The best final films

Whether it was Orson Welles proving how filmmaking and prestidigitation are species from the same genus, Bob Fosse pointing out the rot in the cultivation of a public persona, or Douglas Sirk shoving Americans’ noses into the cake of their polite racism, these final films incarnated what made these directors watching. All of then rank at or near the top of their director’s canon. Because it’s the holidays, John Huston’s adaptation of James Joyce’s short story looks most relevant; because we’re living in a permanently altered landscape, The Sacrifice looks most frightening.

1. Three Colors: Red (Kieslowski, 1994)
2. L’Argent (Robert Bresson, 1983)
3. Imitation of Life (Douglas Sirk, 1959)
4. The Dead (John Huston, 1987)
5. Yi Yi (Edward Yang, 2000)
6. F for Fake (Orson Welles, 1974)
7. An Autumn Afternoon (Yasujiro Ozu, 1962)
8. That Obscure Object Of Desire (Luis Buñuel, 1977)
9. Saraband (Ingmar Bergman, 2003)
10. Once Upon a Time in America (Sergio Leone, 1984)
11. Star 80 (Bob Fosse, 1983)
12. The Sacrifice (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1986)
13. The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr, 2011)
14. Street of Shame (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1956)
15. Lola Montès (Max Ophuls, 1955)

4 thoughts on “The best final films

  1. I remember loving Kieslowski’s “Blue”. The melancholy pregnating every frame of the film like an aftertaste. I also remember liking very much “Red”, especially its coda, when I hilarously roared to one of the best meta-jokes in film’s history. Poor Juliette Bonoche. She couldn’t catch a break. And what a twisted sense of humour Kieslowski had in between his dramas.

    1. I love Red for settling on the quotidian: enjoying pear brandy, sudden power surges, discussing Dead Poets Society around spoons of yogurt, a dog named Rita.

      1. Oh, sure. But that TV set showing the news of saiboat rescue at the end is out of the ordinary. Nevermind one of the passengers were the doomed Binoche; just 5 seconds in a close POV of her with the hair wet and I was on the floor of the Theater. Like, you killed Binoche’s family in a car accident in the first film and now you’re connecting the dots of the trilogy by making her ALSO the survivor of a shipwreck? You sick Krystof!

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