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January 13, 2015 2:24 PM   Subscribe

Open Culture has published Akira Kurosawa’s 100 Favorite Movies
His daughter Kazuko Kurosawa described the list’s selection process:
My father always said that the films he loved were too many to count, and to make a top ten rank. That explains why you cannot find in this list many of the titles of the films he regarded as wonderful. The principle of the choice is: one film for one director, entry of the unforgettable films about which I and my father had a lovely talk, and of some ideas on cinema that he had cherished but did not express in public. This is the way I made a list of 100 films of Kurosawa’s choice.
posted by octothorpe (34 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
 
86. Stranger Than Paradise (Jarmusch, 1984) USA/ West Germany

This gave me a warm feeling.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:33 PM on January 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


Lists of "one X by each of 100 creators" is such a deeply Japanese thing to make. For reasons.
posted by Quasirandom at 2:41 PM on January 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


No "Star Wars", I see.

Poor George Lucas. He was made to suffer. It's his lot in life.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 2:50 PM on January 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


No Vincent Gallo? Fuck Kurosawa.
posted by xmutex at 2:52 PM on January 13, 2015


We can say a lot of things about George Lucas, but I wouldn't choose 'poor', except maybe out of a hat.
posted by dfm500 at 2:53 PM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Nice to see Totoro on there. Amusing to see Gojira.
posted by darksasami at 2:53 PM on January 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


94. Baghdad Cafe [Out of Rosenheim] (Adlon, 1987) West Germany/USA

I think this gave me the same feeling, GenjiandProust.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:54 PM on January 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


no murnau, wilder or olmi! oh and i wish there were more subtitled naruse too :P
posted by kliuless at 3:00 PM on January 13, 2015


His policy of one film per director yields some surprising, almost willfully perverse results. The Godfather, Part 2 over The Godfather? The King of Comedy over Goodfellas? Ivan the Terrible over Battleship Potemkin? The Birds over Vertigo? Barry Lyndon over pretty much anything else that Stanley Kubrick did?

Is it really controversial that he likes Godfather Part 2 over the original, or Barry Lyndon over the rest of Kubrick's oeuvre? I would have listed the same movies for Coppola and Kubrick.
posted by nushustu at 3:01 PM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Gojira (Godzilla) came in at #34. That makes me smile.
posted by KHAAAN! at 3:01 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


The footer with related links is interesting:

Tarkovsky's Top Ten

You can follow more at the bottom of that page, like

Kubrick's Top Ten

There are plenty more of them.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:09 PM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Godfather, Part 2 over The Godfather?

Let's just all agree that it's a good thing it wasn't The Godfather, Part 3.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:53 PM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure that I'd pick Barry Lyndon as Kubrick's #1 but it's definitely in my top 3 or 4 for him.
posted by octothorpe at 3:57 PM on January 13, 2015


Ingmar Bergman's favorite films.
posted by ovvl at 4:07 PM on January 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Barry Lyndon over pretty much anything else that Stanley Kubrick did?

Actually...yeah. Lyndon gets lost in the bustle of everything else Kubrick did, but Lyndon really is a great film. It's quiet and mannered and just damned gorgeous. I can easily see why Kurosawa picked it.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:08 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


So - I just saw Apocalypse Now for the first time last night (I KNOW!)
I was thinking about how sad I am that, in my opinion, that last truly great era of cinema was the 70s. After Lucas and Spielberg came along and dicked everything up for money and "adventure" and the action hero flick (Ok, I guess you could say Death Wish was a precursor to that kind of thing, but Arnie and the rest of the meatheads really took it to a whole other level), and I think it took until the 90s for "cinema" to try to return back to roots (yes yes, I admit, I'm not knowledgeable enough, and I'm sure you can point out some fantastic works in the 80s that deserve to be up there with the 70s, and certainly the 70s had their shitty movies, too... But...)

Kubrick, Kurosawa, Scorsese, and Coppola all were such great auteurs, and that whole style of theirs influenced so much and had such a strong cohesion...

So we have Tarantino and Fincher amongst some of the other great ones these days that have returned to some really good film-making, but something, even with them, has been lost, I think. And I think some of that is technology, and some of that is... era... It's like the 70s were the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end or something. Reagan spawned forth and the world has never recovered, physically, emotionally or cinematically. All we can do is try to recapture the greatness of days past.

Off to go read the list(s) now! (Maybe I'll go watch some of his 80s recommends to school myself so I can come back and tell me how dumb and idiotic I was with this comment).
posted by symbioid at 4:34 PM on January 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


There are plenty more of them.

If anyone wants the motherload of film industry top lists:

The Criterion Collection website hosts a number of famous folk top 10s. (Catch: Criterion selections only)

Several years ago I also linked the Rotten Tomatoes famous folk top 5s. And it's an ongoing feature so they've added a lot more since 2012.

Sight and Sound has an enormous collection of favorite movie top 10s from actors, directors, and critics, etc.

I don't know if they've been collected into one space, but it seems as though the three sources probably include lists from most of the top living directors.
posted by dgaicun at 4:47 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


My favourite Kurosawa film is Dreams. It's not in many critic's lists, but it always hits me really deeply and intensely every time I watch it. Makes me cry by the time the brass band shows up at the end.

Up there on the list with 'The Seven Samurai' & also the starwarzish 'The Hidden Fortress', I love the existential song the princess sings towards the end.
posted by ovvl at 5:01 PM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just want to know when filmmakers are going to finally begin granting Superman IV: The Quest for Peace the credit it deserves as an influential work. Enough is enough, goddammit.
posted by item at 5:44 PM on January 13, 2015


Hana-Bi is wretched. But #99, La Belle Noiseuse, is an absolute masterpiece. All four hours of it.
posted by grounded at 5:44 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Fascinating list, thanks for posting it. A copyeditor's quibble: "72. O, Thiassos" should be O Thiassos (no comma)—O is the Greek definite article.
posted by languagehat at 5:51 PM on January 13, 2015


Witness? Whales of August?
posted by ennui.bz at 5:56 PM on January 13, 2015


In Witness they have a cool barn-building sequence.
posted by ovvl at 6:22 PM on January 13, 2015


Interestingly, no Welles, except as an actor in The Third Man. And no Spielberg.
posted by wabbittwax at 7:25 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh but I like to see Running on Empty on lists like these. Such a great movie.
posted by wabbittwax at 7:29 PM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm not terribly surprised at Godfather II over I, or Apocalypse Now. I'm surprised MASH was the Altman choice. And Barry Lyndon for Kubrik.

Also, Django Unchained, which is an homage to pretty much everything, hadn't come out yet, so we can forgive the Tarentino omission.

Sadly, not one Wes Anderson movie.

/not really
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:54 PM on January 13, 2015


He is so right about Barry Lyndon being the best Kubrick.
posted by PinkMoose at 8:21 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would have picked Barry Lyndon as well. #TeamBarry
posted by michaelh at 9:07 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


almost willfully perverse results. The Godfather, Part 2 over The Godfather?

That is a bizarre thing to say given that it's a complete cliche to claim that The Godfather Part 2 is the only sequel to a great film that is either as good or better than the first film. I mean, that's almost the only thing anyone ever says about it now. I can see that you might or might not agree with that claim, but to suggest that preferring Part 2 over the original is "willfully perverse" is just, well, willfully perverse.
posted by yoink at 9:39 PM on January 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


The numbering is just sequential - in order of the release date for the movies. It doesn't show which ones he particularly preferred above others (I mean, it could have, but it seems very unlikely).

Great list!
posted by el io at 9:52 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think Witness is appropriate, but I would have picked Picnic at Hanging Rock, though the one I've seen the most often is Master and Commander.
posted by michaelh at 8:21 AM on January 14, 2015


When reviewing this list, I think it's important to consider why he picked these films. I don't think a lot of them are, on balance, great films. However, there are aspects of these films that recommend them, be it the staging, the filming, the art direction, editiing, etc. Perhaps, as in the case of Witness, it's just a single scene (the barn raising) that caught his eye.

The visual aspect of film was very central to Kurosawa, and a lot of these films are very strong in that aspect, to one degree or another, even if the story itself isn't the greatest.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:36 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thorzdad: “Perhaps, as in the case of Witness, it's just a single scene (the barn raising) that caught his eye.”
If memory serves me correctly, the scene where the kid witnesses the murder is very well put together too.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:56 AM on January 14, 2015


#56 remains one of my favorite looking films & the fog of ennui--brilliant. No wonder I like Kurosawa...
posted by xtian at 8:24 PM on January 14, 2015


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