1961 Ten Best Movies

marienbadThe granddaddy of modern-day puzzle films, an influence on Kubrick, Greenaway, and Roger Corman, and famous cause celebre in its time: Last Year at Marienbad has gotten around. And while the movie was once a great conversation piece, and at some point began looking dated, it has now slipped into a realm of timelessness. At this point along the way you can worry less about What It All Means and instead see it as a rich many-corridored experience. The conventional satisfactions of story will never be delivered anyway, and without that, we may be left with only our own reflections in one of the film’s countless mirrors.

Close upon the heels of Marienbad is Luis Bunuel’s mighty return to European filmmaking, a very different kind of movie but an even more direct personal statement. The best of 1961:

1. Last Year at Marienbad (Alain Resnais)

2. Viridiana (Luis Bunuel)

3. Yojimbo (Akira Kurosawa)

4. Underworld U.S.A. (Samuel Fuller)

5. La Notte (Michelangelo Antonioni)

6. Lola (Jacques Demy)

7. A Woman is a Woman (Jean-Luc Godard)

8. Through a Glass Darkly (Ingmar Bergman)

9. The Misfits (John Huston)

10. The Hustler (Robert Rossen)

Just missing: Accattone, Pasolini’s feature debut, Satyajit Ray’s Two Daughters, et aussi The Ladies Man, un film de Jerry Lewis. Also have strong feelings for Curtis Harrington’s Night Tide, and the dance numbers in West Side Story.

Last week I said I’d do 1962 this week. Oops.

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