Archive for August, 2022

Nicholas Ray’s classic “Rebel with a Cause,” one of my Top 50 greatest/favorite films of all-time


by Sam Juliano

Labor Day nears, as the autumn season is now within sight.  Some great projects lie ahead, not the least of which is the Top 50 Films of All-Time, which is in high gear right now on my busy FB page and at the Classic Film Lounge.  Thank you so much to those who have posted lists, and to those who will post them soon.

I have now eclipsed 120,000 words on Irish Jesus in Fairview, yet, I still need a few chapters and few connecting narrative sections to get the book where I want it to be.  I would speculate that this will require me to write 10,000 more words.  I continue to be inspired by my dear friends north of the border, Valerie and Jim Clark, who are unwavering in their enthusiasm and support.  I have begun to jot down narrative ideas for the third book of the planned trilogy, Roses for Saoirse, but I can’t focus there for quite a while as I work to bring Irish Jesus to final fruition.

A dormant week on the film watching front, though I have looked at some blu rays of film classics that I have been posting daily at FB that are making my Top 50.  So, with this transition week, which is bring Lucille and I to opening day at school the MMD text is sparce.  But stay tuned. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

The end of August is nearing, and the 2022-3 school year is just days away.  It is always hard to believe how fast it all goes, but beating a dead horse on that perception won’t change much.  September usually means the annual Horrorfest will soon be launching, and the part of movie year most attractive will coax some of us to pull away from the movie watching doldrums.

As of this morning, I have surpassed 116,000 words with Irish Jesus in Fairview.  Yet, there is still more to add and incorporate before I turn things over to the first stage editor.  I don’t yet have a prospective end date, which is quite frustrating, but it will happen, and I am pleased at how things have taken off bigly over the past month.

The Rest of Asia polling will continue for two more weeks.  Thank you to those who have cast ballots and to others who plan to vote before the September deadline.  I continue to unveil my Top 50 Films of All-Time, in conjunction with November’s Sight & Sound polling, and have now asked all others on FB (and anywhere else) to contribute a Top 50 list.  Yesterday, I got lists from Patricia Perry, Derek Vincent and Robert Muldinacci, and many others are promising to post theirs soon, on any one of my daily posts.  Once again, Bill Kamberger will tabulate this unique project.  This week I added The Emigrants/The New Land, 2001, The Shop Around the Corner, Far From Heaven, The Apu Trilogy, Kind Hearts and Coronets, Citizen Kane, Brief Encounter, Greed and Umberto D to the titles I noted last week.

Lucille and I saw the charming, perceptive documentary Inside the Mind of a Cat on netflix (4 of 5) and a ton of older classic films. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

The middle of August is already upon us, confirming the longtime contention that once the month begins, we are looking September square in the face.  Of course one could say that about every month!  Ha!  In any event, we draw closer to the annual Horrorfest, and the quality film season.  For a bevy of reasons (pandemic malaise, low quality releases, film polls and my own pre-occupation with Irish Jesus in Fairview) I have seen less new releases from any May through August period in my entire life.  Those who read the Monday Morning Diaries no doubt have noticed the comparative dearth of my reports.  I suppose the mater of the novel is the prime reason of course, but this is a balancing act I will have to deal with for quite some time, since my tentative plans are to complete an interconnected trilogy, with the third novel’s title already firmed up as Roses for Saoirse.

My beloved town of Fairview made national headlines this week, and not in a good way.  The attacker of Salman Rushdie has moved into our town about a year ago – on Morningside Avenue.

I want to thank all those who have wished me well for my completed cataract surgery, which, as Marilyn Ferdinand assured me, would go “swimmingly.”  That is precisely how it went, and my eyesight is clearer now than it has been in ages.  Only some itchiness and soreness remains, but I have been told that will pass.

This past week film essay writer extraordinaire Jim Clark published a dazzling piece on Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy.  Needless to say, Jim has done all he can to keep this place cinematically relevant.

The rest of Asia polling is underway on FB, and will continue into September.  Here is the introductory post with my own choices:

The “Rest of Asia” poll (the very last before our USA grand finale) kicks off today! As always it will be arbitrated and tabulated by Bill Kamberger, and it will run until Friday, September 9th at 5:00 P.M. Each voter has fifteen (15) choices to be considered from the following countries: South Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Mongolia, Tibet, Nepal, Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Laos, North Korea and Pakistan, My own Top fifteen in alphabetical order is as follows. I didn’t include “Parasite,” but I suspect many here will: (more…)

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by James Clark

We could call this film an enigma, with the mysteries of Japan. The world is so cosmopolitan that one could pretty much imagine everyone being much the same. But this film wants to maintain that the currents of Japanese sensibility (at a premium) might flourish.

Moreover, during the past two hundred years or so in Europe, there have been philosophers alerted about this same incursion. However, at this point of full-scale collapse, only desperate moments could avail. Here is one of the most recent filmic versions of this crisis.

Our saga plays out in a triad, the better to present the problematic. The first episode is called, “Magic, Or Something Less Assuring.” The protagonist, Mieko, has many names. But the name you must engage is “Millennial.” We find her, as always, assured, being lifted by a horde of intimates. Her work of a fashion model allows for much eulogizing. In action in a Tokyo park, where a rich, deep sweater and a rich deep scarf seem appropriate, the crew pauses to see if all is flawless, perfect. During the preceding poses, there was from the crew a steady cheer to her wonderfulness. Next stop, the retinue crowd around the laptop. “Really pretty!” someone sings. “Looking pretty… I like the eyelashes reflecting the light.” (Before that, though, she had totally ignored a dying tree.) “Good, yup, the best! And you click so well.”  (Along with this good time, though,  the princess only half attends to the motions of hands and fingers. Too bad.) One of the crew insists, “Every little move can explode…”

Later that evening, the darling of smarts connects with a woman of some balance. On a long taxi ride toward the home of the lost, things happen. Mieko begins with, “How’d you click so well?” / “Well, at some point, he started saying, ‘You’re not who I thought you were.’”   (Tzu/Mieko, having been  dumped for her crudeness and adultery toward that same man, she would imagine the obvious. But the click was about a bid to reach something better. The better [Kazuaki] was not aware that Mieko had been there.)    All along this journey, at the back seat, various lights play right behind the cab, as a mysterious firmament. For example, gusts of green lights call for a never-seen approach. These ignored beauties put to shame the overwhelming smallness of the women, in various states. We’re in for many twists and turns here, but the deficiencies will rule. However, by careful scrutiny, one may find what is needed. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

As soon as August shows its scorched face, we know that September will be upon us before we can bat an eyelash.  For me this is a tricky week ahead, as I have cataract surgery on my left eye set for Friday morning.  I had the right one done a little over two years ago, and all went quite well.  I guess the worst part is the five day lead-in with all the different eye drops I must be sure to insert in the eye being treated.  Otherwise, the heat is upon us in force, and I have been working to complete my second novel.  As of today I am at 103,000 words, but still have considerable work to complete before turning over the manuscript to my first-stage editor.

With the Rest of Europe polling now tabulated, I want to announce that later in the day on Monday, (August 8th) I will be posting the Rest of Asia poll, which will include the films of South Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, Mongolia and if applicable, the Himalayan countries.  That upcoming balloting will run from the 8th until a date to be determined in the first week of September.  Anyway without further ado here are the results of the Rest of Europe polling:

“The Dead,” “Jeanne Dielman,” “La Promesse,” “Rosetta,” “The Vanishing,” “Landscape in the Mist” and “The Travelling Players” lead Top 136 “Rest of Europe” polling!!

1. The Dead (John Huston, 1987; Ireland) – 176
2. Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Chantal Akerman, 1975; Belgium) – 123.5
3. La Promesse / The Promise (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 1996; Belgium) – 93.5
4. Rosetta (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 1999; Belgium) – 92
5. The Vanishing (George Sluizer, 1988; Netherlands) – 89
6. Landscape in the Mist (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 1988; Greece) – 80
7. The Travelling Players (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 1975; Greece) – 78
8. Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012; Austria) – 75.5
9. L’Enfant / The Child (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2005; Belgium) – 75.5
10. Once (John Carney, 2007; Ireland) – 75
11. My Left Foot (Jim Sheridan, 1989; Ireland) – 74.5
12. Lourdes (Jessica Hausner, 2009; Austria) – 74
13. The Crying Game (Neil Jordan, 1992; Ireland) – 66.5
14. The 4th Man (Paul Verhoeven, 1983; Netherlands) – 57
15. Faces of Children / Visages d’enfants / Mother (Jacques Feyder, 1925; Switzerland) – 57
16. Eternity and a Day (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 1998; Greece) – 49
17. The Ogre of Athens / O Drakos (Nikos Koundouros, 1956; Greece) – 49
18. Black Book (Paul Verhoeven, 2006; Netherlands) – 46.5
19. Le fils / The Son (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2002; Belgium) – 46.5
20. Winter in Wartime (Martin Koolhoven, 2008; Netherlands) – 44.5
21. Stella (Michael Cacoyannis, 1955; Greece) – 44
22. Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (Alain Tanner, 1976; Switzerland) – 42
23. Hunger (Steve McQueen, 2008; Ireland) – 40
24. The Butcher Boy (Neil Jordan, 1997; Ireland) – 39.5
25. Wolfwalkers (Tomm Moore, 2020; Ireland) – 39.5
26. Great Freedom (Sebastian Meise, 2021; Austria) – 38.5
27. Bloody Sunday (Paul Greengrass, 2002; Ireland) – 37
28. Masquerade in Vienna (Willi Forst, 1934; Austria) – 36
29. Dogtooth (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2009; Greece) – 35.5
30. Song of the Sea (Tomm Moore, 2014; Ireland) – 35
31. Ulysses’ Gaze (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 1995; Greece) – 35
32. The Kid with a Bike (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2011; Belgium) – 34.5
33. The Weeping Meadow (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 2004; Greece) – 34
34. Two Days, One Night (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2014; Belgium) – 33.5
35. Father and Daughter (Michael Dudok de Wit, 2000; Netherlands) – 33
36. Ma Vie en Rose / My Life in Pink (Alain Berliner, 1997; Belgium) – 32
37. Funny Games (Michael Haneke, 1997; Austria) – 30
38. Goodbye to Language (Jean-Luc Godard, 2014; Switzerland) – 30
39. The Lacemaker (Claude Goretta, 1977; Switzerland) – 30
40. Revanche (Götz Spielmann, 2008; Austria) – 29.
41. Never on Sunday (Jules Dassin, 1960; Greece) – 28
42. Daughters of Darkness (Harry Kümel, 1971; Belgium) – 27
43. Toto the Hero /Toto le héros (Jaco Van Dormael, 1991; Belgium) – 27
44. News from Home (Chantal Akerman, 1976; Belgium) – 26
45. The Trojan Women (Michael Cacoyannis, 1971; Greece) – 26
46. The Boat Is Full (Markus Imhoof, 1981; Switzerland) – 23
47. Journey of Hope (Xavier Koller, 1990; Switzerland) – 23
48. Turkish Delight (Paul Verhoeven, 1973; Netherlands) – 23
49. Character (Mike van Diem, 1997; Netherlands) – 22
50. The Commitments (Alan Parker, 1991; Ireland) – 22
51. The Wind That Shakes the Barley (Ken Loach, 2006; Ireland) – 22
52. Iphigenia (Michael Cacoyannis, 1977; Greece) – 21
53. Toute une nuit / A Whole Night (Chantal Akerman, 1982; Belgium) – 20
54. Waking Ned Devine (Kirk Jones, 1998; Ireland) – 18.5
55. The Assault (Fons Rademakers, 1986; Netherlands) – 18
56. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2017; Ireland) – 18
57. Sing Street (John Carney, 2016; Ireland) – 17.5
58. Angst (Gerald Kargl, 1983; Austria) – 17
59. Calvary (John Michael McDonagh, 2014; Ireland) – 17
60. It Happened in Broad Daylight (Ladislao Vajda, 1958; Switzerland) – 17
61. Antonia’s Line (Marleen Gorris, 1995; Netherlands) – 16.5
62. The Counterfeiters (Stefan Ruzowitzky, 2007; Austria) – 16
63. Electra (Michael Cacoyannis, 1962; Greece) – 16
64. From the East (Chantal Akerman, 1993; Belgium) – 16
65. A Girl in Black (Michael Cacoyannis, 1956; Greece) – 16
66. No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman, 2015; Belgium) – 16
67. Zorba the Greek (Michael Cacoyannis, 1964; Greece) – 16
68. Alpine Fire (Fredi M. Murer, 1985; Switzerland) – 15
69. The Field (Jim Sheridan, 1990; Ireland) – 15
70. Homo Sapiens (Nikolaus Geyrhalter, 2016; Austria) – 15
71. It Happened Just Before (Anja Salomonowitz, 2006; Austria) – 14
72. Chevalier (Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2015; Greece) – 13
73. My Life as a Zucchini (Claude Barras, 2016; Switzerland) – 13
74. The Secret of Kells (Tomm Moore, 2009; Ireland) – 13
75. Sissi (Ernst Marischka, 1955; Austria) – 13
76. Soldier of Orange (Paul Verhoeven, 1977; Netherlands) – 13
77. For a Lost Soldier (Roeland Kerbosch, 1992; Netherlands) – 12
78. Mona Lisa (Neil Jordan, 1986; Ireland) – 12
79. Outer Space (Peter Tscherkassky, 1999; Austria) – 12
80. Premiere (Géza von Bolváry, 1937; Austria) – 12
81. In the Name of the Father (Jim Sheridan, 1993; Ireland) – 11.5
82. 71 Fragments of a Chronicle of Chance (Michael Haneke, 1994; Austria) – 11
83. Amour Fou (Jessica Hausner, 2014; Austria) – 10
84. Dead in 3 Days 2 (Andreas Prochaska, 2008; Austria) – 10
85. The Broken Circle Breakdown (Felix van Groeningen, 2012; Belgium) – 9
86. Malpertuis / The Legend of Doom House (Harry Kümel, 1971; Belgium) – 9
87. Spetters (Paul Verhoeven, 1980; Netherlands) – 9
88. The Vain Housemaid (Johann Schwarzer, 1908; Austria) – 9
89. An Affair of Love / Une liaison pornographique (Frédéric Fonteyne, 1999; Belgium) – 8
90. Alexander the Great (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 1980; Greece) – 8
91. Almayer’s Folly (Chantal Akerman, 2012; Belgium) – 8
92. Animal Heart (Séverine Cornamusaz, 2009; Switzerland) – 8
93. Appointment in Bray (André Delvaux, 1971; Belgium) – 8
94. The Beekeeper (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 1986; Greece) – 8
95. The Brand New Testament (Jaco Van Dormael, 2015; Belgium) – 8
96. Brussels Transit (Samy Szlingerbaum, 1981; Belgium) – 8
97. Bullets Don’t Come Back (Nikos Foskolos, 1967; Greece) – 8
98. Charles, Dead or Alive (Alain Tanner, 1969; Switzerland) – 8
99. Circle of Friends (Pat O’Connor, 1995; Ireland) – 8
100. Daens (Stijn Coninx, 1992; Belgium) – 8
101. The Dark Valley (Andreas Prochaska, 2014; Austria) – 8
102. The Drunkard (Yorgos Tzavellas, 1950; Greece) – 8
103. Fanfare (Bert Haanstra, 1958; Netherlands) – 8
104. The Hunters (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 1977; Greece) – 8
105. The Idlers of the Fertile Valley (Nikos Panayotopoulos, 1978; Greece) – 8
106. Import Export (Ulrich Seidl, 2007; Austria) – 8
107. In America (Jim Sheridan, 2002; Ireland) – 8
108. In the White City (Alain Tanner, 1983; Switzerland) – 8
109. Je Tu Il Elle (Chantal Akerman, 1974; Belgium) – 8
110. The Kidnapping (Dimitri Kirsanoff, 1934; Switzerland) – 8
111. The Last Chance (Leopold Lindtberg, 1945; Switzerland) – 8
112. Light Years Away (Alain Tanner, 1981; Switzerland) – 8
113. Little Joe (Jessica Hausner, 2019; Austria) – 8
114. The Man Who Had His Hair Cut Short (André Delvaux, 1965; Belgium) – 8
115. The Meetings of Anna (Chantal Akerman, 1978; Belgium) – 8
116. Messidor (Alain Tanner, 1979; Switzerland) – 8
117. Michael Collins (Neil Jordan, 1996; Ireland) – 8
118. My Name Is Yu Ming (Daniel O’Hara, 2003; Ireland) – 8
119. North Sea Texas (Bavo Defurne, 2011; Belgium) – 8
120. The Northerners (Alex van Warmerdam, 1992; Netherlands) – 8
121. The Polish Bride (Karim Traïdia, 1998; Netherlands) – 8
122. Rain / Regen (Mannus Franken & Joris Ivens, 1929; Netherlands) – 8
123. Ray of Sunshine (Pál Fejös, 1933; Austria) – 8
124. The Red Lanterns (Vasilis Georgiadis, 1963; Greece) – 8
125. Rembetiko (Costas Ferris, 1983; Greece) – 8
126. The Salamander (Alain Tanner, 1971; Switzerland) – 8
127. The Sea That Thinks (Gert de Graaff, 2000; Netherlands) – 8
128. A Sense of Loss (Marcel Ophüls, 1972; Ireland) – 8
129. The Seventh Continent (Michael Haneke, 1989; Austria) – 8
130. Sister (Ursula Meier, 2012; Switzerland) – 8
131. The Suspended Step of the Stork (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 1991; Greece) – 8
132. Sweet Bunch (Nikos Nikolaidis, 1983; Greece) – 8
133. Unsere Afrikareise / Our Trip to Africa (Peter Kubelka, 1966; Austria) – 8
134. Voyage to Cythera (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 1984; Greece) – 8
135. The Wall / Die Wand (Julian Pölsler, 2012; Austria) – 8
136. War Is Hell (Alfred Machin, 1914; Belgium) – 8


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by Sam Juliano

Yes, that’s right.  The Tuesday Morning Diary for this week.  It rarely happens but once in a blue moon when I am tied down, I am forced to regroup.  Yesterday was a very busy day up at the school, and I was unable to compose the weekly post that has helped define this place for so many years.  Next week we will return to Monday again, but for this week my hands were tied.  As some who follow the site know well, I often post early, on the preceding Sunday.

Work on Irish Jesus in Fairview continues, and over the past few days I have eclipsed 98,000 words.  Projecting some connecting chapters that must be completed, including the very last one, and a crucial one that precedes it, I am assuming 120,000 words will be the final total.  Bereft of an appendix, this sequel will finish substantially longer than the first book.

R.I.P. Tony Dow, the remarkable human being who played Wally Cleaver in Leave It to Beaver.

The “Rest of Europe” film polling ends at 5:00 P.M. on Friday.  Thanks to all who have cast ballots.  I believe the total number cast has now gone over 30.

Lucille and I saw an enchanting film titled Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, over the weekend in Montclair.  I hope to say more about it down the road, but it rates a 4.5 of 5.0 and joins the short list of my favorite films of 2022 so far. (more…)

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