Christopher Nolan Reveals His Favorite Criterion Titles
Posted January 29, 2013 04:51 PM by Webmaster
Acclaimed director Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy) has revealed his favorite Criterion titles. Somewhat surprisingly, Criterion's recent Blu-ray release of his excellent first feature film Following (1998) isn't amongst them, but the director has chosen such important classics as 12 Angry Men, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, and Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence.
Here's Mr. Nolan's list with his comments (all info courtesy of Criterion):
"That Criterion has released this little-known Stephen Frears gem is a testament to the thoroughness of their search for obscure masterworks. Few films have gambled as much on a simple portrayal of the dynamics between desperate men . . ."
"What better than Malick's extraordinary vision of war to demonstrate the technical potential of a carefully mastered Blu-ray? Projecting this disc comes close to the original print quality, and it's hard to imagine a superior consumer format coming along anytime soon."
"Few films have been able to capture David Bowie's charisma, but Oshima's wartime drama seems tailor-made for his talents. Tom Conti has rarely been such a sympathetic guide for the audience's emotions."
"No one could make much of a case for Welles' abortive movie overall, but the heartbreaking glimpses of the great man's genius preserved here are the most compelling argument for the value of Criterion's dedication to cinema. "
10. "Which brings me to Greed, von Stroheim's lost work of absolute genius. Which is not available on Criterion. Yet. Here's hoping."
Greed has been available on iTunes for over 2 years. A DVD and/or Blu-ray would be nice but seems not too likely at this point. The closest Greed has got to being released was back in 2004 when TCM conducted a poll asking everyone to vote for the top 5 movies for DVD releases, but sadly Greed ranked #11.
No offense, but why on Earth would Christopher Nolan list Following under his favorite Criterion titles? It'd be a really tacky move for a director to call one of his own movies one of his favorite films.
Interesting choices here. The Hit, like another Terence Stamp movie The Limey, just didn't live up to its potential. It's a pretty flat movie and I'm surprised it made his list. But what really surprises me is Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence. That movie, though it may be a good vehicle for David Bowie, was just bad on so many levels. And, to join in on The Thin Red Line comments. It is a bloated, meandering and self-indulgent movie. It's also a beautifully-shot movie. I wouldn't call it a success, but it's worth looking at at least once.
Nolan's technical expertise and the precision of his craft reminds me a great deal of Hitchcock. He is an extremely smart, capable filmmaker with an eye for unique, slightly macabre psychological dramas. It's not hard to imagine Hitchcock directing any of the films Nolan has helmed, save the Dark Knight trilogy.
This knee-jerk rejection of populist media is really getting old. His films are well-crafted and enjoyable. He's one of the best directors working today.
Once Nolan learns how to film action scenes properly and put characters on the screen that we actually care a little about, he'll be a much more complete director. I assume TDKR would've been a lot better if Ledger was still alive, not much Nolan could do about that I suppose.