Closed cinemas, limited releases, it is possible to find almost all films on VOD and DVD. We suggest a second selection of imperishable works.
Coronovirus obliges, the exits are reduced, the cinemas closed and the DVD departments closed. For the family and movie buffs, here is our second handpicked selection to set sail. Every Wednesday, find our recommendations, all genres combined: family, adventure, comedy, western, thriller / thriller, fantasy / science fiction, drama, war, and heritage. To see our first selection click here.
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If you are looking for a family movie
See and review one of the most magical films in cinema: The Wizard of Oz (1939) by Victor Fleming (Gone with the wind), with Judy Garland. According to the children’s story by the American L. Frank Baum, very popular in the United States and the United Kingdom, it is practically unknown in France. The film is known to everyone with songs that have become standards like Over the Rainbow, The Yellow Brick Road or The Wicked Witch.
If you want to have a good laugh
Appointment (1940), better known by its original title, The Shop Around the Corner, is one of the jewels of Ernst Lubitsch. A romantic comedy with James Stewart and Margarett Sullavan, it remains surprisingly modern in its themes. Like the disappointments between correspondence correspondents, like those experienced today via our dating sites. Professional relationships between men and women, at the heart of the film, are just as contemporary.
If adventure tells you
Little known in France, the films of Ray Harryhausen, specialist in special effects, are a marvelous exoticism. Their modest budgets take nothing away from a magic show that is always renewed from film to film. Among its most beautiful jewels: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), Simbad’s Fantastic Voyage (1973), Gulliver’s Journey (1960), Jason and the Argonauts (1963), Clash of the Titans (1981 version, much better than that of 2010) are classics of the master. His name on the posters appears above that of the directors, more at his service than the reverse.
His Mysterious Island (Cy Enfield, 1961), according to Jules Vernes, rivals Twenty thousand leagues under sea (1955) by Richard Fleischer with Kirk Douglas, from Disney studios (of which he is the continuation). Herbert Lom becomes captain Némo (after James Mason) in the same Nautilus submarine, loaned by Disney for the occasion, to splendid music by Bernard Hermann.
Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, James Cameron, Joe Dante… worship Harryhausen.
If you are a little to the West
The “Indian question” remained by the wayside throughout the classical western period, from the years 1910 to 1970. The broken arrow (Delmer Daves, 1950) and The Cheyennes (John Ford, 1964) are rare exceptions to the rule. The clocks are reset on time in Little big man (1970) by Arthur Penn with Dustin Hoffman and Faye Dunaway, iconic western on the subject, as in Blue soldier (Mark Robson, 1970), A man named Horse (Elliot Silverstein, 1970), or Jeremiah Johnson (1972) by Sidney Pollack with Robert Redford.
Indians are finally represented there as the victims of the genocide on which the United States was founded, but these films also echo the Vietnam War, which was highly criticized at the time.
More recently, Dancing with the wolves revived the vogue for the western in 1991. Kevin Kostner (director and actor) is a continuation of the films of the 70s.
More than idealistic, as it has been criticized, Dancing with the wolves is an elegiac film about the disappearance of the Amerindian culture, that the magnificent music of John Barry (James Bond, Out of Africa) exalts with lyricism.
If you want to make it a drama
There will be blood by Paul-Thomas Anderson earned Daniel Day Lewis one of his three Best Actor Oscars in 2008. The film is one of the most brilliant of the 2000s, propelling its director (Magnolia, Phantom Thread) at the top of a new generation of filmmakers. Located at the dawn of the 20th century, There will be blood evokes the beginnings of oil exploration in the United States, in a context where the evangelical sects proliferate, with a venomous filial conflict. Watch out, masterpiece!
If Fellini has little affection for him, his Fellini Casanova (1977), with Donald Sutherland in the title role, is sumptuous. Film with operatic staging, Casanova portrays an 18th century dream by taking inspiration from the memories of the seducer, philosopher and occultist.
His picaresque journey goes from Venice to Styria in Bohemia, passing through Paris and London, in search of his time. His own and that of his century. As such, the film could be the conclusion of a trilogy started with Satyricon (1969), according to Pétrone, followed byAmarcord (1974), on Maestro’s childhood memories. Indispensable.
If you want to run under the bombs
Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppola, Palme d’or at Cannes in 1979, is a monster film. Despite its catastrophic shooting spanning several years, its brilliant director created a unique work, beyond the only war film. Free adaptation of In the heart of darkness by Joseph Conrad, Coppola transposes it into the Vietnam War in 1968, with a hallucinating Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando in mogul, amoral and disconnected warrior.
The film is available in three versions. The original remains the best, even if the “director’s cut” includes an important scene cut in 1979, where an old French plantation, a remnant of Indochina, is visited. The third, Apocalypse Now Redux, is negligible, except for aficionados.
The Paths of Glory (1958), by Stanley Kubrick with Kirk Douglas, remains one of the best war films made. His pacifist message and denouncer of the executions of deserters in 1916 on the French front of the First World War, earned him to be banned in France for 22 years.
A classic that hasn’t aged a bit and has inspired more than one filmmaker. On the War of 14, only 1917 Sam Mendes, released in January, the same, that is saying something.
If you want to investigate
Jean-Pierre Melville invented the new French thriller from 1962 in The Doulos, with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Serge Reggiani. The Second Breath (1966, with Lino Ventura and Paul Meurisse), the Samurai (1967, with Alain Delon), The Red Circle (1970, with Delon, Montand and Bourvil) engrave in French the French thriller that will influence directors as diverse as William Friedkin, Quentin Tarantino and John Woo.
Arte just repost The Second Breath with an exciting documentary on Melville (Melville, from the last samurai), available on Arte.tv.
Lover of American cinema and the United States, Melville would not be reluctant to see again Psychosis of Alfred Hitchcock who inaugurated in 1960 a long line of “psycho-killers” called today “serial killers”. Thesilenceofthelambs (1991) by Jonathan Demme, with Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster, renewed the genre by drawing inspiration (after the great Hitch) from real cases. Seven (1996) by David Fincher, with Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman and Gwyneth Paltrow, went even further.
Not to mention the very tough Schizophrenia (Gerald Kargl, 1984) and Henry, portrait of a serial killer (John mcNaughton, 1986), particularly grilled, for the most hardened (with warning!)
If you want to be afraid or see the future
In 1977, Suspiria by Dario Argento was like a bomb, followed by his sequel Inferno in 1980 (with the last appearance of Sacha Pitoëff). Diptych on “three mothers”, myth invented by the Italian master of horror, it is followed by a third film, Mother of tears (only released on DVD), less successful. Baroque films, with a colorful expressionist aesthetic, Suspiria and Inferno participate in the renewal of the fantastic cinema of the 1980s, alongside John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) and Wes Craven (The Hill Has Eyes, The Claws of the Night).
In the spheres of science fiction, Forbidden planet (Fred M. Wilcox, 1956) is, according to the established formula, a “minor masterpiece”. It is considered, with The day the Earth stopped (Robert Wise, 1953), as the second S-F film says “adult” before 2001 : The Space Odyssey (1968) by Kubrick.
Astonishing: Forbidden planet adapted Storm by Shakespeare in a space-opera (space movies) with flamboyant images and special effects. Next to Walter Pigeon and the sexy Anne Francis, the revelation of the film is Robby the robot, also very sexy…
If revisiting the heritage tempts you
Before Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941) and 2001 from Kubrick, Dawn (1927), by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, is often cited as the most beautiful film in the world. Long before French poetic realism (Carné-Prévert), the director of Nosferatu (1922) filmed a melodrama of unequaled beauty in black and white and mute, according to the techniques of the time. This visual poem (for which the expression seems to have been coined) tells the story of a couple’s rebirth after an attempted murder. Moving and metaphysical, yes, decidedly, AurorIt is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful films in the history of cinema.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene) revolutionized the seventh art in 1919 by inventing expressionist cinema. Contemporary of its pictorial equivalent (also German), the translated style in art the trauma of the First World War. Tale told by a psychiatric internee, the film projects his altered mind into distorted settings, in contrasting black and white, angular, totally unrealistic.
With Conrad Veidt, silent and speaking star until his death in 1943 (cf. The Thief of Baghdad, advised last week), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari inspired all the cinema (Fritz Lang, Orson Welles, Max Ophuls…). And first of all the vogue for American horror films of the 1930s (Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde…), up to Dario Argento and beyond …
In addition to Robert Wiene’s film, watch the wonderful documentary From Caligari to Hitler ((Rüdiger Suchsland, 2014) from the eponymous book by Siegfried Kracauer (Ed. L’Age d´Homme, 1947). He deciphers the discourse in the abyss of Nazism in German cinema during the years 1920-40: fascinating and uplifting.