An Introduction To...
A long, long time ago (I can still remember) a blog I really liked - which is no longer active, much like 90% of the blogs I once followed, unfortunately - did a series of ranked lists based around a greater ranking of their thirty favourite filmmakers. The blog was called Goodfella's Movie Blog, and you can check out the link here.
Because I recently relocated to a different part of the country and no longer have a large archive of DVDs and no Blu-Ray player (only a small, portable DVD player, with a screen not much bigger than that of a standard smart phone) I'm unable to create frame captures, or to watch as many new films as I once did. Also, if the Google stats are indeed correct, no one is actually reading the 'Key Films' series anymore (the last once, posted two months ago, hasn't even crossed 30 views; a year ago they were getting close to 300) and I'm so far behind with subsequent titles that I feel like I'm drowning. If blogging becomes too much like hard work, it's time to cut your losses and get out, or simply cast aside the prior commitments and make a break with something else.
For now, I've decided to do something that I'll enjoy and that I've been kicking around on other sites - most frequently, IMDb - and that relates very much to the original idea initiated on the Goodfella's blog. Essentially, an on-going list-based appraisal of the work of my favourite filmmakers; in short, a personal ranking of films seen.
I can't promise thirty directors, but I'm hoping to do something a bit more in-depth than just another illustrated list (equivalent to my recent 'Ranking the Decades' series, which will continue in the new year). The project will commence in the next few days with the first part of a three part ranking of one of my absolute favourite filmmakers, none other than...
Francis Ford Coppola
For me, the greatest American filmmaker since Orson Welles and, like Welles, one of the most creative, independent and personally inspirational. The man who throughout his career has risked a part of himself with every great film he's ever made. A man who brought himself close to ruin on several occasions pursuing personal projects with a passion and recklessness that made him easy to mock, but with an authority and a dedication that made him too dangerous to be taken lightly. A man who risked bankruptcy, ridicule, his heath and even his sanity in the pursuit of images - such as those found in Apocalypse Now (1979), pictured above - greater than anyone had ever seen.
A man who has been at the forefront of several major developments in late twentieth century cinema, from the European influenced American new wave of You're a Big Boy Now (1966), to the prototype "new Hollywood" drama of The Rain People (1969), to his landmark blockbuster The Godfather (1972) and beyond, through a host of intensely personal, eccentric, highly creative films that best illustrate the 1957 maxim of François Truffaut that "The films of the future will be more personal than autobiography, like a confession, or a diary. Young filmmakers will speak in the first person in order to tell what happened to them: their first love, a political awakening, a trip, an illness, and so on. Tomorrow’s film will be an act of love."
For all his passion, innovation and sincerity, for the ongoing popularity of the four masterworks he released during the 1970s, Coppola is a filmmaker still underestimated and misrepresented by critics and audiences who have bought in to a cruel and unfair approach to film appreciation that only celebrates an artist's work when it draws acclaim and prestige from the mainstream culture, and not for how well the full body of work might communicate the artist's specific or individual point of view.