Hannibal, Season 3 Episode 5: Contorno

At the end of Hannibal's second season, Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) sneaks up on an unsuspecting Hannibal Lecter with the intention of arresting him and finds the killer is anything but unprepared. What ensues is a brutal acrobatic Battle Royale between the two of them in Hannibal's kitchen which results in Jack being stabbed in the neck and surely on a quick route to the grave. Last week's catch up episode, "Apertivo" actually did the impossible by bringing Jack back from the presumed dead and it's much to the show's benefit. Jack announces his presence by kicking Hannibal's ass.
The fight, which feels more like a dance due to the musical and fluid fight choreography, begins with Jack looking up through a window at Hannibal on the second floor. Jack has spent the episode getting used to life after his wife Bella has lost her battle with cancer. He follows Hannibal's trail to Italy and comes to know Inspector Pazzi and his wife only to lose his newfound friend to Hannibal who executes the man by hanging him (but not before disemboweling him). Perhaps it is this sight that causes Jack to dance with Hannibal so furiously and more importantly, to actually beat him. For one of the only times in the series' history, Hannibal is defeated. He manages to escape and in the moments before fully retreating he mirrors his position with Jack at the duel's onset. Now he stands below looking up at Jack, his position solidifying his status as the loser.

This entire sequence serves as a reminder that forces are finally closing in around Hannibal. He escapes Jack but really only by sheer luck. Hannibal is nearly always in charge of the world around him so even though at this point in the series he is the villain, this change has turned him into the underdog and he actually inspires sympathy. "Contorno" has Hannibal finally realizing that, yes, he is pulling his enemies to him, but it's no longer by his own design. He is quickly becoming the source of his own undoing and by the end of this episode that fact becomes clear to him. His relationship with Alana Bloom has given her knowledge of his tastes that few have and those facts allowed her to track him to Florence. Jack uses traditional, gumshoe fact finding and police work, though most of it is Pazzi's, to locate Hannibal. And Will is spurred on for an incalculable number of reasons but after Chiyo pushes him off of a train, it is Will's mental conjuring of Hannibal's spirit, a stag, that actual gets him up and moving again. This makes perfect sense. Will must the final straw in the battle against Hannibal. If Hannibal is going to lose it will be by Will's hand. That is why Hannibal was able to escape Jack. That is why no matter what happens to Hannibal in the next few episodes, the only time there were will ever be any real risk will be when he's in Will's presence. He is the only one who can fell the beast.

Hannibal, Season 3 Episode 4: Aperitivo

"I'll show you mine if you show me yours."

This episode's opening scene is pure magic. Dr. Chilton and Mason Verger, two characters who should surely be dead after the events that concluded Hannibal's second season, find themselves having a bedside chat. Verger, nearly eaten alive by a pack of hungry boars, has little more than scar tissue on the bottom half of his face. Chilton, shot point blank by Miriam Lass, removes a prosthetic that emulates a cheek bone and half a jaw. Both men are drastically disfigured and their appearances are the literal representations of the other characters that reappear in this episode. All of the survivors of Hannibal's reign of terror are permanently scarred. None of them are whole.
In a season full of unexpected moves, Apertivo tries the most unexpected of all by having an entire episode without the show's titular character. It does finally manage to shed some light onto the fallout that came from the massacre that concluded season 2 though so I can't be entirely frustrated by this fact. Honestly, the audacity of a show completely unwilling to reveal what happened to nearly half its cast for three episodes is worth salivating over. In a world where television seems only to cater to its audience, to simply provide a distraction rather than reinvent or challenge what we're all used to, Hannibal is the freshest breath of air I've had since Mad Men. And as fresh as this decision is "Apertivo" winds up being the least inventive of what Hannibal has done so far this season. It's almost entirely expository, not that that's not a bad thing. The episode almost works at its own personal breath of fresh air after the waking nightmare that has been the first three episodes this season.

Will and Hannibal still don't meet but a reunion of a different and equally important nature does occur. Will and Alana Bloom find themselves together in Hannibal's former home. Utilizing one of the prettiest color palettes the series has ever employed (in a show that is already disgustingly gorgeous) Alana and Will have a melancholy conversation about forgiveness. More accurately, forgiving Hannibal for what he's done so that Will can continue benefitting from his exposure to the killer. Will even comments on their "mutually unspoken pact to ignore the worst in each other to continue to enjoy the best". This solidifies a notion that this season has been hinting at all along. Will and Hannibal are the flip sides of a coin. The light and dark of each other. Without the other they can't fully exist.

But enough about Will and Hannibal. They're the furthest thing from the focus of "Apertivo"This episode wants to catch up with everyone else because the most broken character we get to the meet this season is Alana Bloom. Physically she's doing fine (all things considered), except she walks with a limp and requires a cane. But as a character, as a person, she's entirely changed. She disguises the woman we knew, in much the same way that Verger and Chilton disguise their physical weaknesses, because Alana sees her former self as a weakness. It can be the only reason she's assumed this new persona. A much stronger, more severe persona that won't ever be fooled or taken advantage of again. This point is underlined made in maybe the best line of the episode: "You cannot see what you will not see. Until it throws you out a window." She embodies this in every way. Her clothes are bright, primary colored and make her look like a 1940's femme fatale. She's covered in make-up and lip stick as if she's proud of the fact that she's masking her true self. Most important of all is the fact that once the episode has moved all of its pieces, we learn that Alana is actually the main motivator for revenge for both Chilton and Verger. She's pushing the both of them over the edge.

This entire episode works at a follow up to Bedelia's line to Hannibal in last week's episode. He is drawing all of these characters to him and even though they are all fueled by their respective forms of revenge and forgiveness, it all seems to be playing into Hannibal's design. What's more daunting is this series generally likes to work with two story arcs per season and we're almost halfway home. Something big is coming. Something bloody.

Hannibal, Season 3 Episode 3: Secondo

We all fear what we don't understand. Looking into the unknown has always been one of the greatest sources of humanity's unrest. So much so that many writers and creators like to work that mystery into characters, locations, and forces in their respective art forms. One of Hannibal's biggest sources of power as a villainous character stems from the knowledge that we have none about him. No one really knows where exactly Hannibal Lecter came from. He's like evil stuck out of time. Hannibal Lecter isn't a person with evil qualities. He is a force of evil.


Now that entire prelude is really just a way of saying that when the twenty minute mark hits in Secondo and Will finds himself in Hannibal's childhood home, I was very worried that the writers would attempt to rationalize his evil ways. To legitimize and humanize his character into something less than what I've grown to love and fear all at once. Shortly after having that feeling I had another much stronger one. And that was guilt. I felt like a traitor to Bryan Fuller who's been dazzling me all along when it comes to his version of Hannibal and I can't believe I didn't allow myself to just go along for the ride because Secondo doesn't give up any secrets at all. This episode manages to give us a quick tour of Hannibal's past without ever trying to explain away the kind of person he is. In fact, it reinforces the already terrifying things we know about Hannibal. He's a manipulative monster whose powers know no limit. Will learns that quite quickly when he meets Chiyoh, handmaiden to Hannibal's aunt. She's been tasked with guarding a prisoner who, according to Hannibal, murdered and ate his sister. This isn't true but Hannibal has a way of telling a story that transcends lies vs. truth. He takes a crime he is likely guilty of and manages to weigh down an innocent party with guilt built out of sorrow and humanity. Hannibal understands everyone he comes into contact with and always knows how best to handle them. Will Graham happens to be the first person he's ever encountered who's able to break down the persona that Hannibal has built to show himself to the world. He explains to Chiyoh that the story Hannibal fed her about his sister's death is a lie and more importantly, it's one of the smallest he's ever told. Hannibal killed and ate his sister Mischa but in no way was she the starting point, nor, really any kind of explanation for the man he is. She's just another one of his victims. A bloody drop in the bucket.

Secondo is a piece-moving episode and is legitimized by watching the episodes that follow it. This third season of Hannibal is moving those characters all around the board that is the killer's life. Once the truth is revealed, Will finds an ally in Chiyoh but manages to turn her into a murderer in the same motion. He convinces her to free her prisoner and then she kills him out of self defense. This story arc is paralleled with another murder by Hannibal's hand but this time Bedelia is as much a participant as he is. So even though Will's intentions are good he and Hannibal are so star crossed that they affect those around them in exactly the same ways. Will and Hannibal will do anything, even unconsciously, to get closer to each other. And this is Will's plan, slowly falling into place. The only way to beat Hannibal is to match him. They must perform on the same plane if they're going to find one another and truly have their war.

The Encyclopedia of Film Criticism: Kenji Fujishima

Kenji Fujishima
Some of the first things about Total Recall I latched onto as a young cinephile were its dazzling production design and special effects, its breathless action sequences, its over-the-top violence—in short, its surface....Today, though, my appreciation for Paul Verhoeven's mind trip goes beyond simple nostalgia, and hinges on how its seductive look and immediate visceral pleasures are wily in their concealment of grand themes.

Contributed to: Slant Magazine, The Daily Targum, In Review Online, The Wall Street Journal, The Home News Tribune and The L Magazine.

Influences: Pauline Kael, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Matt Zoller Seitz, Armond White, Fernando F. Croce, Dave Kehr, Richard Brody 

Born in Queens, NY and raised in East Brunswick, N.J., Kenji Fujishima (December 4, 1985-) has slyly become one of the most reliably logical and easily digestible critics in the US. Soft-spoken, kind and gentle, his unfailingly pleasant demeanor conceals a ravenous intellect and a style that effortlessly dances a step ahead of the reader. 

In his own words: "My interest in cinephilia and film criticism came relatively late in the game compared to many of my colleagues. I was much more into music—classical, for the most part—than movies early on, and when I started playing the piano and the violin during my elementary-school years, I initially thought I’d be pursuing musical performance when I grew up. In those years, though, I also read The Newark Star-Ledger’s film reviews pretty regularly…and then, probably sometime during middle or junior high school, I borrowed a copy of Pauline Kael’s final collection of film reviews, Movie Love (1991), from my local library in East Brunswick, N.J. That was when I had my first film-criticism “eureka!” moment, when, upon her recommendation, I decided to give Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets a shot on VHS and not only found the film to be a quietly mind-blowing experience, but found her ecstatic review of it to beautifully mirror my own feelings. Not only was I hooked on her criticism, but thanks to the Internet, I was able to discover other crucial voices on my own: Jonathan Rosenbaum (especially for introducing me to the work of world-cinema auteurs like Hou Hsiao-hsien, Abbas Kiarostami and Béla Tarr), Matt Zoller Seitz (for his focus on finding meaning in technique), Armond White (for simply his fire-and-brimstone polemical style, whether or not I agreed with his stances or not), Fernando F. Croce (for his lyrical economy of expression), and others."

"Still, it wasn’t until after my sophomore year of my undergraduate college education at Rutgers University—after an initial two years of agonizing over my choice of major—that I decided to focus my energies on film criticism. Technically, I ended up majoring in journalism with a minor in cinema studies—but I became active with Rutgers’ daily newspaper, The Daily Targum, writing film reviews for them before becoming the film editor of its weekly Inside Beat entertainment section. One year, for the Targum, I decided it might be fun to get a film critic’s perspective on the year’s Oscar race; it is for that reason that I decided to reach out to Matt Zoller Seitz, then Newark Star-Ledger television critic and New York Press film critic. In some ways, that feature opened the door for my entry into The House Next Door when Seitz decided to open up what was initially his own personal blog to various outside contributors…and essentially, that’s how I got my foot in the door of this business we call film criticism."

And we can all be grateful he did. Since his debut, Kenji has kept to a handful of outlets, releasing one sturdily written piece after another. Like the classical music he loves so much, there's a grace to his diction. His sentence structure, especially his interplay of verbs and adjectives, move with a ballerina's seemingly effortless flow. Look at this sentence in his review of Onur Tukel's Summer of Blood: "...it's becoming apparent that Onur Tukel is developing a distinct on-screen persona: that of a cynical motormouth whose disaffected hipster veneer masks a core selfishness." The meter is delectable, reading as smoothly in one's head as it does out loud. There's an old world construction to it. You'd expect to read something with that confident rhythm from one of the romantic poets. Read this passage from his review of Quiz Show and feel it tugging you down like a steady river current: "Though the film’s vision of capitalistic exploitation is damning, thankfully the filmmakers don’t forgo the flawed, wounded human beings at the heart of this sobering tale in favor of political point-making." Easygoing but with such urgent force behind it. He's a conductor, compelling the proper dynamic from the orchestra at his fingertips. 


On Dinosaur 13
To some extent, Petersen's use of a wide aspect ratio and Morton's emphatic score takes its cues from Larson's passion—the expansive frame more given to exuding an openness to natural environments, the music expressing perhaps more than Larson himself is willing to outwardly show (he remains a generally stoic camera subject throughout). Perhaps that's why its final shot—of Larson going back out into the desert, pickax in hand, in an extreme wide shot—is as surprisingly affecting as it is. Larson may not have ended up with exactly the outcome he desired (and the film vehemently argues that he deserved better than the outcome he got), but his love of fossil-hunting at least remained thankfully undimmed through it all.


On Sunshine Superman
Boenish’s infectious enthusiasm generally tended to spread to the people around him—and damned if it doesn’t get to us as well. Perhaps the sheer preponderance of Boenish’s self-shot footage is key to the effectiveness of Sunshine Superman. It’s one thing to hear Boenish spouting inspirational platitudes about thinking outside societal boxes and following your bliss; it’s quite another, however, to see the man himself putting his philosophies into mad practice, and moreover, to see his own filmed results as thrilling illustration. In the end, it doesn’t matter so much that the reenactments can sometimes be cheesy, the pacing in the second half somewhat lumbering, the hagiography occasionally oppressive. Such doubts are bound to be swept away when faced with the spectacle of real people momentarily suspended in air, engulfed by their surroundings, experiencing the intoxicating freedom of defying the laws of society and nature. Sunshine Superman may not inspire anyone to climb up and fall from a tall building, but the underlying liberating ethos behind such devil-may-care behavior comes across resonantly and passionately.

On Cinderella

Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella is, for the most part, a straightforward retelling of the fairy tale, and the Walt Disney Pictures imprimatur ensures that the filmmaker forgoes the more violent moments in the Brothers Grimm version of the story (no one cuts their toes off here in order to fit into Cinderella's glass slipper; to see that, you'd have to turn to Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods). Which isn't to say that the film doesn't have its own distinct virtues. Dante Ferretti's color production design and Sandy Powell's wide-ranging costumes (the black-with-green-stripes design on wicked stepmother Lady Tremaine's dress offers an expressive contrast with Cinderella's initial plain pink dress) are so intoxicatingly colorful that every shot has the immersiveness of a dream. But it's the emotional reality with which Branagh, screenwriter Chris Weitz, and his cast ground this Cinderella that makes it as affecting as it is. 



Branagh fully understands the societal critique underlying the tale, and brings it out into the open: The world that surrounds Cinderella is one in which surface appearances matter more than inner beauty, class status is a kind of mental prison from which only a few are able to break free, and climbing up the social ladder is believed to be the only sure route toward happiness....
....Most of all, though, this Cinderella resonates as an ideological battle between Cinderella's (Lily James) natural optimism and Lady Tremaine's (Cate Blanchett) viciously calculating pragmatism. While the former ultimately wins out, Branagh isn't above occasionally giving the latter perspective its due. Even as Blanchett generally plays her character to the delicious black-hearted hilt, she does offer fleeting glimpses of the painful life experience that has shaped her appalling current behavior. And though the film sprinkles in those intermittent moments of bitter adult wisdom, Branagh, as with the film's main character, never allows Cinderella to sink into heavy-spiritedness. A sense of play reigns over the proceedings, perhaps encapsulated most amusingly by Helena Bonham Carter's Fairy Godmother, played with a kind of jokey, no-nonsense gleam in her eyes that nevertheless feels completely sincere rather than snarky. That just about sums up the film in a nutshell: It may not reinvent any wheels, but it's been made with enough care and belief in its material that it manages to refresh our relationship to the iconic tale, reminding us of why its message, of kindness triumphing over evil, has endured for so long.

The Greatest American Movies

Blame Jonathan Rosenbaum. Everytime that old wizard posts anything on facebook I can't help but steal his ideas. This time it was a poll of his ten favourite American movies, and like his greatest living director list, it got me thinking. So I asked just about every badass cinephile I knew for the same list, not because I needed to know the greatest American movie, but because I wanted to hear the ways we agree and disagree. It was fascinating to hear everyone's answer. American had to mean something in particular in this case, so I narrowed the field to "American money." That included Hitchcock and Lang and the like, but cut out UK co-productions like Alien and Barry Lyndon, which I've included as phantom choices for those who couldn't live without them. I'm not a monster after all. Anyway, I hope you have fun perusing them. Feel free to post your own choices in the comments. I could go on for days about what I wanted to include but couldn't, as all of these guys could, I'm sure. Forgive us what we left behind. 

Damian Arlyn
City Lights
Pinocchio 
Citizen Kane
Psycho
Apocalypse Now
Manhattan
Die Hard
Unforgiven
Schindler's List
The Tree of Life


Noah Aust
Minnie & Moskowitz/A Woman Under The Influence
Synecdoche NY
Mulholland Dr.
Blade Runner
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
The Tree of Life
A Night At The Opera
The Wizard of Oz
12 Monkeys
The Conversation



Blake Backlash
Psycho
Letter From An Unknown Woman
Touch of Evil
Phantom of the Paradise
A Serious Man
Quiz Show
Carnival of Souls
Starship Troopers
The Parallax View
Blazing Saddles




Miriam Bale

"It's insane not to include Lewis, Ray, Lubitsch, & Hawks, the four greatest American directors. But with them, it's too difficult to choose one.”

Mean Streets
Magnificent Ambersons
Love Streams
Vertigo
A New Leaf
I Walked With A Zombie
Meet Me in St. Louis
Objective Burma!
Daughters of the Dust
Rushmore




Eric Barroso
Johnny Guitar
The Magnificent Ambersons
Thief
His Girl Friday/Only Angels Have Wings
Park Row
Mothlight
Sherlock, Jr.
Scorpio Rising
Fury
Night of the Hunter


Theodora Blasko
The Tree of Life
Pulp Fiction
Bringing Up Baby
The Royal Tenenbaums
All That Jazz
Rosemary’s Baby
No Country for Old Men
Zodiac 
Annie Hall 
Boogie Nights




Danny Bowes
Citizen Kane
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
Singin' in the Rain
2001: A Space Odyssey
Vertigo
Blade Runner ('07 cut)
The Grapes of Wrath
Goodfellas
The Godfather
Network




Charles Bramesco
Boogie Nights
All About Eve
Dr. Strangelove
Sherlock Jr.
Taxi Driver
Vertigo
Lost Highway
Barton Fink
Symbiopsychotaxiplasm
Nashville


David Cairns
2001: A Space Odyssey
Rear Window
Out of the Past
Citizen Kane
The General
Paper Moon
Raging Bull
Harold & Maude
He Who Gets Slapped
The Apartment


Forrest Cardamenis
Meshes of the Afternoon
Dog Star Man
Killer of Sheep
Mulholland Dr.
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Tree of Life
Johnny Guitar
Meek's Cutoff
Safe
Do The Right Thing


Monica Castillo
Night of the Hunter
Singin' In The Rain
His Girl Friday
The Thing
Do The Right Thing
Annie Hall
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Our Hospitality
Jaws
Rosemary's Baby



Jaime N. Christley
Greed
Make Way For Tomorrow
Only Angels Have Wings
His Girl Friday
The Magnificent Ambersons
Vertigo
The Ladies Man
Blade Runner
White Dog
Schindler’s List




Sam Cohen
Thief
True Grit
McCabe & Mrs. Miller
Badlands
Dead Man
All That Jazz
Spring Breakers
Manhattan
Blue Velvet
The Last Picture Show



Jake Cole
Monsieur Verdoux
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Bigger Than Life
A.I.
Opening Night
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
Rio Bravo
Nashville
The King of Comedy
The Magnificent Ambersons


Olivia Collette
Moonstruck
Some Like It Hot
Alien
The Royal Tenenbaums
Pleasantville
Citizen Kane
Koyaanisqatsi
Lost In Translation
The Shining
L.A. Story



Adam Cook
Notorious
Age of Innocence
The Long Voyage Home
An American In Paris
Blackout
Love Streams
Heat
City Lights
Unforgiven
The Big Heat


Max Covill
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Godfather
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
Vertigo
Singin' In The Rain
Jaws
Badlands
Double Indemnity
Taxi Driver
City Lights



Fernando F. Croce
The Naked Kiss
Badlands
The Reckless Moment
Johnny Guitar
The Bowery
City Girl
Take Me To Town
The Patsy
Duel In The Sun
To Sleep With Anger



Greg Cwik
Apocalypse Now
Batman Returns
The Godfather
Goodfellas
Jaws
Mulholland Drive
Point Blank
Rosemary's Baby
There Will Be Blood
Vertigo
Phantom 11. Alien



Brian Darr
Intolerance
Docks of New York
Angel
King-Size Canary
The End
The Far Country
Hold Me While I'm Naked
Carrie
To Sleep With Anger
The Company




Abhimanyu Das
McCabe & Mrs. Miller
Apocalypse Now
Pulp Fiction
Blue Velvet
Blade Runner
Chinatown
Rear Window
RoboCop
Die Hard
The Godfather Part II


Diana Drumm
It Happened One Night
Gone with the Wind
Sunset Boulevard
Vertigo
Annie Hall
Badlands
Network
Dead Man
Closer
Laura
Phantom 11. 12 Years a Slave




Paul Duane
The Unknown 
Only Angels Have Wings
The Thing
Taxi Driver
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Detour 
Gun Crazy
The Producers
Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia
Rio Bravo


Tim Earle
Network
Citizen Kane
Fargo
Do the Right Thing
Saving Private Ryan
Goodfellas
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Team America, World Police
Fight Club
Synecdoche, New York


Tom Elrod
The Crowd
Modern Times
Fantasia
The Magnificent Ambersons
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
The Searchers
The Long Goodbye
E.T.
Ishtar
The Last Temptation of Christ





Alex Engquist
The Big Parade
Meshes of the Afternoon
The Magnificent Ambersons
Imitation of Life
Only Angels Have Wings
Window Water Baby Moving
Wanda
Nashville
Love Streams
Do The Right Thing
A.I.


Autumn Faust
Resident Evil Extinction
The Blair Witch Project
A.I.
Inland Empire
Apocalypse Now
Spring Breakers
Meshes of the Afternoon
Do The Right Thing
The Evil Dead 2
The Act of Seeing With One's Own Eye



Veronika Ferdman
Limelight
Johnny Guitar
Wild at Heart
The Tree of Life
The Tarnished Angels
Heat
The Moderns
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Puce Moment





Kenji Fujishima
Vertigo
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
Dawn of the Dead
The Crowd
The Conversation 
Killer of Sheep
Love Streams
Window Water Baby Moving
Mean Streets
Barry Lyndon


Felipe Furtado
Hatari!
Walden: Diaries, Notes & Sketches
Broken Blossoms
Wagon Master
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
Make Way for Tomorrow
Two-Lane Blacktop
Hallejulah
Force of Evil
My Hustler




Jim Gabriel
The Crowd
Citizen Kane
Miracle of Morgan’s Creek
Meet Me In St. Louis
Bigger Than Life
The Wild Bunch
Nashville
All That Jazz
The Dante Quartet
The Tree of Life



CM Gardner
The Magnificent Ambersons
Only Angels Have Wings
Head
Female Trouble
Killer of Sheep
California Split
Nashville
The King of Comedy
Duck Amuck
Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story


Sean Gilman
Fort Apache
Ruggles of Red Gap
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
Night of the Hunter
Slacker
Two Lane Blacktop
Do The Right Thing
The New World
Dead Man
High School


Robert Greene
Welfare/The Store
Love Streams
Salesman
3 Women
Frownland
Manhattan Murder Mystery/Stardust Memories
Imitation of Life
Miami Vice
Portrait of Jason
As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty


Tina Hassania
Love Streams
Do The Right Thing
The Shining
To Be Or Not To Be
Meshes of the Afternoon
Badlands
His Girl Friday
Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans
You've Got Mail
The Big Lebowski


Roderick Heath
Foolish Wives
The Seventh Victim
Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome/Lucifer Rising
Hell To Eternity
The Hustler
Confessions of an Opium Eater
Marnie
The Color Purple
Kundun



Tony G. Huang
They Live By Night
Notorious
Steamboat Bill, Jr.
The Shop Around The Corner
The Last Detail
Rebel Without A Cause
Wind Across The Everglades
To Have and Have Not
Citizen Kane
Days of Heaven



Tucker Johnson
Apocalypse Now
Citizen Kane
There Will Be Blood
The Godfather
Jaws
Dr. Strangelove
Sweet Smell of Success
Pulp Fiction
Fargo
Zodiac


Alan Jones
"As an English-speaking Canadian, I largely absorbed American culture and entertainment as my own while I grew up. But the older I get, the more alien America seems to me, the more I realize that American myths are not my myths, and the more I realize that America (like any other place in the world) is a weird, special place with its own culture and idiosyncrasies, as well as its own demons. So that might be why my favourite "American films" tend to treat America as a strange and unique place rather than succumbing to the horseshit concept of American exceptionalism or attempting to universalize the American experience. To be honest, there are probably American productions I prefer to some of the movies below, but to me the words "American film" suggest a certain preoccupation with "America," so that's how I've written this list (sorry, Hitch!). Also, I like movies about teens."


Apocalypse Now
The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Beach Blanket Bingo
The Breakfast Club
Chinatown
Do the Right Thing
Once Upon a Time in America
The Last Picture Show
Rebel Without a Cause
The Straight Story




Dan Khan
Dr. Strangelove
Casablanca
The Lady From Shanghai
Killing of a Chinese Bookie
Pulp Fiction
The Searchers
The Royal Tenenbaums
The Tree of Life
Bringing Up Baby
Down By Law




Danny King
Chilly Scenes of Winter
Cop
Fat City
Heaven’s Gate
Keane
Losing Ground
My Son John
The New Centurions
Pride of the Marines
Two Lovers


Ryland Walker Knight
The Awful Truth
His Girl Friday
The Birds
Wanda
Two-Lane Blacktop
A New Leaf
Bless Their Little Hearts
Love Streams
Inland Empire
The Master


Zach Lewis
Dr. Strangelove
Young Mr. Lincoln
North on Evers
Sunrise
The Black Book
Kiss Me Deadly
The Clock
The Addiction
Nothing But A Man
The Lusty Men




Mark Lukenbill
Two Lane Blacktop
Killer of Sheep
All that Heaven Allows
Sullivan's Travels
Paper Moon
The Night of the Hunter
The Long Goodbye
Mikey and Nicky
Elephant
Two Lovers


Noah Adrian Lyons
Sunset Blvd
Mulholland Dr.
Citizen Kane
2001: A Space Odyssey
Psycho
Meshes of the Afternoon
Do the Right Thing
Annie Hall
Taxi Driver
Lost in Translation




Lucas Mangum
Alien/Clockwork Orange
American Beauty
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Pulp Fiction
Raging Bull
O, Brother Where Art Thou?
Big Trouble In Little China
Jaws
Terminator 2
Blade Runner



Calum Marsh
To Be or Not to Be
Ruggles of Red Gap
The Thin Man
The Palm Beach Story
Ball of Fire
Bitter Victory
Los Angeles Plays Itself
The Sweet Smell of Success
California Split
Ms. 45
Phantom 11: Barry Lyndon


Jake Mulligan
The Age of Innocence
The Best Years of Our Lives
Blow Out
It's Always Fair Weather
Jungle Fever
Monkey Business
Patty Hearst
Rolling Thunder
Unfaithfully Yours
You Only Live Once


Vikram Murthi
Double Indemnity
Night of the Hunter
Taxi Driver
2001: A Space Odyssey
Chinatown
Blue Collar
Something Wild
Blue Velvet
Pulp Fiction
Zodiac



Nick Newman
City Girl
You Only Live Once
Bigger Than Life
Rio Bravo
Nothing But a Man
Zapruder Film of the Kennedy Assassination
Days of Heaven
After Hours
Pulp Fiction
Inland Empire


Max B. O'Connell
Raging Bull
Vertigo
Manhattan
E.T.
Citizen Kane
On The Waterfront
There Will Be Blood
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Lady Eve
City Lights




John M. Oursler
Imitation of Life
King of Comedy
Nashville
The Exorcist
Opening Night
Safe
Mulholland Dr.
Cabaret
The Master
All About Eve



Michael Pattison
The French Connection
Singin' In The Rain
Deseret
Chinatown
North By Northwest
Rope
Southern Comfort
Blue Velvet
Die Hard
Heat


Cain Rodriguez
"I made this list to be representative of the American cinematic culture/landscape so I limited this list to American-directed films. These are films I love but not necessarily my favorites, this is a list I would give to someone who wanted to understand American culture"

The Godfather
12 Angry Men
All The President's Men
The Killing
Days of Heaven
Die Hard
Raising Arizona
Boogie Nights
Halloween



Bill Ryan
Targets
She Wore A Yellow Ribbon
The Exorcist
The Friends of Eddie Coyle
Glengarry Glen Ross
Some Came Running
A Serious Man
In Harm's Way
This is Spinal Tap
The Shooting


Kristen Sales
The General
Young Mr. Lincoln
Citizen Kane
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Imitation of Life
The Wild Bunch
The Godfather
Nashville
Days of Heaven
Do The Right Thing


Michael Sicinski
Mothlight
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
2001: A Space Odyssey
Vertigo
What The Water Said Nos. 4-6
Imitation of Life
Kiss Me Deadly
Do The Right Thing
Side/Walk/Shuttle
Killer of Sheep




Michelle Siracusa
3:10 To Yuma
The New World
Sorcerer
Near Dark
Moonrise Kingdom
Hugo
The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
Rosemary's Baby
West Side Story
Wall*E


Andrew Skelton
The Gold Rush
My Darling Clementine
Only Angels Have Wings
Fury
In A Lonely Place
The Heartbreak Kid
Targets
Pickup on South Street
Singin' in the Rain
Safe



Justine A. Smith
Catch-22
The Awful Truth
Laura
Lost Highway
Eyes Wide Shut
Cluny Brown
Baby Doll
Some Like It Hot
The Searchers
Window Water Baby Moving




Colin Stacy
City Lights
Trouble in Paradise
The Apartment 
The Birds
His Girl Friday
Chinatown
Grey Gardens
Killer of Sheep
Eraserhead
Boogie Nights



Andreas Stoehr
The Big Parade 
The Scarlet Empress 
Bride of Frankenstein 
Meshes of the Afternoon 
Johnny Guitar 
All That Heaven Allows 
All My Life 
Nashville 
RoboCop 
Mulholland Dr. 




Tanner Tafelski
Bad Lieutenant 
How Green Was My Valley 
Notorious 
Dead Man 
The Thin Red Line 
Eraserhead 
3:10 to Yuma 
Naked Lunch 
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie 
Landscape Suicide




Scout Tafoya
The New World
Punishment Park
Man In The Wilderness/The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
Leviathan
Killer of Sheep
Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia
Dawn of the Dead
Morocco
Love Streams
North By Northwest




Brian Tallerico
The Gold Rush
Fargo
Jaws
Zodiac
Night of the Hunter
The Searchers
Singin' in the Rain
Touch of Evil
The Tree of Life
Vertigo




Irina Trocan
The Long Goodbye
Anatomy of a Murder
High School
Rio Bravo
Sunset Boulevard
High Plains Drifter
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
Design for Living
Stemple Pass
David Holzman’s Diary
Phantom 11. Barry Lyndon


Kyle Turner
Bringing Up Baby
Angels in America
Clue
Stranger Than Fiction
Paper Moon
The Silence of the Lambs
Mildred Pierce 
Design for Living
Fantasia
Frances Ha




Sean Van Deuren
My Dinner With Andre
Frances Ha
Badlands
Zodiac
Hannah and Her Sisters
All The President’s Men
Eyes Wide Shut
Singing In The Rain
Raging Bull
Punch-Drunk Love



Neil Young
American Graffiti 
Punch-Drunk Love
The Fog
Nashville
Casting A Glance
The Long Goodbye
Don't Look Back
The Elephant Man
Badlands
The Game