Inspired by Dave Hicks’ excellent blog, I have decided to write about my favorite film for each year from 1926-2008. First, a few disclaimers though:
1. I’m really no critic and will probably keep these posts more personal than analytical.
2. These are simply my favorite films from each year. By no means am I saying that they are the BEST film from each year. These are simply the ones that have spoken to me the most, for one reason or another (which of course I hope to articulate somewhat here).
3. Most of these are coming from memory. And many I’ve only seen once and many, many years ago.
To avoid too many glaring omissions (and to jog the memory a bit), I used several different lists to help me compile my own list. These other lists are of course Dave’s, Dan Sallitt’s blog, Steve Erickson’s desert island film list, Jonathan Rosenbaum’s list and Cahiers du Cinema’s annual lists.
1926: Nana (Jean Renoir)
This might be my shortest piece of all.
I have only seen Nana once. It was either in 1996 or 1997 and was during the time that I went through most of Renoir’s work in chronological order.
I remember it being the first of his films that really grabbed me, but honestly, there’s not too much I can remember about it (I could probably review some notes I took on it at the time, but I’d rather write these as impressions, and from memory). The most powerful impression I have is of being taken by Catherine Hessling’s performance, who was Renoir’s wife at the time. I actually can’t remember if I thought she was lovely or a wonderful femme fatale, but I remember having a strong feeling about her performance as Nana.
It’s one I would love to see again, but I’ve never really had the chance. For the moment, it remains unavailable on Netflix. But you can buy it as part of a Jean Renoir 3-Disc Collector’s Edition from Amazon.
What moviemakers can learn: Pick one of your favorite moviemakers and watch each of the films in their career in chronological order. Take notes after each movie, documenting how the moviemaker grew over time and what elements in their work remained a consistent factor.
Other contenders for 1926 (another element I want to borrow from Dave’s wonderful list): From this year, I particularly still want to see Howard Hawks’ Fig Leaves, Robert J. Flaherty’s Moana and Raoul Walsh’s What Price Glory. I really like Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog and Vsevolod Pudovkin’s Mother. And my closest runner-up is F.W. Murnau’s Faust.
After living in Los Angeles for seven years, Jeffrey Goodman returned to his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana to direct The Last Lullaby. Co-written by the creator of Road to Perdition, and starring Tom Sizemore and Sasha Alexander, The Last Lullaby was filmed entirely in and around Shreveport and financed by 48 local investors. Goodman is now at work, raising money for his next feature, Peril.