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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…


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Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Opening Shots Pop Quiz: Answers


Here goes. For the time being, I'm just going to offer up the answers to the Opening Shots Pop Quiz, without further elaboration or analysis in most cases -- because these shots are so great they deserve full Opening Shots treatments of their own. (And you, by the way, are welcome to provide them if you are so inclined!)


1. "Sherlock, Jr." (Buster Keaton, 1924)

OK, let me just say a few words about this one: It's nothing more than a traditional interior establishing shot, lasting only a few seconds before a closer shot succeeds it. We can see it's inside a movie theater, between shows because the house lights are up. There's a pile of trash and a broom leaning against an aisle seat in the back row. And a porkpie hat floats above a book in the hands of... who? Well, the janitor, probably. Only, of course, it turns out to be Buster, and he's also the projectionist. And the book he's reading is about how to become a detective... All the ingredients of this masterpiece of movie-love are present in this one image.


2. "A History of Violence" (2005) by David Cronenberg

It was clear Cronenberg's film was one of last year's best by the end of this single shot.


3. "The Tenant" (1976) by Roman Polanski


4. "The Servant" (Joseph Losey, 1963)


5. "Sydney," aka "Hard Eight" (1997) by Paul Thomas Anderson


6. "Playtime" (1967) by Jacques Tati


7. "Sunrise" (1927) by F.W. Murnau


8. "North By Northwest" (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)


9. "Out of Sight" (1998) by Steven Soderbergh


10. "M" (1931) by Fritz Lang


11. "Three Kings" (1999) by David O. Russell


12. "Twin Peaks" (David Lynch, 1990 -- pilot/European feature)


13. "Repulsion" (1965) by Roman Polanski


14. "The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant" (1972) by R.W. Fassbinder


15. "Rear Window" (1954) by Alfred Hitchcock


16. "Accident" (1967) by Joseph Losey. Note: Both this film and "The Servant," above, were collaborations with screenwriter Harold Pinter.


BONUS: "Deep End" (1970) by Jerzy Skolimowski. Starring Jane Asher, John Moulder-Brown and Diana Dors. Music by Cat Stevens (from "Tea for the Tillerman"). More about this later...

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