Yosijuro Ozu, but there has not been anything yet by Kenji Mizoguchi or Mikio Naruse, of the big four.     Of the Italian greats, films from Rossellini and Fellini have featured, but nothing so far from Visconti, Da Sica, Pasolini or Bertoluci.    There has been nothing from the Scandinavians despite Ingmar Bergman probably being the first heavyweight arthouse director I ever got into.

There has been nothing from the great Soviet directors of the 1920s, nothing from the French New Wave who reinvented the language of cinema in the early 1960s or from Brazil’s revolutionary Cine Novo movement of the 1960s, or the German New Wave of the 1970s.  So so many films I can’t wait to feature.

As a reminder the first 50 films to feature were as follows (there is no link to #14, as sadly the post got lost in the technical glitches we had with the blog back in December 2012).  Looking back at them – I think you could do a lot worse than spend 50 evenings watching them.

#1: 1952: Singin’ In The Rain (Gene Kelly/Stanley Donen);

#2: 1957: Kanal (Andrzej Wajda)

#3: 1920: The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Robert Weine);

#4: 1937: La Grande Illusion (Jean Renoir)

#5: 1979: Alien (Ridley Scott);

#6: 1949: Passport To Pimlico (Henry Cornelius);

#7: 1990: Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese);

#8: 1972: Junior Bonner (Sam {Peckinpah);

#9: 1976: The Outlaw Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood);

#10: 1947: Record of A Tenement Gentleman (Yosijuro Ozu);

#11: 1950: Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa);

#12: 1980: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick);

#13: 1953: Wages of Fear (Georges Cluzot);

#14: 1992: Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino);

#15: 1946: It’s A Wonderful Life (Frank Capra);

#16: 1949: The Third Man (Carol Reed);

#17: 2001: The Piano Teacher (Michael Haneke);

#18: 1970: Five Easy Pieces (Bob Rafelson);

#19: 1982: This Is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner);

#20: 1957: 3:10 To Yuma (Delmar Daves);

#21: 2005: Good Night and Good Luck (George Clooney);

#22: 1944: Hail The Conquering Hero (Preston Sturges);

#23: 1973: The Wicker Man (Robin Hardy);

#24: 1963: 8 1/2 (Frederico Fellini);

#25: 1986: Blue Velvet (David Lynch);

#26: 1943: The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger);

#27:  1937: Shall We Dance (Mark Sandrich);

#28: 1957: 12 Angry Men (Sidney Lumet);

#29: 1941 The Wolf Man (George Waggner);

#30: 1957: Paths of Glory (Stanley Kubrick);

#31: 1976: The Killing of A Chinese Bookie (John Cassavates);

#32: 1926: Flesh and The Devil (Clarence Brown);

#33: 1927: Napoleon (Abel Gance);

#34: 1962: Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean);

#35: 1941: Suspicion (Alfred Hitchcock);

#36: 1944: Meet Me In St Louis (Vincent Minelli);

#37: 1964: The Diary of A Chambermaid (Luis Bunuel);

#38: 1999: The Talented Mr Ripley (Anthony Minghella);

#39: 1990: Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood);

#40: 1966: Daisies (Vera Chytilova);

#41: 1945: Rome, Open City (Roberto Rossellin);

#42: 1977: Cross of Iron (Sam Peckinpah);

#43: 2002: Etre et Avoir (Nicolas Philibert);

#44: 1979: Life of Brian (Terry Jones);

#45: 1980: The Long Good Friday (John McKenzie);

#46: 1936: Sabotage (Alfred Hitchcock);

#47: 1993: Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis);

#48: 1993: The War Room (DA Pannebaker/Chris Hegedus);

#49: 1930: All Quiet On The Western Front (Lewis Milestone);

#50: 1991: The Fisher King (Terry Gilliam).

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jackie_South September 1, 2014 at 2:02 am

On the subject of John Ford westerns, my train to Tucson took me through Lordsburg this afternoon!

Reply

George_East September 1, 2014 at 8:31 am

Without an attack by apache, I assume! I have a vague memory of you telling me that the geography in Stagecoach is wrong.

Reply

Eddie Kaye September 1, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Nothing from Australasia?

That does surprise me – Gallipoli perhaps? Even Mad Max?

I sense a challenge coming on Mr E.

Reply

George_East September 1, 2014 at 1:31 pm

I accept the challenge, Eddie. I have an absolute (if under seen) corker lined up to plug this particular gap. You’ll have to wait a few weeks as I have some other presentations lined up first, but not too long, I promise….

Reply

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