Battleship Potemkin

Battleship Potemkin

Directed by Sergei Eisenstein

1925

Battleship Potemkin is a silent Soviet propaganda film. Many silent films, some propaganda films, and most films that are important in the history of movies are entertaining; Battleship Potemkin is not. The only reasons to watch Battleship Potemkin are its historical importance and its technical achievements.

Would not see.

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The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Directed by Robert Weine

1920

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a German Expressionist silent horror film about a nefarious hypnotist and a somnambulist under his control. The film’s visual design is striking even almost a hundred years later, though the painted canvas scenery is often far better than what’s happening in front of it. The story, by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer, is simple but incisive — or would be — if it weren’t almost completely ruined by a terrible ending not of Janowitz and Mayer’s writing.

Would see.

Nosferatu

Nosferatu

Directed by F. W. Murnau

1922

Nosferatu is a silent German expressionist film and an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s 1897 Gothic horror novel, Dracula. The film takes some unsatisfying detours, but Max Schreck portrays the vampire Count Orlak with quiet menace, and the movie is worth watching for more than its significance in the history of film.

Would see.

 

The Red Turtle

The Red Turtle

Directed by Michaël Dudok de Wit

2016

The Red Turtle is an animated fantasy film. The film uses a blend of hand-drawn and computer animation and has no dialogue. The visuals are stunningly lavish, and the story is an enigmatic fairytale. The film, though, somehow, always appears on the verge of achieving something more than it does.

Would see.

City Lights

City Lights

Direct by Charlie Chaplin

1931

City Lights, which bills itself as “A Comedy Romance in Pantomime” in its opening credits, is Chaplin’s second to last silent film. Expertly choreographed, incredibly funny, sharp, incisive, and surprisingly delicate at times, City Lights easily transcends the usual limitations of the genre.

Would see.