Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2017 - Ashley Harris ""

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Film Discoveries of 2017 - Ashley Harris

Ashley is hopelessly obsessed with cinema, completely consumed by Francois Truffaut and Humphrey Bogart's eyes, and can be found fawning over David Lynch on
On twitter @oOoOoBarracuda.
Being a cinephile that prefers movies from years gone by, I always make a treasure trove of film discoveries throughout the year. 2017 was the second year that I've had a themed viewing schedule, per month, for the entire year, which has inspired me to see many films I wouldn't have otherwise. Making a concentrated effort to see so many varied films per year has led to some favorite discoveries. Below are my favorite first-time watches of 2017.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) Dir. Robert Wiene
One of the earliest examples of German Expressionism, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, captivated me with its dizzying jagged lines and incomprehensible landscapes. Watching The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari made me wished I lived in the world where a falling leaf looked like it could decapitate you. The overwhelming tension created by the production design alone amazed me like few other pieces of cinema.
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The Mirror (1975) Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky
Stalker is cute, but have you seen The Mirror? I'm joking, of course, Tarkovsky didn't make a bad film, so being enthralled by any of them can't lead you astray. I watched all of Tarkovsky's seven feature films over the course of a couple weeks and The Mirror, by far left the biggest impact. A journey through the memories of someone we never see, The Mirror enchants with its poetic collage of reminiscence and was the best photo album I've ever journeyed through.
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Black Moon (1975) Dir. Louis Malle
Apparently, 1975 is quickly becoming a favorite cinematic year, for me. Discovering Louis Malle and completely submerging myself in his filmography in 2017 is exactly what keeps me so enchanted by cinema. The possibility that an untapped favorite exists is the reason I watch so many movies every year. Black Moon has something in it for everyone; the film includes war, dystopian future, and a unicorn. I wasn't sure, after reading a similar description, how all those elements were going to come together, and it turned out not to matter. Black Moon is a ride through allegory and astounding imagery on the back of a mythical creature and it is a trip I want to take again and again.
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Five Easy Pieces (1970) Dir. Bob Rafelson
I am always on the hook for a deeply engaging character study and that is exactly what I found in Five Easy Pieces. Led by Jack Nicholson in a brilliant performance, Five Easy Pieces is a perfect example of a film elevated by each actor seen onscreen. Rafelson was clearly adept at pulling from the deepest depths of the human experience to bring such a remarkable human tale to fruition. Not only does Five Easy Pieces expertly navigate the struggles of family and life's purpose, but it also delivers one of my new favorite diner scenes that could only compete with...
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When Harry Met Sally (1989) Dir. Rob Reiner
That diner scene has been etched into the American lexicon since its utterance, but there is nothing quite like watching a scene so iconic, for the first time and seeing that it hasn't lost even a hint of its punch despite the fact that you've heard it imitated innumerable times. I love watching movies that illustrate real-life problems, including the myriad of stupid ways human beings can sabotage their own happiness. Films about the convoluted journey of life are often enjoyable, for me, especially so though with Rob Reiner sprinkling some much-needed self-aware humor throughout.
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