After reading Spike Lee's list of "essential films" I couldn't help by smile sardonically. Finally, I thought that I should comment on it. Reason being, I think there are essential films missing in this "essential list"; Films that are "indispensable" for any begging filmmaker. Spike Lee included some amazing films, but about 50% of them are uninteresting in any shape or form, and are purely inferior to the silent films.
Mister Lee seems to lack understanding of the art of European and Japanese filmmaking. Because some of the most fascinating films ever made are missing. With the exception of Kurosawa who is the most westernized Japanese filmmaker, It is preposterous that he doesn't include any films by Kenji Mizoguchi. I admit Mizoguchi is very "Japanese" in his treatment of theme and issues. But he is on par with Kurosawa if not better than Kurosawa. "Sansho Dayu" is a superior film to "Yojimbo" in many aspects.
Master European filmmakers, who inspired and influenced many of the contemporary directors (and not so contemporary filmmakers) are absent as well. Ingmar Bergman is missing altogether as well as Michelangelo Antonioni. Master filmmakers like Fritz Lang, and poets like Jean Cocteau, are nowhere to be found. The films of the above mentioned filmmakers might not be as well known as "Lust for Life" or "Mad Max" but these absent filmmakers have made films so superior to the two mentioned movies that I'm not going to "dirty" the titles of the films by mentioning them here.
I fully support the inclusion of female filmmakers, but where are Margarethe Von Trotta, Barbara Kopple and, of course, Leni Riefenstahl. Instead I see "The Hurt Locker," movie which is menial to "Triumph of the will."
Last but not least is his omission of "Citizen Kane."
I mean, really?
I think the desire to be different and the eagerness to provoke should not blind us or stand in the way of paying respect to the film (and the filmmaker) that opened the doors to modern filmmaking, and moreover showed us the way to contemporary celluloid art.