Monday, June 4, 2012

1974 - What a Year

On to 1974. A great year in films. But, before we go on, let's recap on what happened outside the cinemas.

  • Something important happens in Malaysia. No, I'm serious. Kuala Lumpur, the capital, is declared federal territory.
  • Mia Farrow is on the cover of the first issue of People.
  • ABBA win the Eurovision song contest. The only winning band that made it big internationally. Somehow people are still trying to win this thing. I don't get it.
  • Deep Purple destroy the stage equipment so as not to be upstaged by ELP. They didn't need to, because ELP suck.
  • Rumble in the Jungle. Not to be confused with Jethro Tull's amazing Bungle in the Jungle.
  • Lucy is discovered (yay, Darwin!).

Quite a year in current affairs. But what about the cinematic affairs. Before revealing the Top 3, here are some of the other highlights of the year.
  • Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, in which Jodie Foster delivers the fist of many of her incredible performances.
  • Bring Me the Head of Alfred Garcia, in which a great title doesn't deliver a great film.
  • Dark Star, in which space tomatoes attack.
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, in which blood has been shed, Jerry.
A very, very strong year, no doubt. If you're not yet convinced, the following 3 films will do the job.

3- Dersu Uzala (dir: Akira Kurosawa; wri: Akira Kurosawa & Yuri Nagibin)

One of the least appreciated films of Akira Kurosawa, this Russian epic is one of the best portraits of friendship and loyalty ever put to film. It is methodical in its approach, but it is also very warm - something Kurosawa always managed to do really well. Despite being famous for telling 'western' stories in an 'eastern' setting, and ageing Kurosawa has decided to look for a nation that best epitomises that east-meets-west cliche - Russia. And in Dersu Uzala he has made one of the best films of his career, a career that's not short of all-time classics.

2- Chinatown (dir: Roman Polanski; wri: Robert Towne)

Perhaps the most famous screenplay of all time. Not only famous, perhaps it's the best screenplay of all time. It has an iconic ending that has been mocked, copied, but never bettered. It has Jack Nicholson's best performance (yes, I'll take this over Cuckoo's Nest any day). It is Polanski's best film, without a shred of doubt. It is an undisputed classic, robbed at the Oscars for a very good reason, though. And that reason was ...

1- The Godfather Part II (dir: Francis Ford Coppola; wri: Francis Ford Coppola & Mario Puzo)

The best film I have ever seen.

1974 ... what a year!

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