I’ve been reading César Vidal’s El Camino Hacia la Cultura, which might translate roughly as "The Path Toward Culture." Imagine a Spanish Harold Bloom, yet trying to be more representative than idiosyncratic in his canonical picks. Overall his choices are what you would expect, albeit with a strong emphasis on modernism and in fiction he stresses the Continental novel of ideas. The very useful poetry list is full of Spaniards. Here is his list of the best movies (worldwide) since the 1990s:
Jacob’s Ladder (TC: I love this movie), Dances with Wolves, Dreams (Kurosawa), JFK, Glengarry Glen Ross, Malcolm X, Groundhog Day, Schindler’s List, Forrest Gump (ugh), The Shawshank Redemption, Braveheart, Fargo, The English Patient, Titanic, The Apostle, Saving Private Ryan, Matrix, Magnolia, The Sixth Sense, Nueva Reinas, El hijo de la novia, Gladiator, Return of the King, De-Lovely, Apocalypto (TC: !…another winner).
The absence of traditional indie cinema and most European cinema is striking. Sadly Asian movies are missing altogether, except for Kurosawa. Overall I am struck by a) the gutsiness of this list, and b) the author doesn’t seem to see it as gutsy at all.