Inspired by Dave Hicks’ excellent blog, I have decided to write about my favorite film for each year from 1926-2008.
1993: Carlito’s Way (Brian De Palma)
Cinematic from the very get-go. What an opening this movie has: Black and white, slow motion, voiceover and that mournful music, all beginning with an extraordinarily well-choreographed long take that is at once abstract, complex and sensuous.
And that’s just the moviemaking.
At the root of this, one of my favorite crime films of all time, is a theme that affects me deeply: The idea that one mistake may trap you forever. If Carlito had just left Benny Blanco alone, stayed out of his way, everything would have been okay. But he made one blunder, and he could never quite escape it.
This is the only movie I’ve ever seen that makes you forget about its ending, so much so that you feel all the more duped when it gets there again. It moves me at every level imaginable. I admire it, I love it and I feel it deeply. Though Carlito’s Way may have its detractors, chalk me up as one of its biggest fans.
What moviemakers can learn: Brian De Palma is one of the most masterful stylists in the history of cinema. Study, for instance, in Carlito’s Way, the way he treats cinema space during the nightclub sequence toward the end. His camera is graceful, articulate and always expressive.
Other contenders for 1993: From this year, I still have some things to see. These include: Atom Egoyan’s Calendar, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Puppetmaster and Eric Rohmer’s The Tree, the Mayor and the Mediatheque. At some point, I’ll need to revisit Jane Campion’s The Piano, Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors: Blue and Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, as it’s been too long since I’ve seen any of them to know where they’d place on this list. From this year, though, I love Akira Kurosawa’s Madadayo. And my closest runner-up is Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence.
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.