One-Vote Wonders From Sight and Sound's Greatest Films Poll
December 7, 2023 9:11 AM   Subscribe

BFI: 101 Hidden Gems: The Greatest Films You’ve Never Seen. “Hailing from every continent but Antarctica and spanning more than 120 years, this selection is, in its way, as representative of the riches of cinema history as that other list we released at the end of last year. Fiction rubs shoulders with nonfiction, films made by collectives sit alongside hand-crafted animation, and a healthy dose of comedy sidles up to heartbreaking drama – and then there are the films that defy all categorisation.” posted by oulipian (26 comments total) 77 users marked this as a favorite
oh wow, they are right, I have only seen 1/100. Loveless was extremely weird though, and I'd only recommend it if you wanted to see extremely young willem dafoe. Which is a totally fine reason to watch a movie.

Lots of intriguing stuff on this list, thanks for posting.
posted by jonbro at 9:35 AM on December 7, 2023 [2 favorites]

The value-added post content of links to the ones you were able to track down is fantastic!
posted by eviemath at 9:40 AM on December 7, 2023 [13 favorites]

Thanks! I didn't search for every single one, just tried to find a few from each decade. I know a few more of these are available on Rarefilmm, but the website seems to be down at the moment. I watched The Tied-up Balloon there a while back and thoroughly enjoyed it. The only other one of these I've seen is Olivier Assayas's Cold Water, which has one of the wildest party scenes of all time. Some of these films are probably available through Criterion Channel and Mubi.
posted by oulipian at 9:48 AM on December 7, 2023 [1 favorite]

Oh, and here's a Letterboxd list of all 101 films!
posted by oulipian at 9:53 AM on December 7, 2023 [4 favorites]

I've seen three of these, I believe...two for sure. Czech Dream is pretty great.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:56 AM on December 7, 2023

Interesting list. Raining in the Mountain is the only one I've seen. Highly recommended along with pretty much everything King Hu did.
posted by HumanComplex at 10:17 AM on December 7, 2023

Intriguing. I've seen about 70 out of the 100 films on the main list, but none on this one, and have only heard of three movies on it.
posted by Omon Ra at 10:45 AM on December 7, 2023

I've seen 3 of these which is shameful because it is a brilliant list. And the 3 I did see are 3 that have stuck with me to this day.

5. Ménilmontant (1926)

Brilliant. You watch this short, silent film from 1926 and wonder if we have actually done anything new in film since then.
And its on Youtube! So, add it to your list oulipian.

25. Macario (1960)

This film somehow embodies Mexico and its spirit. It is about Death, primarily. Sort of a Mexican take on Bergman's Seventh Seal.
Also available online!

27. Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)

My God, Anthony Quinn. Has there been a more expressive actor? This just pulled me in emotionally.
posted by vacapinta at 10:48 AM on December 7, 2023 [8 favorites]

La Pile électrique de Léontine is interesting! It's short so worth watching. I imagine they had to have done that effect in camera, which is pretty cool for 1910! The effect is fun.
posted by Carillon at 10:54 AM on December 7, 2023

I've only even heard of two of these!
posted by infinitewindow at 10:56 AM on December 7, 2023

Speaking of the effect, the featured review on IMDB says:

By the third iteration I was able to figure out that a lot of the repeated gag was accomplished by having the actress stand in front of a screen on which the other performers were projected from behind

which seems completely wrong. They all looked like the actress stood as still as she could while they filmed at normal speed and then used every 10th frame (or something) in the final film. Am I missing something?

It stuns me that nothing is known about this and the other Léontine films. No one knows who the actress is, who wrote them, or who filmed them. Was she the director? No clue.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:23 AM on December 7, 2023 [3 favorites]

Oh wow, as advertised: 0/101.
I came very close to seeing two of those at some point but then didn't. This is a great list, thanks for posting!
posted by bigendian at 11:43 AM on December 7, 2023 [2 favorites]

Neat list--I've only seen four all the way through: Macario (1960), Raining in the Mountain (1979), The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter (1984), and Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989). And TBH on different occasions I stopped watching Ménilmontant (1926) and Macunaíma (1969) when they just weren't what I was looking for that day.

They all had something interesting about them, and I'd go out of my way to rewatch Raining in the Mountain (1979)--love that movie.
posted by Wobbuffet at 11:47 AM on December 7, 2023

From the description of #76 Without You I'm Nothing

In 1990, Roger Ebert described it as set in “lounge act hell” – the most epic compliment that man could conjure from the no-fun director’s chair he liked to fart in.

Well okay then
posted by mcstayinskool at 12:04 PM on December 7, 2023

excellent post. I've seen 5.
Samba Traoré (1992), highly recommend.
posted by clavdivs at 1:26 PM on December 7, 2023

Very happy to see Post-War Film Festival favorite Kinuyo Tanaka's name on this list. I admire her as an actor, and have long though her pictures should be screened by a wider audience. Sadly they're nearly impossible to find. I did find a bootleg of Love Letter with Portuguese subtitles, but I don't speak enough Japanese or read enough Portuguese to make that work. I also found a short biographic film about Tanaka from a few years ago.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:05 PM on December 7, 2023

I've seen more of these than I thought I might, heard of a few more, and, from the descriptions, am grateful to know about this list of films that I hopefully will be able to experience . . . Thank you, oulipian!!!
posted by pt68 at 4:30 PM on December 7, 2023

I've ... read the book one of these is based on? That's about it.
posted by kyrademon at 5:36 PM on December 7, 2023

How a Mosquito Operates is the only one of these films that I have heard of or seen. (You know that Winsor McKay went on to create Dream of the Rarebit Fiend and Little Nemo in Slumberland?)
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:31 PM on December 7, 2023

I don't think I've sen any of these, and I thought I knew my avant garde film. Great list, thanks.
posted by zardoz at 1:09 AM on December 8, 2023

This is great. I'm making watching as much of this list as possible my 2024 project. I've got a sheets doc on the go for compiling links; if anyone gets a lead on any of the others I'd be grateful to know about it.
posted by aosher at 2:33 AM on December 8, 2023 [1 favorite]

I've seen Ngati. It's a very pretty movie, good dialogue, great music, but I found the story sort of plods around until the movie ends.

First 10 mins on NZonscreen. 15min making-of report.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 3:52 AM on December 8, 2023

Ménilmontant! I saw this on 16 mm 30 years ago and I have not quite gotten it out of my mind since. Where is the Kirsanoff retrospective?
posted by Il etait une fois at 11:56 AM on December 8, 2023

I've only seen Czech Dream -- and weirdly, I remember seeing a lot of press about it before I saw it. I haven't heard of the others at all!
posted by grandiloquiet at 12:31 PM on December 8, 2023

Mod note: This post has been added to the Best Of blog!
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 9:00 AM on December 9, 2023 [4 favorites]

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