Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Twenty-Four (or Twenty-Five) Favorite Movies (As of Right Now, Anyway)

Avatar (2009)
Nashville (1975)
A Single Man (2009)
Harold and Maude (1971)
Kings and Queen (2004)
Irreversible (2002)
3 Women (1977)
Psycho (1960)
The Cement Garden (1993)
Happy Together (1997)
A Man Escaped (1956)
King Kong (1933 and 2005)
The Exorcist (1973)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Diva (1981)
Mulholland Drive (2001)
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)
Blue Velvet (1986)
Querelle (1982)
Persona (1966)
Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)
The Third Man (1949)
The Scarlet Empress (1934)
Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)


  1. Querelle…its been a while since I thought about that movie, but you know how easily I am influenced by your opinion, just a few mouse clicks away from finding out if Netflix has this in their library. I’m thinking no.

    I was in college when I saw this, an Art House on Brattle Street, this place was so hard core that I recall an incident in which the crowd almost rioted during the screening of “Get out your Handkerchief’s” when instead of showing the original French version with subtitles, they showed a version dubbed into English. I was thinking great, I don’t have to read the screen for the next 2 hours, cause after 2 years of HS French I had barely learned anything beyond merci beaucoup. But this crowd was having no part of it, my recollection is that due to the fuss emitting from inside the house, the management had to stop the film, offer to refund everyone’s money and vow never to commit such art atrocities again. I think maybe 5 or 6 of us unsophisticates stayed to watch the dubbed version.

    But with Querelle, this audience of Brahmin purists posing as worldly and accepting liberals found it so revolting that all through the movie people were walking out, and it wasn’t just the graphic sex scenes, I recall Brad Davis getting bent over and taken advantage of several times, which sent them out in mass, it was the in your face homosexual aspect of the film as only a German could do in what was Ronald Regan’s America at the time.

    Seeing Querelle and the silent reaction occurring around me as people expressed their homo fear with their feet is one of the poignant remembrances from my past.

  2. I have similar recollections of QUERELLE. And though I find the movie mesmerizing to this day, mainly for its over-the-top porn stylization, part of its placement here on this list is its association with a pivotal time in my life, my late twenties, and its impact on me at that age.

    It was the "in your face" quality you mention--its unabashedly lurid and politically incorrect scenario, linking violence, sex, religion, domination, obsession, repression, betrayal, and love--that so impressed me at the time and continues to amaze me--in that respect (i.e. pure ballsiness) Fassbinder has not been equaled yet.



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