June 26, 2007

#95 on the AFI's list

Sonny ponders existence to the tune of "Wild Side of Life"

Looking through the AFI's top-100 movies list, I saw (as I'm sure everyone did) many of my favorite movies of all time (duh). Among the nineteen classic films to be added to the list since 1998 (23 films dropped out of the top hundred) was one I really like, The Last Picture Show (1971). Just as with each of the films on the list, The Last Picture Show has a quality about it that results in its transcending the medium of cinema. Like other great works of art, the movie (its scenes, story, characters, setting, soundtrack, cinematography, etc.) gives voice to those things difficult to put into words.

There are several scenes from The Last Picture Show that do this, and I tried to point them out in the post I did about it. But I repost this one specific moment/scene, if for any other reason, because I want to test out Blogger's new video upload feature.

Red River (1948), the last picture show

A movie reviewer named Neil Young (not the singer) at Jigsaw Lounge says of this scene, and others:

Time after time, everything comes brilliantly together: the visuals, the remarkable, restrained use of period music, and the performances by the large cast. The film is like the flip-side of American Graffiti (#62 on the AFI list), George Lucas’s gaudy-neon, energetic blast of rock-fuelled early-sixties Californian nostalgia. Impressive as it is, Lucas’s romp seems adolescent and puny alongside The Last Picture Show, shot in timeless black-and-white by cinematographer Robert Surtees: when Sonny looks over the Anarene skyline by night, clouds hovering in the dark sky, it’s one of the most lyrical landscape shots in American movies.

And here is that shot/scene/moment/artistic expression (mashed with a similar scene in another film by Lucas, #13 on the AFI list):

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