Speechless the Magazine

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A magazine of poetry and related arts straight from L.A.



Poets' Favorite Movies

Charles G. Hanzlicek

10 of my all-time favorite movies in no particular order and offered with regrets for the 50 other favorites I had to omit.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Britain, 1962)
Directed by Tony Richardson with a screenplay by Alan Sillitoe, adapted from his own short story. Tom Courtenay is amazing as a boy  sent to a reformatory after he and a friend rob a bakery. He finds a little bit of freedom in running and also finds a way to turn his running into an act of defiance.

The Color of Paradise (Iran, 1999)
Directed by Majid Majidi and starring Moshen Ramezani as an eight-year-old blind boy who returns to his family during the summer school break. Ramezani plucks your heart out of your chest and wrings it about twenty times during the course of the film. The ending is hokey, but everything leading up to it is intensely moving.

Dersu Uzala (Japan/Russia 1975)
Akira Kurosawa joins forces with a Russian cast to direct this story of an aging Siberian hunter who is hired to guide a surveying crew. He and the Russian officer heading the survey form a deep friendship, and the officer eventually tries to bring Dersu into the modern world, but it can’t happen.

“The Barbarian Invasions” (Canada, 2003)
Denys Arcand directs this sequel to his “Decline of the American Empire.” This film touches upon many themes, not the least of which is the art of dazzling conversation.

Facing Windows (Italy, 2004)
Directed by Verzan Ozpetek. You just have to watch this one. It’s about everything from a Holocaust survivor to adultery to perfecting the art of pastry. Giovanna Mezzogiorno stars.

Shower (China, 1999)
A wealthy businessman son returns to his boyhood home where his father and mentally disabled brother run a bathhouse. Elegantly and movingly directed by Zhang Yang.

Zelary (Czech Republic, 2003)
Andrej Trojan directs this WWII drama about a woman in the Nazi resistance who must go into hiding when the Gestapo uncovers her cadre. Her life in a remote village is transformative.

The Conversation (USA, 1974)
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Gene Hackman in a totally absorbing performance as Harry Caul, a surveillance expert obsessed by the fear that he might be the target of surveillance. Aside from maintaining a high level of suspense, the film is interesting in its details about surveillance work.

Christ Stopped at Eboli (Italy, 1979)
Directed by Francesco Rosi and based on the novel/memoir by Carlo Levi, who because of his anti-Mussolini activities was exiled to a remote village in a dusty corner of Italy. It turns out that the rustic villagers have much to teach him.

Fanny and Alexander (Sweden, 1982)
Ingmar Bergman’s autobiographical film about his childhood. A different Bergman emerges here, as some light filters into the story.

C. G. Hanzlicek is the author of seven collections of poetry, and has also translated Native American songs, in A Bird's Companion, and poems from the Czech, in Mirroring: Selected Poems of Vladimir Holan, which won the Robert Payne Award from the Columbia University Translation Center in 1985. He recently retired as professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program at California State university, Fresno.


Speechless Spring 2007
Copyright © 2007 Published by
Tebot Bach