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Vanity-based industry that it is, it’s hardly surprising that Hollywood should deem itself an endlessly fascinating subject for its own movies. Even from relatively early days, filmmakers have found great satisfaction, perhaps even release, in either documenting or representing the creative, financial and personal trials of their profession on screen – anticipating a movie-mad audience keen to know what goes on behind the camera, in the service of entertainment.
It’s a subject that has made for a number of landmark films both about Hollywood and other hubs of filmmaking, ranging from “Singin’ in the Rain” to “Adaptation” to Truffaut’s “Day for Night.” Clearly, it’s not an area of interest that appears to be dwindling, given its presence in a number of current high-profile releases. “Hugo” and “My Week With Marilyn” are over-the-shoulder valentines to auteur innovation and white-hot star power, respectively; meanwhile, major Oscar hopeful “The Artist,” yesterday named the year’s best film by the New York Film Critics Circle, celebrates an entire medium previously laid to rest.
The timing, then, could hardly be more ideal for a list gathering the best films about the film industry. Less easy was deciding on just 10 titles to fill it. It’s a generously stuffed subgenre, and as I whittled down my shortlist, I was surprised at what I forced myself to leave out – including some obvious canon classics that I’m sure some of you will kvetch about. As always, omission isn’t necessarily dismissal.
So, apologies, “The Player.” Pardon me, “Le Mépris.” I’ll make it up to you, “The Day of the Locust.” I still like you. I feel less guilty about there being no biopics at all in the list, though “Ed Wood” was a notable contender. (Meanwhile, I ruled out “The Purple Rose of Cairo” only because it’s more about spectatorship than filmmaking.) I could only go with the 10 films that most insistently nagged in my head when this theme came up – many of them obvious, some a little less so.
Against competition this fierce, could one of the new batch even hope to crack the list? See if it did in our new gallery, and please do share your thoughts and personal favorites in the comments section below.
For more views on movies, awards season and other pursuits, follow @GuyLodge on Twitter.
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