Sunday, October 2, 2011

1968 ... What a Year!

Obviously, 1968 never happened. No one remembers it. But, for the sake of argument, let's pretend that it did and imagine what it may have offered as cinematic entertainment. But, as before, let's recap on the imaginary things that may or may not have happened in the world.
  • Protests. Everywhere.
So, what imaginary films were not released in 1968? Here's what failed to make the Bru's Top 3:

  • If ..., in which Malcolm McDowell is awesome.
  • Once upon a Time in the West, in which Charles Bronson pretend-plays a harmonica.
  • The Party, in which Peter Sellers is Indian.
  • Planet of the Apes, in which damned apes are dirty.
  • William Wilson, in which Alain Delon is awesome.

Yes, I can hear you loud and clear: if these films failed to make it to Top 3, what other imaginary films could have possibly made it? Well, 1968 was definitely an incredible year if you were a film fan. Not only the above films are considered classics (well, maybe except for The Party and William Wilson), but they would be worthy of being the top films in other years. Alas, 3 other films piques the Bru's interest a little more. The top 3 films of 1968 according to the Bru:

3- Rosemary's Baby (wri & dir: Roman Polanski)

Based on Ira Levin's novel of the same name, Rosemary's Baby is an excellent gothic horror. Slow amd methodical, it crawls under your skin and leaves you short of breath and sweat by the end. Heavily influenced by the real life horrors that Polanski went through that same year, this would have been quite awful in somebody else's hand. The reveal (let's face it, pretty much everyone figures it out halfway through) still lingers long after the film is over. It is not graphic. It doesn't depend on too many horror gimmicks, but it is somehow incredibly powerful and disturbing. A horror masterpiece.

2- Shame (wri & dir: Ingmar Bergman)

This is my favourite Bergman film of them all. The end of the world never looked as painful, slow and terrifying as what is depicted here. As a couple's relationship is deteriorating, so does the sanity of humanity. Liv Ullman (beauty and talent all merged into one) gives an incredible performance even by her untouchable standards. Many a time I kept staring at my television screen, long after the terrifying and sombre finale, unable to move or think. It doesn't get as much praise or publicity as Bergman's other films (who are no less amazing), which is a shame (no pun intended), because this is a genuinely brilliant film.

1- 2001: A Space Odyssey (dir: Stanley Kubrick; wri: Stanley Kubrick & Arthur C. Clarke)

Well, what is there to say? What does it all mean? Is it supposed to mean something? Clarke and Kubrick both said that they wanted to ask more questions than give answers. They have certainly succeeded in that. But, more than being one of the most baffling (and, to many, pretentious) films of all time, 2001 is the greatest sci-fi of all time. Why? Has there been a film so seeped in what we have been trying to find answers for in sci-fi literature? I don't think so. Has there been a film so audacious in its conviction? I don't think so. It is long, too cerebral even for its own good, maybe. Flawed, you may call it. But there is no denying its genius.

1968 ... what a year!

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