Best Films of 1970
Best Films of 1971
Best Films of 1972
Best Films of 1973
Best Films of 1974

Best Films of 1975
Best Films of 1976
Best Films of 1977
Best Films of 1978
Best Films of 1979

Mean Streets
Spirit of the Beehive
Edvard Munch
Desert of the Tartars

Minnie and Moskowitz
That Obscure Object of Desire
Nosferatu the Vampire

BEST FILMS OF 1973 - List in Progress
by Mike Lorefice

The Crazies
George A. Romero

George Romero's comment on the US political scene of the 1960's and early 1970's, specifically Vietnam and Watergate, with it all taking place in a small Pennsylvania farming town, triggered by a US biological weapon accidentally released on our own people. Government panic, dishonesty, and cover-up, America's love-hate relationship with authority, and everyone's cold war paranoia is all here. Despite arguably too much resemblance to the Living Dead films, this is another extremely ambitious work pulled off despite the shoestring budget as only a young energetic Romero could. When the military attempts to quarantine the town because everyone who is infected will go criminally insane if the virus doesn't kill them, all channels of communication break down. The official channels are tied up in red tape, and in the meantime the military fails to win the hearts and minds of the local gun-toting yokels. The army posts barricades, and drags them there for their own good! Civilization soon breaks down, and we see all aspects of the world's descent into anarchic hell. Gentle people soon turn into cold blooded killers, highlighted by a benign smiling old granny using her knitting needles to stab a soldier to death. This hopeless film is scary because there's no refuge. The infected humans aren't acting uncharacteristically; they just have an excuse for their selfish violent acts. The Crazies has several flaws, largely that it lacks subtlety, made worse by too many bad overly talky scenes of mumbo jumbo that also bog it down. That said, the audacity of putting this blood stained satire of American ignorance and non cooperation on the screen at all, combined with the rapid fire action scenes make the problems relatively easy to overlook. Like Night of the Living Dead, Romero ends his apocalyptic nightmare with a scene of misunderstanding and indifference bringing tragedy to a would be survivor, which if you take a step back is arguably his main message. [12/17/06] ***


Electra Glide in Blue
James William Guercio


Full Movie Review


The Horse
Charles Burnett

Charles Burnett's poetic evocation of a black boy coming of age in the rural South is an attempt to bring a Faulkneresque tale to the screen. The film is all mood and atmosphere, with the rhythm of everyday life taking precedent over the nonexistent plot. Shot in rustic color, Burnett sets the tone and slow pace by opening with two lengthy, distanced static wide angle shots of the vast high plains ranch before focusing on the humans with Bressonesque close-ups of their feet as they walk and stomp. It's a lazy day where no one feels like budging, which could be why these white men lie around waiting for the black man to put their old horse out of its misery when they could do it themselves. Even more than his subsequent masterpiece Killer of Sheep, Burnett doesn't have a hero. The son of the killer of horse simply accepts what needs to be done, comforting the beast during its final hours while he awaits the arrival of his father. Focusing on the setting rather than any one character, the boy only utters a meaningless one word answer to his father's (filmmaker Larry Clark) question of whether he missed him before dad does what has to be done. There's no quagmire, no deliberation, as in Killer of Sheep Burnett simply shows a man who does his job. The unknowable journey is far more interesting than the predictable destination, with Burnett creating a disquieting mood for his spare tale. The shrieky wind score creates an ominous atmosphere that suggests something really bad will happen, as the white layabouts are bored and impatient. At least one of the Caucasians is a racist, and another is playing with a knife. The tense, unsettling dynamic seems to make us pay better attention, and thus better absorb the rich detail. In the end, it doesn't matter whether or not all goes smoothly, as the idea is the passage of time is just idling if one doesn't take it as an opportunity for growth. [6/25/08] ***


The Spirit of the Beehive
Victor Erice


Full Movie Review

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