ANNIE HALL (Woody Allen)
If you keep making enough movies with a distinctive voice, you’re bound to get lucky eventually and have all the right elements and hit all the right notes for an artistic success that also connects with the public. For Woody Allen, it happened fairly early in his career. ANNIE HALL is very much a Woody Allen movie, but is loved by many who really don’t like Woody Allen movies. It’s just that good.
THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE (Luis Bunuel)
Luis Bunuel was back one more time before his expiration date for one last sly and subtly wicked exercise in cinematic splendor. Fernando Rey is wonderful as the harried pursuer of erotic satisfaction. And just to keep his surreal hand in, Bunuel cast two different actresses to play the elusive object of his frustrated desire.
THE AMERICAN FRIEND (Wim Wenders)
A great mash-up of a Patricia Highsmith story made with a German sensibility and a noir understanding of how things can go bad. Wim Wenders taps into Dennis Hopper’s dangerous dirty side long before he became the go-to guy for the twisted villain.
THE 70’S FILMS OF WERNER HERZOG
In the world of international cinema, the Germans have secured an honorable place. In the days before Hitler, they towered over everyone. Then in the 70’s came the German “New Wave”. There was Rainer Werner Fassbinder who burned bright, scattered wide and died young; Wim Wenders, less flashy but just as erratic and brilliant. Then there is the best of the bunch, Werner Herzog. Still a force, Herzog hit his first stride in the 70’s with AGUIRRE (see 1972), THE ENIGMA OF KASPAR HAUSAR (1975), HEART OF GLASS (1976), STROSZEK (1977) and his ambitious remake of the F.W. Murnau classic NOSFERATU (1976). All are worthy examples of this extraordinary filmmaker.