The DC cup rounds have very few choices at a particular stage of the competition. Lets assume there is A vs B. Lets assume I am in no mood to watch that kind of film and I have very little time to change my mood, watch them and vote for them in that round. I think that is more discouraging than a freely floating poll of this kind that had a huge variety of films to watch. Also, we had much more participation in this poll throughout compared to DC. That itself proves that this exercise was much more encouraging. Also, beyond a certain point I think everyone realised that we are going to end up with an esoteric group of films at the top (not necessarily the top 20 of all time) so there was no ill feeling towards any films as long as it wasn’t canon. Anyway, a top 20 is highly subjective anyway so it really didnt matter what 20 films we had eventually.
First, I think any director who would cringe at a game devoted to getting a lot of people to watch and discuss their films because it brings the unclean element of gamesmanship into the mix needs to lighten up.
There are films I watched in the DC and enjoyed that I wouldn’t have watched for a game like this. For instance, I probably wouldn’t have watched God’s Country upon reading that it’s a documentary about life in a rural bible belt community.
In this game, I made some discoveries, but they were mostly the films that I was already sort of aware of, that I was already thinking of seeing. I didn’t watch anything that based on the three second description of it I wouldn’t think I’d like.
Another reason why I think that polls are very good to discover films is Kuxa Kanema’s Africa Project. I had seen just one African film before the start of the poll and ended up watching 15-20 films by the end. It was a great discovery propelled by the fact that kuxa had put a lot of films on his blog for others to watch. Maybe the DC should make a blog with links to the films to be shown in the competition. That would make it much more convenient than having to pm the mod every time I want to watch something.
I joined mubi to expand my film palate. I thank you all for your enthusiasm, humor, committment to seeing this list to the end, and overall strangeness. It motivates me to check out new stuff which is fun and rewarding more often than not.
W2—Right on! Welcome. That’s the exact reason I came here a couple of years ago.
Rohit—That’s exactly what we did, but only a few people could have access to the blog because some asshole was trying to undo the whole thing by going onto other sites and claiming that Mubi was promoting copyright infringement.
It motivates me to check out new stuff which is fun and rewarding more often than not. – I fully agree.
This game led me to Sherlock Jr. (fantastic), Heartbeat Detector (discovery for me), Insiang (never would have watched), Wagon Master (masterpiece), and I have started Berlin Alexanderplatz (which I always intended to see, and now I’m motivated).
Why should I be disappointed when I really liked the film? Because I saw a whole lot of people singling it out as one of the greatest films of all time.
That’s a good point. I prefer to go into films with no expectations – a blank slate. That isn’t to say that I can’t enjoy a movie that is beloved, wins awards, is recommended to me, or is a critical darling. But it’s just my preferred method of ingesting art – judging the art on the art itself, unfiltered, and without the attached harassment of “this film is better than this film”. I’m sure I’ll see a lot of these films on the list someday; though my hope is that when I do, I will have forgotten the circumstances that surrounded this game.
Thanks for the hard work. I had lots of fun.
For a while I thought Machaty’s Erotikon might have a chance because nobody voted against it. Finally the negative votes came and my dream vanished.
The DC cup rounds have very few choices at a particular stage of the competition. Lets assume there is A vs B. Lets assume I am in no mood to watch that kind of film and I have very little time to change my mood, watch them and vote for them in that round. I think that is more discouraging than a freely floating poll of this kind that had a huge variety of films to watch.
This is also a good point. I don’t know why all of a sudden this game has been compared to the DC since their objectives seem quite different. My understanding of the DC is to get people to see a wide variety of films and uses a competitive model to entice this. Polaris’ game is merely a survey, a poll, of any given user’s favorite films. I know a lot of people wanted to change the game to be more like the DC but this is simply listmaking that we are doing. Do lists get people to watch movies more than in depth discussion? Well, maybe so. As Rohit points out, by it’s mere simplicity, this game could get more people to watch movies they haven’t seen since they’re not limited to watching films that they may not be in the mood to watch. But I guess it just depends on the person and what they want to get out of these exercises.
I think this is a bit self serving. Filmmakers wouldn’t cringe at people watching their films. Filmmakers might cringe at using films in a competitive manner. The idea of art as a competition is a sickening disgrace to some artists. A lot of filmmakers hate awards, critics polls, and ceremonies. The only reason they do it is because of the enticement that winning an award might get more people to see their film. But that doesn’t mean they don’t cringe at the process (and of course some still don’t do it and don’t even care if it means less people will see their work).
Machaty’s Erotikon did extremely well to get as far as it did. I raised my eyebrows over it, when Ectase is much better known. I have at least added the former to the Europe: A Canon list due to its success here
Personally, I’m suspicious of artists who only want you to appreciate their work on their own terms and get up in arms about the purity of other peoples’ approaches to it.
To elaborate, I look at it this way.
Suppose you buy a present for a two year old child. You worked really hard on finding the present and think it’s a great present. The child opens it, and starts playing with the wrapping paper.
You don’t get mad and yell at the child that he’s playing with the gift wrong, you sit back and let him have fun.
ha! Well that’s an interesting analogy.
I don’t disagree with you that once the work is out there, the consumer can do what they like with it. And I understand that people consume art for different reasons. And that’s fine. For me, I’m just not interested in using art as a means of competition. It’s funny, I was just watching a roundtable discussion that the Hollywood Reporter did (I’ll paste the link below in case anyone is interested in watching it) with a bunch of directors and Steve McQueen said one of the reasons he left NYU Film School was because of the competitive aspects of the program.
For me, it’s an odd thing pitting one film against another. It seems a bit antagonistic; to use odd analogies, it’s like using a baseball bat to beat the shit out of your kid instead of using it to play baseball. Now of course we all do this to a certain extent – we make lists, we rank films, we award favorites. I’m certainly guilty of this. But my feeling is that making a list of your favorite films is a bit more passive than pitting two against each other and forcing people to choose one. The expression of ideas from an artist and my interpretation of that expression is what makes cinema such a personal thing to me. That’s what I’m most interested in, the relationship of the work to myself and the connection to the filmmaker, not “gimme that, it’s mine, I can do what I want with it, screw you, go away, you suck.” lol
Hollywood Reporter Roundtable Discussion The Directors
thanks a lot to DiB for all the work in this, it was certainly intriguing.
one thing that confused me a lot was zulawski’s third part of the night. do many people really think that’s better than possession, or even some of his other films? it seems more like possession attracted a bunch of devoted downvoters, whereas third part of the night sort of crept through. then again, a lot of this list did boil down to obscurer-than-thou self-aware academic posturing, so i wouldn’t be surprised if it was being voted in by people who didn’t see it, solely because it’s less popular.
I don’t rank anything, unless I’m pressured into doing so and then I take it as a joke, and I only have one list. And that’s just to bring exposure to people who aren’t well known and whose work I like, and to remember them for myself in some organized fashion.
So there. I’m the ultimate non-competitive type. :D
That’s not to say that there are films I don’t like, or feel “meh” about, but I never really put them in perspective with films I do like. It’s not an exciting thing for me to do. But I do appreciate the interesting lists people put together around here if only because it’s like looking into a library they just created and it’s interesting to see how they put one thing next to another and make associations. That sort of thing is endless and different for everyone. It’s a personal thing, and in that it’s interesting, and can lead to great discoveries and a dialogue with someone you don’t know well, and thus get to know and like through a shared enjoyment of something.
That’s about the extent of these kinds of things for me.
^yes. I would agree with Odi.
On a side note regarding ranking, this year has been particularly difficult for me to pick one film as my favorite. There are literally five or six films that I could easily rank as number one.
“it seems more like possession attracted a bunch of devoted downvoters,”
That’s what it came down to, I think. If those who felt Zulawski deserved a spot in the final 20 wanted to make that happen, they had to switch to a film of his that would draw less fire. Personally my vote for his no. 1 film has always been this “mind-melting” apocalypse of a movie.
Having said that, I was very satisfied to see him make it to the end. And the thread exposed me to many great movies that I would’ve probably missed out on otherwise… so, as so many others have said, kudos to Dib…
I still marvel at the system Polarisdib used to create this game (and not just because I’m math-challenged), but far more impressive is the heavy lifting Polaris so patiently (and politely) did throughout.
Mark saw Wagonmaster on account of this process, he says. Good for you Mark.
I wonder how many other folks taking part watched classic American pictures they had not otherwise seen.
I ask because there seemed to exist all along a desire that American directors not make the list, as well as a celebration here, I think, that only two made the final 20.
It’s true that this list does not resemble the many others that have been compiled by whatever process,
but that may be because so many of those previous lists, both at Mubi and elswhere, can boast some level of authenticity, at least in terms of representing the body of cinema enthusiasts involved in making them.
I ask because there seemed to exist all along a desire that American directors not make the list, as well as a celebration here, I think, that only two made the final 20.
Only two? What? So how many American films should be in a list of 20? A country whose population doesn’t account for 5% of the world’s population has two films in the top 20. How many should have made the list, Lemonglow? Is there something in the water in the US that makes people grow up to be more artistic filmmakers?
There is little to no inherent bias at MUBI against directors who happen to be American. If somehow someone decides that they won’t like a film because it happens to be American, I feel for them. I honestly can’t even think of such a person at this site. Not anyone who contributes to the forums anyhow. However, there is justifiable and vociferous objection against the opinions of people like you who confuse the mere commercial proliferation and global availability of American cinema with some kind of inherent artistic excellence. You’ve already shown your “American exceptionalism” bias by declaring that two American films making a list of 20 somehow constitutes bias. It’s poor logic that comes from a biased mind.
Nathan M…said:RUS’ list was a simple tally the top 20s, and it’s actually not terribly different from the initial top 20 that came out of this game. The voting changed everything. The list we have now is fascinating because it represents the political dynamics at play here on Mubi. It really has nothing to do with cinema.
Santino said:Yes, it’s always politics. Things that “win”, whether it’s political candidates, Oscar winners, or critics polls rarely have anything to do with “quality”. Unless of course people actually believe Dubya was the best person to be president or The King’s Speech was the best film from last year.
These are valid observations to a point. Of course, political dynamics play a role in what kind of films are acclaimed. This is exactly why the usual lists of CANONICAL films need to be questioned. Because whatever the political dynamics of MUBI might be, it’s the geopolitical dynamics since the advent of cinema that we should be concerned with because they have had a disproportionately large role in determining what films not only get seen but which are determined to be good and by whom.
Of course, something like this poll is small (relatively speaking, that is, and I say it with no disrespect to DiB who put in an amazing amount of time and effort and should have a song written about him) but it is a step in the right direction. Because whatever the politics of this site may be, every member of this site had the equal opportunity to participate in the poll. On the other hand, I think it’d be utterly absurd to say that a similar kind of equality was at play when the cinematic canons were established.
It’s incredibly ironic how some people point out the political dynamics at MUBI—which pale in comparison to the grossly unbalanced global political dynamics—and so eagerly and completely poo poo the results of a poll in which every member of the forum had a chance to participate.
Come on guys. It was a good run. But now… it’s over.
A step in the right direction? The cinematic canons were established by committed individuals who put talent, time, and effort into writing high-quality criticism. This Mubi poll was perfectly designed to let anybody promote a film with the least amount of effort possible. It was fun, and it introduced great films to a lot of people, but it was no different from a Family Feud gameshow.
Ok… maybe it’s not over…
It was fun, and it introduced great films to a lot of people, but it was no different from a Family Feud gameshow.
So Jerry, it was fun and it introduced great films to a lot of people… but it wasn’t a step in the right direction?
And I’m talking about the political dynamics mentioned by Nathan M. and Santino. You seriously cannot discount the political dynamics that were at play when canons were established, can you? How many people outside of the Eastern Bloc had seen Paradjanov’s Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors before the fall of USSR? Now the same type of committed individuals from around the world who put talent, time, and effort into writing high-quality criticism praise that film in the same manner that the critics of yesteryear did when they helped establish the canons.
I know that you and I both love Lisandro Alonso. But was there a chance in hell that in 1950, an Argentinian filmmaker making the type of films he does would’ve gotten any kind of significant critical recognition outside of Argentina? That’s what i’m talking about.
Only two? What? So how many American films should be in a list of 20? A country whose population doesn’t account for 5% of the world’s population has two films in the top 20. How many should have made the list, Lemonglow?
The reason the USA (and throw in Europe, Japan, South Korea, etc) make up so little of the world’s population is because these countries have empowered their women with birth control measures. Now if you want to argue that India deserves a proportional stance at the cinematic table based on the fact that they condemn their women (thanks, Mother Theresa) to 8.5 children, then say so.
Come on, Jerry. This isn’t a debate about the birth rates of different countries. Let’s not even obfuscate the issue at hand. I’m questioning Lemonglow’s logical fallacy that somehow the US-based films should by some inherent right occupy more than two spots on any top 20 list of films.
That the presence of only two American films in any list of top 20 films of all time should result in cries of an anti-American bias is itself the biased thinking.
It was great, but you can’t place it in opposition to the canon. They’re two different things.
I know that you and I both love Lisandro Alonso. But was there a chance in hell that in 1950, an Argentinian filmmaker making the type of films he does would’ve gotten any kind of significant critical recognition outside of Argentina?
So which one of us is going to write properly about Alonso? Because the critical establishment has failed so far. I can do the work, but I’m not smart enough.