1001 Movies

After a brief break, the filmjourney blog is up and rolling again…stay tuned for several planned entries this week…

Last night as I was browsing at Borders, I came across a new book entitled 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, and although I initially had my doubts (there are plenty of ho-hum coffee table books that attempt to repackage movies even the most casual filmgoer is already familiar with), I was impressed with its breadth and quality of writing (by such notable commentators as Geoff Andrew, Jean-Michel Frodon, Chris Fujiwara, Adrian Martin, Richard PeÒa, Jonathan Romney, Jonathan Rosenbaum, and many more).

The book is roughly 8.5×6 inches square, but it’s 960 pages long, hardback, and reasonably portable. I’ve seen the bulk of the films listed, so it’s not liable to unveil a new world for obsessive cinephiles, but it’s a concise introduction to films that have caught the world’s attention, chronologically ordered (from A Trip to the Moon to Russian Ark) and handsomely illustrated with stills. The films included run the gamut from silent to Hollywood films, art cinema classics to more contemporary landmarks that still haven’t been released on video in this country (A Brighter Summer Day, S·t·ntangÛ, Through the Olive Trees, and many more). It’s a pleasant read and a more comprehensive portrait of film history than is often provided at this caliber of glossy publishing.

(Edit: I remembered last night that S·t·ntangÛ has technically been released on VHS by the independent label Cinema Parallel, but I only know of one store in Los Angeles that carries it.)