On Compiling A Film Canon. September 2016 Update.
It’s been a good month.
London dominates in two of this month’s Canon entries. For his Night And The City American filmmaker Jules Dassin utilises the city’s great heritage in telling his story of underhand gangsters and wrestling, while in Val Guest’s The Day The Earth Caught Fire (which I wrote about extensively here), we see the end of the world from a very British perspective. It’s a searing production in the age of global warming.
Away from the UK, the roots of the American experience are explored in both Terrence Malick’s The New World (more here) and William Wellman’s The Ox-Bow Incident (more here), with the birth of the man-made Americas charted in the Malick movie, before conflicted notions of law and order are introduced to it in the Wellman. Edwin S. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery fills in the gaps.
Italy’s past is examined in Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard, which I sung the praises of just yesterday here, joins the director’s Rocco And His Brothers in the Canon.
On a more contemporaneous note, Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas and Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg, the director’s most underrated film, both make the cut. Greenberg is a profoundly affecting work, and one which makes for effective viewing within the context of Baumbach’s expanding oeuvre, slotting in nicely amongst the likes of The Squid And The Whale and last year’s Mistress America. Baumbach’s examination of the contemporary U,S of A is as vital as any filmmaker working today.