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¶ PdA’s Anti-Canon, 2021 Edition

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Perception de Ambiguity
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¶ PdA’s Anti-Canon, 2021 Edition

#1

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

It's Anti-Canon time again. If you have been around for a while you know what to expect. If not, this is a ranked Top 300 list of my favorite narrative films that are relatively little seen.

Started in 2013 this list has become an annual tradition of mine. Originally the list included personal favorite films of any kind, but last year I decided to split the project into two lists, outsourcing all the experimental films to their own list. Anything that didn't qualify as "purely" experimental remained on the 300-titles-restricted Anti-Canon list which I came to term the "narrative cinema" segment, "narrative" arguably being a rather loose term here when it comes to some of these films.

This time I'll only do a new edition of the "narrative cinema" Anti-Canon because while a pretty good percentage of my favorite viewings this year would fall into the experimental category I actually feel that this year I very much dropped the ball on watching experimental films and an update wouldn't change the list enough to warrant a new edition. So in terms of a companion list you may consider last year's "experimental cinema" list to still be valid, which can be gawked at here: PdA’s Canon - experimental cinema, 2020 Edition


So without further ado, edition No.9 ("No.9", "No.9", "No.9",...) of my Anti-Canon.
Year of cut-off: 2018

:letbxd: PdA’s Anti-Canon - narrative cinema, 2021 Edition
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Also, yeah, no IMDb list this year, cause IMDb is dead as a doornail. This is the future, where doorbells sing, stop living in the past. IMDb just isn't compatible with the Metaverse, sorry. For what it's worth, here are the four titles that unfortunately couldn't make it simply because they aren't listed on letterboxd:
  • The Dippy Do Dads in "The Monkey Story" (1924, Len Powers)


As a point of reference, in terms of a cut-off point for popularity, the most-seen titles ended up having around 1,600 watches on letterboxd.

If you like comparing or you are interested in evolution and stuff, here are links to all the previous editions hidden under spoiler tags:
previous editions hidden under spoiler tags

So, what films on my Anti-Canon have you seen, what did you love, what did you hate? What do you want to see, what have you heard good things about, what is on no Official List but should be, what is on Official Lists but shouldn't be? Why can you feel hot when your feet are cold? What inclusions make you jump with joy that somebody else in the world actually knows about this film and loves it, what inclusions are so puzzling that surely they must be a mistake? What films have you tried to find but weren't able to (I'll be happy to help if I can). Biggest surprises, greatest disappointments. Why does love hurt? These and other overall positive comments, nonsense remarks and obtrusive questions are welcome.
Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on November 29th, 2021, 12:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#2

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To the best of my recall I've seen 16:
Life on a string (#19), Jonah who will be 25 in the year 2000 (#60), Alice in wonderland [66] (#65), Le Horla (#93), The Hellstrom chronicle (#100), Crows (#103), The lathe of heaven (#141), Der Fall Gleiwitz (#154), The lost moment (#164), Germany pale mother (#192), Yesterday girl (#193), Johnny Hamlet (#194), The pearls of the crown (#237), Steppenwolf (#271), Long life the republic (#278)
AND The Ascent of Man (#52) - saw it on PBS in the 70s, now I checked it. "Bronowski" has a cameo in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Sorry I don't have anything useful to say about the others.
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#3

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

3eyes wrote: November 26th, 2021, 2:09 pmAND The Ascent of Man (#52) - saw it on PBS in the 70s, now I checked it. "Bronowski" has a cameo in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Nice, I did not know that. Does he really? I couldn't find a reference to it online. I didn't know about Bronowski until recently so seeing him in "Holy Grail" before probably wouldn't have registered for me.
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#4

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Perception de Ambiguity wrote: November 27th, 2021, 9:46 pm
3eyes wrote: November 26th, 2021, 2:09 pmAND The Ascent of Man (#52) - saw it on PBS in the 70s, now I checked it. "Bronowski" has a cameo in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Nice, I did not know that. Does he really? I couldn't find a reference to it online. I didn't know about Bronowski until recently so seeing him in "Holy Grail" before probably wouldn't have registered for me.
I put "Bronowski" in quotes - it's a parodic reference: we suddenly see a scholar starting to lecture about matters Arthurian - he promptly gets shot, as I recall.
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#5

Post by viktor-vaudevillain »

Best time of the year around this forum.

Of course you have delivered another inspiring list.
I had seen 44 films on last year's list, and this year I've gone back to 42. I must cofess as well, that I haven't been prioritizing obscure cinema too much this year.

I few present on your list which I saw for the first time this year are:
This World, Then the Fireworks - 6 - understand your thing for this one, but didn't please my sensibilities at the moment.
Det speglar i mitt öga - 8 - Hedenius has definitely been one of the best discoveries this year.
Gubben i stugan - 8 - had the chance to watch this at the cinema. Very meditative experience late one rainy sunday afternoon.
The End of Time - 7 - slightly disappointed by this one, having loved every other Mettler film I've seen. Still great. Love Richis Hawtin and his music as Plastikman, but I felt it was out of place interviewing a white musician (who's not even from Detroit) to represent the Detroit Techno scene's transcendent potential when that scene was built on a Black subculture and still is connected to the Black community. The film covers A LOT in its 1 hour 50 minute runtime so of course not everything can have the same impact on every person.
Treno popolare - 7+ - trains and film, great lovestory. Really liked this one. Very 30's.
The Day Shall Dawn - 8
Lord of the Dance/Destroyer of Illusion - 6 - I suppose your love for this one is mostly borne out of your big interest in the topic. It was a nice, short viewing though. Weird with the Richard Gere voiceover.
Le crime d'amour - 9 - one of the best films I've seen this year. Love Guy Gilles working in an 80's style.
Please Vote For Me - 8 - love these kids!

Also glad to see Nathalie Granger finding its way onto your list. A great, mystical opus from Duras (one of my favorite directors, as you may know).
The Unknown Craftsman is also new on there, right? Also a very singular work. Understand your affinity for that one.
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#6

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

viktor-vaudevillain wrote: November 28th, 2021, 12:50 pm Best time of the year around this forum.

Of course you have delivered another inspiring list.
I had seen 44 films on last year's list, and this year I've gone back to 42. I must cofess as well, that I haven't been prioritizing obscure cinema too much this year.

I few present on your list which I saw for the first time this year are:
This World, Then the Fireworks - 6 - understand your thing for this one, but didn't please my sensibilities at the moment.
Det speglar i mitt öga - 8 - Hedenius has definitely been one of the best discoveries this year.
Gubben i stugan - 8 - had the chance to watch this at the cinema. Very meditative experience late one rainy sunday afternoon.
The End of Time - 7 - slightly disappointed by this one, having loved every other Mettler film I've seen. Still great. Love Richis Hawtin and his music as Plastikman, but I felt it was out of place interviewing a white musician (who's not even from Detroit) to represent the Detroit Techno scene's transcendent potential when that scene was built on a Black subculture and still is connected to the Black community. The film covers A LOT in its 1 hour 50 minute runtime so of course not everything can have the same impact on every person.
Treno popolare - 7+ - trains and film, great lovestory. Really liked this one. Very 30's.
The Day Shall Dawn - 8
Lord of the Dance/Destroyer of Illusion - 6 - I suppose your love for this one is mostly borne out of your big interest in the topic. It was a nice, short viewing though. Weird with the Richard Gere voiceover.
Le crime d'amour - 9 - one of the best films I've seen this year. Love Guy Gilles working in an 80's style.
Please Vote For Me - 8 - love these kids!

Also glad to see Nathalie Granger finding its way onto your list. A great, mystical opus from Duras (one of my favorite directors, as you may know).
The Unknown Craftsman is also new on there, right? Also a very singular work. Understand your affinity for that one.
This World, then the Fireworks - I wouldn't really have expected you to be into this one. B-movie fare has fallen out of favor with me somewhat in more recent years, at least it feels like it. I watch a lot fewer of them than I did 5+ years ago although when I do there still is the odd "trashy" movie that resonates with me. But also many of the old favorites that I revisited lately didn't fare well with me at all. Maybe part of it is that they aren't particularly well-suited for rewatches, I'm lucky enough if I'm in the right frame of mind the first time that I watch them, rewatching an old B-movie favorite I'm just pushing my luck. Having said that, THIS WORLD, then the FIREWORKS not only totally held up for me on rewatches but somehow actually feels pretty classy to me. I recognize its distinct 90's B-movie style, like the Dutch angles and the excessive editing, but everything comes together for me in this one, I wouldn't want it to be any other way nor would I accept any other adaptation of this story. I'm partial to Jim Thompson and when seeing and loving THIS WORLD, then the FIREWORKS I subsequently went through all the film adaptations based on his work I could find (the aren't too numerous), which was rewarding, but this is still my favorite. Also, the title alone...it's burned into my mind to the point that I can't think of "fireworks" without thinking of that title.

Treno popolare - I don't remember it too well, but I know that I loved the first act especially. Which was the part that took place on a train? And was it without dialogue? It really created the mood of being on a train ride, capturing all those little gestures and finding humor in it. Like a light version of 'Shanghai Express'. The later portions I guess are more Jean Renoir?

Le crime d'amour - I hope to rewatch it soon.

Please Vote for Me - https://perception-de-ambiguity.tumblr. ... -democracy

'Nathalie Granger' - Yeah, except why the HELL isn't 'Détruire dit-elle' / 'Destroy, She Said' not on the list? That's my favorite Duras and at the moments has a measly 585 watches on lbxd. Answer: I compiled the list by going through my favorite viewings of the months lists to find new potential additions and I accidentally skipped over the month in which I watched 'Détruire dit-elle'. I very much try to avoid editing my Anti-Canon list after the fact, but this omission is just unacceptable, along with the other eligible goodies from that month. So I fixed that mishap, which means four new additions: Episode: 1 (2003, Renzo Martens), Détruire dit-elle (1969, Marguerite Duras), MythScape: Remembering The End Of The World (1996, Ben Ged Low), Cleópatra (2007 Júlio Bressane). That last one makes for a nice trade-off for Guy Gilles' 'Nefertiti: Daughter of the Sun' which dropped out after having been on the list last year.

'The Unknown Craftsman' is new, yes. Amit Dutta entered my world last year with 'The Seventh Walk' (which is on the experimental list). He isn't always for me, like, I couldn't at all get into 'Nainsukh', but I was very much in the right frame of mind when I watched 'The Unknown Craftsman', which under different circumstances I imagine I maybe would have found a bit dry. 'Wittgenstein Plays Chess with Marcel Duchamp, or How Not to Do Philosophy' also is a wonderful quicky, brushing up on some canonical philosophy without having to read, my favorite.
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