Online critics post top 100 directorial debuts of all-time

Wednesday 06 October 2010 00:00

The Online Film Critics Society has voted on a diverse list of the 100 Best First Feature Films of All Time, recognizing the most innovative directors making their mark with the first foray on screen.

The OFCS said in a statement on October 4 that writers have voted on their choices for "the most provocative, innovative and memorable directing debuts" in cinema history.

Here are the top 10, from classics to independent film, running the gamut of genres with reasons provided for the selection:

1. Citizen Kane directed by Orson Welles
"A three-ring circus of cinematic ingenuity, a startlingly entertaining blend of pulp melodrama, historical biography, detective story, political drama, storytelling confabulation, and plain old theatrical flourish." (Sean Axmaker)

2. Eraserhead by David Lynch
"By turns beautiful, annoying, funny, exasperating and repellent, but always bristling with a nervous energy." (Anton Bitel)

3. Night of the Living Dead by George A. Romero
"Simultaneously a sleeper cult hit and a candidate for arthouse is one of the most influential independent films ever made...but first and foremost it is a dark, relentless, and scary piece of cinema." (Nathan Shumate)

4. The Maltese Falcon by John Huston
"Huston's rock-solid classical technique, exact casting, and carefully transcribed screenplay, lay the groundwork for a film that works with the drive and efficiency of a Formula One engine." (Roderick Heath)

5. Breathless by Jean-Luc Godard
"Notable for its visual style; shot on a handheld camera with mostly natural lighting, Godard intended the film to evoke a documentary feel, which broke all established rules of continuity editing that were prevalent at the time." (Kim Voynar)

6. Reservoir Dogs by Quentin Tarantino
"Gritty, engaging, and exhilarating debut film of a 29-year-old self-educated former video store clerk, and the result was a cinematic revolution." (James Kendrick)

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7. The Night of the Hunter by Charles Laughton
"Ostensibly a run-for-your-life thriller, The Night of the Hunter is at its finest in detailing how easy it is for the greatest terrors to slip by under the guise of virtue." (A.J. Hakari)

8. Blood Simple by Joel and Ethan Coen
"A true reassessment of noir, Blood Simple moves beyond the pre-erotic-thriller." (Matthew Sorrento)

9. The 400 Blows by François Truffaut
"Kick-started the Nouvelle Vague movement, this gritty drama and free-form structure is still exhilarating today. This movie has changed the way we look at the world. Just as it changed cinema itself." (Rich Cline)

10. 12 Angry Men by Sidney Lumet
"Intensely, thrilling cinematic, with a dazzling array of shots and visual perspectives that switch around with every bend in the drama, and a legendary collection of the best character actors the '50s." (Tim Brayton)

Full descriptions and the full list:

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