- Seven Beauties
- Dog Day Afternoon
- Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
- Barry Lyndon
- Picnic At Hanging Rock
- Grey Gardens
- The Lost Honor Of Katharina Blum
Once again fascinating audiences with his strange combination of ugly menace and smooth charm, Giancarlo Giannini rules over Lina Wertmuller’s most popular film Seven Beauties without breaking a bead of sweat. Where his Love & Anarchy role called for him to be nervous and strange, Pasqualino Settebellezze is a smooth operator who thinks himself above all trouble until his cowardice in the army gets him thrown into a Nazi concentration camp. This is back when crowds could handle badass, dirty Holocaust films (see The Night Porter for something similar) that modern-day audiences of Life Is Beautiful would probably find unappealing, and Wertmuller’s fascinating camera work and hard-edged storytelling deservedly made her the first (and for almost twenty years, the only) woman nominated for a Best Director Oscar.
Glenda Jackson is another actress who won Oscars for roles that weren’t nearly as interesting as others she played. She’s lovely in Women In Love and does comedy well in A Touch Of Class (which has aged very, VERY badly), but they don’t compare to her cool intelligence in Sunday, Bloody Sunday, or the passionate resolve she brings to Joseph Losey’s highly enjoyable melodrama The Romantic Englishwoman. Jackson never lets the film’s narrative tension waver for a second throughout the film, and it is thanks to her incredible class that the film seems so much more interesting than it actually is. Her performance in Hedda brings a theatrical classic to life and much of its stagebound energy is explosively enjoyable thanks to her work.
Dog Day Afternoon is one of Sidney Lumet’s best films and features one of the most exciting performances ever given by Al Pacino. In fact, every performance in the film is a gem, with Charles Durning, Penelope Allen and John Cazale (even a small bit by Carol Kane) holding their own so very well. The jewel among them is Chris Sarandon as Pacino’s wife, the man for whom the lead character is robbing a bank in the first place, to pay for his sex-change operation. It’s a part that could easily be a gimmick, particularly in the 70s when gay men were most often depicted as cross-dressing pedophiles, but Sarandon brings a lot of style and passion to the role.
BIL’S BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
She barely has three scenes in the whole film, so why is Lily Tomlin so memorable and effective in Nashville? In a grand epic panorama of American music, chock full of charming characters and memorable performances, Tomlin’s grave, intensely erotic connection with Keith Carradine somehow manages to stand out from the rest and is the most impressive and intelligent performance of her career.
Lina Wertmuller, Seven Beauties