The First Features List

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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therewillbeblus
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Re: The First Features List

#76 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:00 pm

Rayon Vert wrote:
Sun Jun 13, 2021 11:55 am
Marius (Marcel Pagnol 1931)
Didn’t Alexander Korda direct Pagnol’s Marius? I’m pretty sure Pagnol’s first credited director’s job was a few years later

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knives
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Re: The First Features List

#77 Post by knives » Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:04 pm

Yep. His premier, unseen by me, is from 1933.

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Rayon Vert
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Re: The First Features List

#78 Post by Rayon Vert » Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:08 pm

oh yes, sorry about that

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jazzo
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Re: The First Features List

#79 Post by jazzo » Sun Jun 13, 2021 3:44 pm

Other considerations:

Wes Anderson’s BOTTLE ROCKET

Tamara Jenkins’s SLUMS OF BEVERLY HILLS

Barry Levinson’s DINER

Jonathan Glazer’s SEXY BEAST

Macon Blair’s I DO NOT FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE

Peter Bogdanovich’s TARGETS

Ida Lupino’s NOT WANTED

Jack Clayton’s ROOM AT THE TOP

Ron Underwood’s TREMORS

Jane Campion’s 2 FRIENDS

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therewillbeblus
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Re: The First Features List

#80 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Jun 13, 2021 3:49 pm

Targets and Bottle Rocket were mentioned, but Sexy Beast is good insulated fun and Diner is a wonderful composite of the challenges of youthful personas transitioning into adulthood. Definitely a strong list-contender.

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Rayon Vert
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Re: The First Features List

#81 Post by Rayon Vert » Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:14 pm


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bottled spider
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Re: The First Features List

#82 Post by bottled spider » Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:15 pm

Aunt Peg wrote:
Sun Jun 13, 2021 10:18 am
I saw My American Cousin at the 1985 or 1986 Sydney Film Festival. It wasn't scheduled to play but as something else didn't turn up it got screened instead. The audience went ga-ga for it and rightfully so - an utter delight of a film. It was released on video a few months later and was a big renter. One of those many gems that sadly appear lost these days.
Glad to hear this had more than local or national popularity, something I've wondered about that.

Love Serenade (Shirley Barrett). Another successful first feature by a female director who didn't direct much else afterwards. Somewhat to my surprise, the arch conservative Bowman loved it. It's the kind of film that rewards multiple viewing because of the little details one notices in the room furnishings, clothing, or throwaway nuances of performance.

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Pavel
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Re: The First Features List

#83 Post by Pavel » Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:18 pm

I'm using the Wikipedia page about debuts to find films to prioritize, but that's missing some lesser-known films like Dover Kosashvili's Late Marriage, which doesn't stand much of a chance of making my list, but I think it got some votes in the previous 2000s project and is a film most don't think of as a first feature

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Re: The First Features List

#84 Post by Aunt Peg » Mon Jun 14, 2021 1:50 am

That certainly is a comprehensive list, though a couple of omissions like Jack Fisk, Marleen Gorris, Ray Lawrence, etc.

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Ghersh
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Re: The First Features List

#85 Post by Ghersh » Mon Jun 14, 2021 3:28 am

Oh boy, this is an intriguing list project, but I'm afraid I won't be able to contribute, not in the short amount of time.

Just for completion and curiosity: Would Shaun of the Dead count as Edgar Wrights feature debut, since his almost no-budget film which he did at age 20 (Fistful of Fingers) is often ignored anyway? Or do you know no mercy in that regard? :wink:

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MichaelB
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Re: The First Features List

#86 Post by MichaelB » Mon Jun 14, 2021 5:57 am

Ghersh wrote:Just for completion and curiosity: Would Shaun of the Dead count as Edgar Wrights feature debut, since his almost no-budget film which he did at age 20 (Fistful of Fingers) is often ignored anyway? Or do you know no mercy in that regard? :wink:
A Fistful of Fingers got a cinema release upon its original completion (i.e. not retrospectively, to take advantage of Wright’s subsequent fame), and so unquestionably counts as his first feature.

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jazzo
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Re: The First Features List

#87 Post by jazzo » Mon Jun 14, 2021 8:11 am

Speaking of Edgar, his friend and occasional writing partner, Joe Cornish, had a delightful debut with ATTACK THE BLOCK.

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Maltic
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Re: The First Features List

#88 Post by Maltic » Mon Jun 14, 2021 8:59 am

Ghersh wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 3:28 am
Oh boy, this is an intriguing list project, but I'm afraid I won't be able to contribute, not in the short amount of time.


This seems to me an easier project to complete, since there's such a huge field of candidates that I wouldn't feel bad about not having watched/rewatched enough films before submitting a list.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: The First Features List

#89 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Jun 14, 2021 11:01 am

Yeah, I already have a list of 50 perfect debuts without watching anything new. Cutting it down to 25 with revisits will be my priority in addition to filling in those early-year gaps for directors I haven't bothered with yet.

There are going to be some situations where I may just need to cancel a few out due to feeling iffy on the 'first' for a director. For example, Being John Malkovich is a terrific debut, all the more admirable for its clever direction of difficult-to-adapt material. However, Charlie Kaufman seems to share auteur status- and conversely, his own debut, Synecdoche, New York, while clearly darker and more esoteric compared to his prior writer-only works, doesn't feel like as much as of a "first feature" qualifier after his brand of eccentricity had been out in the stratosphere for nearly a decade already. This will all of course come down to personal preference, but as swo said earlier, there are going to be some interesting subjective considerations for how a director's work stands out for inclusion/de-prioritization.

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knives
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Re: The First Features List

#90 Post by knives » Mon Jun 14, 2021 11:06 am

Yeah, that’s part of why I’m making a funky self restriction I’m not following to heavily of voting for films I have seen at least a few films of.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: The First Features List

#91 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Jun 14, 2021 11:43 am

On the other hand, there are some debuts that are such strong one-offs that it feels criminal to discount on the basis of wondering if the talent would persist. Night of the Hunter is the obvious example, but One-Eyed Jacks is in some ways even more impressive to me, and of course while we'll have to wait and see if Fennell remains consistent, Promising Young Woman is such a bold, complex, and tonally-risky film that it's everything one can ask from a first feature and will place highly for me, perhaps even over films I like more that are 'safer' firsts.

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knives
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Re: The First Features List

#92 Post by knives » Mon Jun 14, 2021 2:03 pm

One of those is part of my not following my rules at all.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: The First Features List

#93 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Jun 14, 2021 4:02 pm

So given domino's flexible adjustment to the rules, is anybody planning to vote for or consider The Mother and the Whore as Eustache's first feature, as well as Extraordinary Stories for Llinas? Obviously I don't want to throw away votes on a project already challenging to narrow down, but these two are pretty obviously "first features" to me and I'm curious if others feel similarly

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swo17
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Re: The First Features List

#94 Post by swo17 » Mon Jun 14, 2021 4:20 pm

I wouldn't have room for those, but I certainly will for Medvedkin's Happiness and Pee-wee's Big Adventure!

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Pavel
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Re: The First Features List

#95 Post by Pavel » Mon Jun 14, 2021 5:12 pm

This was asked before but never answered definitively, so let me ask again: is Michael Mann's Thief eligible?

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swo17
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Re: The First Features List

#96 Post by swo17 » Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:02 pm

The new rules allow for more leniency with regard to film duration but don't say anything about TV movies. To recap: Jericho Mile is a 97-minute film made for U.S. TV but distributed theatrically outside the U.S. At least some of those theatrical screenings happened before Thief received a release. Personally, I would say the fact that it's 97 minutes matters more than it being made for TV, but I suppose it would be helpful to have a ruling on whether TV movies count

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therewillbeblus
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Re: The First Features List

#97 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Jun 14, 2021 11:19 pm

In case anyone was thinking of checking it out, I recently watched Robert Altman's debut, The Delinquents, and it's terrible. A social problem pic whereby the 'wrong crowd' our lead hangs out with really is as terrible as everyone says as they devolve into sociopathy just in time for a clearcut diagnostic finish. At least it's not as bad as the TV movie he made shortly after, Nightmare in Chicago, but we're really scraping the bottom of the barrel here.

For fans of cringe comedy, this year's Shiva Baby is a quiet masterpiece that proves itself to be one of the best in the genre, made by a director who knows her milieu and situational dynamics inside and out. The film walks a fine line between social horror and the comedy born from that familiar overstimulation of exhausting Murphy's Law theatrics triggering our self-consciousness. Emma Seligman's movie makes Larry David look like Barny. Highly recommended.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: The First Features List

#98 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:07 pm

Here's my narrowed-down list of 50 for anyone who wants to use as a viewing guide:
SpoilerShow
The 7th Victim
10 Cloverfield Lane
Adieu Philippine
Alice (‘88)
The Baxter
The Blackcoat’s Daughter
Blood Simple
Bone
Boy Meets Girl
Breathless
Brick
Brigitte et Brigitte
Buffalo ‘66
The Color of Fear
Ce soir ou jamais
Ceremony
The Color Wheel
Diner
Dutchman
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Extraordinary Stories
Fucking Amal
Funny Ha Ha
Gone Baby Gone
Good News
Hot Rod
It’s Such a Beautiful Day
Junebug
Little Murders
Me and You and Everyone We Know
Metropolitan
Michael Clayton
The Mother and the Whore
Night of the Hunter
On the Town
One-Eyed Jacks
Paris Belongs to Us
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure
Pretty Poison
Promising Young Woman
Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical
Repo Man
The Room
The Sandlot
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Shotgun Stories
Thoroughbreds
The Virgin Suicides
Wet Hot American Summer
You Can Count on Me
A few more spotlights:

The Color of Fear: The best documentary/focus group about racial dynamics I've ever seen. After countless Dynamics of Racism classes through undergrad and grad school, this was the film to sober me to the layered acceptance, not-knowing curious approach, and gentle (yet urgent) introspective responsibility-processing that's necessary to engage in any meaningful dialogue on the subject, via authentically acknowledging and then minimizing defense mechanisms through said recognition without an asterisk. Victor Lee Lewis is a powerhouse advocate, and everyone should friend him on social media.

Hod Rod: This is pretty much the opposite kind of movie, a silly dumb comedy that's actually incredibly intelligent in its construction of surreal humor. The edits going into some jokes are profoundly layered in the establishment of what makes them funny (my favorite being the jump-cut to McBride's hand-slapping 'talent' that literally has no discernible elision to explain its impressiveness in our conceivable reality), right from the freeze-framed 'stunt' the title-card is imposed on. Also the plot is deliciously absurd, and if you've seen Le schpountz, it's uncanny how many specific narrative beats and character dynamics overlap between films! I'm convinced Pagnol's movie's first half was the blueprint for this underappreciated comic masterpiece.

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Never Cursed
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Re: The First Features List

#99 Post by Never Cursed » Sun Jun 20, 2021 11:55 pm

A quick question for those who have seen it: which is the correct runtime/language for Microcosmos (which I believe is eligible for this list), 80 minutes/75 minutes and English/French?

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therewillbeblus
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Re: The First Features List

#100 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Jun 20, 2021 11:59 pm

75 min French

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