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Ronald Bergan (1937–2020)

Autor(a) de 501 Must-See Movies

31+ Works 1,280 Membros 10 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

Ronald Bergan, film historian, critic, and lecturer, is a regular contributor to the Guardian. The author of numerous film biographies, including Jean Renoir, Sergei Eisenstem, and Katharine Hepburn, all published by Arcade, he held the chair in film at Florida International University in Miami and mostrar mais lectured at the Sorbonne, the British Institute in Paris, and the University of Lille. He now lives in Prague, where he teaches at the famed FAMU film school. mostrar menos

Obras de Ronald Bergan

501 Must-See Movies (2004) — Contribuinte — 481 cópias, 7 resenhas
Film (2006) 124 cópias
The Film Book (2011) 104 cópias
The Coen Brothers (2000) 65 cópias, 1 resenha
The United Artists Story (1986) 55 cópias
Sergei Eisenstein: A Life in Conflict (1997) 49 cópias, 1 resenha
Glamorous Musicals (1984) 31 cópias

Associated Works


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
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South Africa (birth)
film scholar



Solid compilation of movies to see with only a few clunkers in the bunch--some of the more contemporary choices are a bit strained (Young Guns is not a classic western). But on the whole, well chosen and a nice intro for film novices and even for more flick savvy folks like myself there were a few surprises--films that I may have been only vaguely aware of are now on my watch for list (Dead of Night, The Iron Horse, Run of the Arrow). Broken in film genre's (Western, Romance, Sci-Fi, Mystery/Thriller), each film is given a tight synopsis with credits and academy award nominations and wins. Nice to have laying around for the occasional dip or dive into.… (mais)
KurtWombat | outras 6 resenhas | Sep 15, 2019 |
There might be about 20 films I disagree should be here, and perhaps 35 I'd add. And, of course, there's one or two new films every year I'd add to the mix. However, all-in-all, this book would make an excellent guide to anyone wishing to build their own film collection. And, yes, I do own the lion's share of these.
bfgar | outras 6 resenhas | Apr 17, 2014 |
I'm a fan of the Coen Brothers' films. Ever since I saw "Barton Fink" twenty+ years ago (how time flies!). "Fargo" was fantastic, and "The Big Lebowski" is, perhaps slightly inappropriately, a firm family favourite. There are of course many other great ones too. Their canon is one of the most significant of contemporary filmmakers. So, even though this book - published in 2000 - only really covers the first half of their careers, when I saw it on a bargain shelf for £1 a while back, I couldn't resist picking it up.

Ronald Bergan does a solid job here of reviewing their varied filmography, and objectively conveys the process of the brothers' art in the making. He covers the films one by one, more or less chronologically, and with each spends some time exploring the influences and inspirations for the making of each, the writing, the casting process, and the production; as well as the crucially important music scores, the overall design and 'feel' of the film, the publicity campaigns, and coverage of the critical and commercial receptions. There is enough about their private lives to be of interest - as far as it relates to their film making, though it stops short of prying and doesn't descend into gossip as some other books on Hollywood players can do.

Reading through their impressive roster of work: "Blood Simple", "Raising Arizona", "Miller's Crossing", "Barton Fink", "The Hudsucker Proxy", "Fargo", "The Big Lebowski", and "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (the book finishes in 2000 as this last film is all but ready for general release) is an enjoyable process. One becomes increasingly aware of the Coen's subconscious (or sometimes perfectly conscious) desire to take an idea - typically inspired by a previous Hollywood representation - and re-mould it in their own inimitable and slightly off-beat comedic way. A good example of this is Preston Sturges' 1941 Hollywood Satire "Sullivan's Travels" - one of their favourite films - of which significant motifs or key scenes are recreated in their 2000 film "based upon the Odyssey" "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

It was also fascinating getting the lowdown on which authors and books, as well as the film makers, were the big influences on the brothers, though they probably won't come as too much of a surprise to any reasonably well-read fan of their work: James M Cain, Dashiell Hammet, Raymond Chandler, William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Clifford Odets, F.Scott Fitzgerald, etc.

Then again, on occasion the literary inspiration has been overstated in parts of the media:

{Joel Coen on "Barton Fink" :- }

'It surprises me that some critics have mentioned Kafka, because I haven't read him since I was at university where I devoured works like "Metamorphosis". Some people have evoked "The Castle" and "The Penal Colony" which I've never read.' Ethan concurred. 'As some journalists have suggested that we were influenced by "The Castle", I'm keen to read it.'

As a fan of 'The Dude', it was particularly fun to read Jeff Bridges' explanation of just why he has such a weird smile on his face, as he glides upside down through the dancing girls' legs in the Busby Berkeley styled bowling alley dream sequence...

I'd love it if there is a new edition of this book at some point, to include some of the excellent films they have made in the years since 2000: "The Man Who Wasn't There", "No Country For Old Men", "Burn After Reading", and "A Serious Man" among them.

As the old cowboy fella at the end of "The Big Lebowski" put it:

'Whelp, that about does her, wraps her all up... I guess that's the way the whole durned human comedy keeps perpetuatin' itself, down through the generations, westward the wagons, across the sands a time - aw, look at me, I'm ramblin' again. Wal, uh hope you folks enjoyed yourselves... Catch you further on down the trail...'
… (mais)
2 vote
Polaris- | Jan 18, 2014 |
Some of the recommended movies I would much rather I not waste my time on, but in the context of popular culture (movies that get referenced in pop culture, that is), these were some of the best.
benuathanasia | outras 6 resenhas | Sep 8, 2012 |

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