Saturday, June 4, 2011

1957 ... What a Year!

1957 ... what a year it was.

This was indeed an excellent year in film, in which a bridge was blown to pieces after being painstakingly built by British POWs, Shakespeare's "Macbeth" went to medieval Japan and three French soldiers were tried for desertion.

Elsewhere, the Cavern Club opened its doors for the first time, "In God We Trust" appeared on US money, and the Soviets launched Sputnik, carrying Laika the dog.

But, let's go back to the movies. 1957 was indeed a fantastic year in film - a good contender for the best of all time. Just looking at the abovementioned films that didn't make the cut demonstrates the quality of 1957's cinematic output:
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai
  • Throne of Blood
  • Paths of Glory
Yes, that's right. I left out David Lean, Akira Kurosawa and Stanley Kubrick. Filmgoers were truly spoiled in 1957.

So, which films did make the cut? Here are the Bru's top 3 films from 1957 ... what a year!

3- Wild Strawberries (wri & dir: Ingmar Bergman)
An old man is making his last journey through time and space. His childhood dilemmas, failed parenting, and lost innocence all surface in his encounters along the way, constantly reminding him of this last chance at redemption. But, is it already too late? Has his selfishness poisoned all those around him that even the smallest gestures of goodwill prove futile?

2- 12 Angry Men (dir: Sidney Lumet; wri: Reginald Rose)
In a world where apathy and prejudice are king, a room-full of men decide on the fate of a teenager. One man takes it upon himself to challenge these preconceived ideas. It may look like a filmed play on the surface, but Lumet's camera very subtly gets under the skin of his protagonists / antagonists in this courtroom drama that ends all courtroom dramas.

1- The Seventh Seal (wri & dir: Ingmar Bergman)
1957 belonged to Bergman, there is no doubt. One of the most iconic images in cinema is that of Max Von Sydow's Antonius Block playing chess with Death on a desolate beach. The moves on the chessboard are enacted in real life: plague is spreading, god may not exist after all and Death is (literally) around the corner. From the outset, it is obvious how this will all end. Predictable and depressing? On the contrary - its futility and morbidity make it such an engrossing watch. Simply brilliant.

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