-Is Lynch a better director than Bunuel?
-Is The Searchers really the best Western or the best film by John Ford?
It would certainly be, but for the racist aspects. (quite a big drawback to a majestic film)
-Is Godard the greatest director ever?
No, not by a long chalk. Mizoguchi is.
-Is Tarkovsky the second best director?
Quite possibly, along with Renoir
-Is Journey to Italy Rossellini’s best film?
-Is Rio Bravo the best Hawks’ film?
No, can’t stand it. That would be The Big Sleep.
-Is Nashville Altman’s best film?
Not even close. The Long Goodbye is the best Altman.
-Is Close Up the best Iranian film ever?
Thanks, Kenji, but is that the Clarke or Van Sant ELEPHANT? Morton’s list is about what I would expect given her acting style and the films she’s chosen to be in, except for L’Atalante, Tokyo Story, and Vampyr, which are pleasant surprises.
Mubiuser, I know what you mean. I have 5 absolute favorites, and then about 20-30 others at about the same level after that.
Is Lynch a better director than Bunuel? – Yes
Is The Searchers really the best Western or the best film by John Ford. – Yes, but The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is close.
Is Godard the greatest director ever? He has four films on the list. – Far from it
Is Tarkovsky the second best director? – Also far from it
Is Journey to Italy Rossellini’s best film? – haven’t seen it yet
Is Rio Bravo the best Hawks’ film? – Yes
Is Nashville Altman’s best film? – BY FAR!!!! (and really the only reason I’m taking this poll.)
Is Touki Bouki the best film from Africa? – haven’t seen it yet
Is Close Up the best Iranian film ever? – haven’t seen it yet, but it will have a hell of a job outdoing A Separation
No. David Lynch is an incredible director and Muholland Drive deserves all the praise it gets (I have no problem with it being included in the top 50), but I don’t believe there are ten better filmmakers than Bunuel. While it’s a travesty that one of his films isn’t in the top 50, i understand why. There just isn’t that one film from him that everyone points to as his “defining film,” in the way Welles has Citizen Kane or Renoir has Rules of the Game. If you ask ten cinephiles what their favorite Bunuel film is, don’t be surprised you’ll get ten different answers. Personally I’d go with That Obscure Object of Desire.
Orson Welles is my pick, but sadly most of his films aren’t even on the radar with most critics. It’s disappointing not to see films like The Trial, The Magnificent Ambersons, F for Fake, and Chimes of Midnight not even be mentioned on the individual top tens. But back to Godard, he’d tied for second place with Kenji Mizoguchi.
Personally he wouldn’t make my top ten, but easily top twenty.
Probably. I’ve never really like most of his films outside Nashville.
I guess for most critics and filmmakers, Iranian cinema didn’t exist before Kiarostami. It’s a real shame that masterpieces like Forough Farrokhzad’s The House is Black, Ebrahim Golestan’s Brick and Mirror, and Sohrab Shahid Saless’s Still Life aren’t as popular.
also other thoughts that popped into my head when reading this list:
- How did Metropolis got more votes than M?!
- Ozu has two films in the top 15, and the first Mizoguchi is at 50?!
- I guess liking Kurosawa and Bergman isn’t hip anymore? It just seems strange seeing Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai outside the top ten. Personally I’ll take that film over The Searchers any day (though it looks like I’m in the minority). Also Bergman only having one film seems strange too. I would have at least thought The Seventh Seal would have made it to.
- Also it’s really nice to see challenging and experimental films (Tarr’s Satantango, Godard’s Historie(s) du Cinema, Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, and Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera) gather as many votes as they did. Maybe one day some of the great experimental masterpieces from America (Frampton’s Nostalgia, Smith’s Flaming Creatures, Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon, Lawder’s Corridor, Warhol’s Outer and Inner Space, Brkhage’s I…Dreaming, Peter Hutton’s At Sea, Bill Morrison’s Decasia or Mekas’s As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty) will join them.
Last time there were 3 Mizo films in the top 60, now 2. Story of the Late Chrysanthemums was top Mizo last time, the main faller, though formally very interesting. I expected Ozu and Bresson to surge. That’s the way taste has clearly been moving. Mizoguchi’s style may be too theatrical, but that’s deliberate, with his love of theatre. He often played with the 2 art forms. Many people like restraint and calm, subdued acting, that stands out v Hollywood excess. Maybe the modern world has little time for a classical humanist like Satyajit Ray :( :( :(. At least his films went down well in mubi cups..
But what bugs me is the pointless polling of so many Anglophone directors who are so narrow, probably ignorant of and not interested in a range of international films. Neglected countries still fare poorly, and Sight & Sound don’t help by focusing mainly on a top 10 that gets publicised worldwide, reinforcing the biggies.. For promoting Mizoguchi, ironically the best hope lies with Martin Scorsese, cos he certainly has influence. For neglected cinemas, who knows? Mark Kermode has The Exorcist yet again- he promotes that as i try with Mizoguchi (and others), but he really doesn’t need to, people know it already.
-Is Touki Bouki the best film from Africa?
One of them. Kuxa Kanema did an excellent poll of top African films here. Yeelen was a deserving winner, i.m.o.
See his list. It has more value than Sight & Sound’s
Good old Sato Tadao
I approve of his lists, fascinating discoveries still to be made, no doubt, and he’s now included Line of Destiny by the Sri Lankan Peries who i’m very keen on too (what little i’ve seen), If i’d taken part i would probably have included Gamperaliya by Peries. There still doesn’t seem great worldwide interest in Indian and that region’s cinema beyond Ray in the poll.
I recently lost my appetite for films- needed a break-, but there is Risselada’s film world cup here, with many neglected countries, that could do with a boost.
I can’t imagine any ranking of the greatest African films ever not being topped by a Sembene film, now whether that’s Xala, Black Girl, Moolaade, Camp de Thiaroye is a matter of personal opinion. Granted I’m far from an expert on any African director besides Sembene (I have seen Touki Bouki and Yeelen so got those covered at least).
I feel like someone would have to make a deliberate attempt to be more “international” on their personal poll in order to feel like they have everything represented but when thinking about your own top ten films how many would you have from Africa, Iran, Romania, Thailand, the Philippines, etc? It’s all fine and well to say these films should be better represented, but I’m not going to pretend that any film from one of those countries is better than Citizen Kane even if Kane is already well established, that would be dishonest to myself. Hell if Mark Kermode loves the Exorcist let him, sure I can think of a good 250 films that are probably better, but he’s well within his rights.
Have the individual top tens been released yet? I’m slightly curious to see how a few people voted this time around.
“Mulholland Dr, In the Mood for Love and Tarr Bela/Hranitzky should do well… I expect Bresson and Ozu to do well…Last time Vertigo was moving up to challenge Kane, it’ll be interesting to see if it’s now peaked or will even topple the usual winner”
what i said a year ago. Being a clever clogs with Tarr name order.
I should have placed bets on this poll.
@wpqx: yeah, let Kermode picks what he likes, that’s what the poll is for, personal favourites, not following a geographical quota. But he does go on about The Exorcist and Mary Poppins! He can be amusing but he does get on my nerves too- I blame the dumbed down BBC, only interested in Hollywood. Sight & Sound is supposed to be some sort of serious cinephile publication, not a Hollywood-centred mag, or at least should offer a wider range, since Hollywood already dominates mags and cinemas.
With any poll, you can get different results depending on the participants, where they come from, the level of interest in films beyond the usual suspects from a relatively small number of countries etc. I don’t expect participants to change their favourites to meet some set plan. I’ve yet to spot any Welsh participant, never mind a flood of ones from Nepal, Lesotho, Angola, Sudan, Borneo.. but the way the world and cultural imperialism works, across the world many cinephiles have seen the usual suspects- and i’m not saying they’re not great films, cos they are and deserve to be seen- while treasures remain hidden.
We’ve had these discussions here loads of times and they’ve even been known to get passionate people flung off the site! But that’s my immediate reaction to the poll. Still a missed opportunity. Part of the problem may be lack of responses when they tried a geographical spread of participants, i don’t know the details. When i tried my own mini poll years ago i had similar problems (but that was by old fashioned letter), and usual suspects popped up on lists in Egypt, China, Indonesia, Finland.. as well as some more local choices. The interest is often in the details, the individual lists, but they get little publicity compared with the top 10 and the winner.
How did Metropolis got more votes than M?!
Metropolis probably beat out M because of the recent new footage found and the prints (along with the new Kino BD) that have been circulating. M is definitely the superior film, but that’s sort of how these things work.
There are many top 10s in the new Sight & Sound that came through my letter box today. I was so excited by the lists back in 92 and 02, so much to explore. Now i feel jaded. :( :( Where’s Pessoa?
Other lists are yet to appear on S&S site
One poll i really liked was Polarisdib’s here last winter. And not just cos of the winner, but the cross section in the top 20 and beyond. Mubi > S&S!!
I strongly prefer Through The Olive Trees to Close Up. I just think that its votes get split by three or four other similar Kiarostami films. And I like The Circle and The Mirror better than Amy Kiarostami film.
I have mixed feelings about Metropolis. On one hand it has some amazing visual moments. On the other hand it relates to its audience as infants, it’s characters as sheep, and then falls back on cheesy damsel in distress standards.
A beautiful idea for a story, beautifully shown, and childishly told.
“I guess for most critics and filmmakers, Iranian cinema didn’t exist before Kiarostami. It’s a real shame that masterpieces like Forough Farrokhzad’s The House is Black, Ebrahim Golestan’s Brick and Mirror, and Sohrab Shahid Saless’s Still Life aren’t as popular.”
Also Dariush Mehrjui’s The Cow
Really interested in seeing Paul Schrader, Sam Mendes, and Aki Kaurismäki’s lists.
As much as I like Kurosawa, he has an annoying habit of first showing us something very elegantly, then having one of his characters make an angry speech about everything he had just subtly communicated to us.
I don’t mind the racism in The Searchers because I feel it reflects the racism of the period and the fear of frontier settlers. What rubs me the wrong way is how easily the characters would accept murdering a girl because she was ‘changed’ too much by her captors.
(Or the implication that they would murder Indian infants because their parents attacked them.)
It’s an engaging, well presented story, with outrageous moral implications.
What rubs me the wrong way is how easily the characters would accept murdering a girl because she was ‘changed’ too much by her captors.
Do you not see that the central conflict of the film is between Ethan and Martin? Ethan is willing to kill Debbie; Martin is doing everything in his power to protect Debbie from Ethan. This is why Martin continues the journey even when he could settle for a romance with a lovely girl who desperately wants him. Martin is the hero of the film to Ethan’s anti-hero. The movie itself, by the inclusion of Martin, does not support the killing of a young girl simply because she has been defiled by Indians (not that she was “changed”, but that she was raped, molested, married to Indians. assimilated into their culture – a culture that massacred Ethan’s brother and unfulfilled romance to his sister-in-law); rather, the film is a character study of someone who would kill for this reason. Among other things, that is.
I think it is difficult to imagine the need for vengeance over something as personal as, you know, having your family murdered by someone. And a massacre or raid like the one depicted in The Searchers wouldn’t have been exactly uncommon in the frontier world. Most of us do not have this happen to us and so from our cushy lives, and so we can take a more theoretical approach to what we would and would not accept.
I’d rank Lynch higher but Bunuel is incredible in his own right.
No, best Ford is probably The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, while the best western is The Wild Bunch. Though I like The Searchers a lot, there are several Westerns I find superior, including Jarmusch’s Dead Man (one of the 90’s greatest films)
No, though maybe the most “intellectual”, and certainly one of the most talented. Welles is pretty much untouchable in my opinion. To me, Citizen Kane, Touch of Evil, The Magnificent Ambersons, Lady from Shanghai, and Mr. Arkadin are all far superior to any film by Godard, and I really like Breathless, Pierrot le Fou, and Weekend quite a bit. Plus Welles has several other great films such as Chimes at Midnight, The Trial, The Stranger [underrated], F for Fake…
Yes. Nostalghia and Mirror are two of the greatest masterpieces in all of cinema. Stalker, Andrei Rublev, and Sacrifice are all incredible too. Solaris and Ivan’s Childhood would be the best films of many director’s careers.
No, Bringing Up Baby or perhaps The Big Sleep.
Yes, it’s one of the greatest films ever made (and gradually seems to be becoming increasingly underrated)
Here are the top 25 directors according to critics:
1.Hitchcock – 318 votes
6= Ford 158
24.Powell, Pressburger 84
top 10 films by women
@ Matt, at least Farrokhzad made that list
Where does this top25 directors list come from on? the votes are for the directors or for specific movies?
Do critics simply vote on the top 25 directors seperately, or is that ranking devised based on how the works of individual filmmakers fare in the film poll?
Is Lynch a better director than Bunuel? – Can’t decide. The best of Lynch – Mulholland Drive , the best of Bunuel – Viridiana, both I love in different ways.
Is The Searchers really the best Western or the best film by John Ford. – Yes. Stagecoach comes close. And some others prefer My Darling Clementine. But The Searchers is the best.
Is Godard the greatest director ever? He has four films on the list. – Nope.
Is Tarkovsky the second best director? – Maybe……
Is Journey to Italy Rossellini’s best film? – Havent seen many Rossellini’s films.
Is Rio Bravo the best Hawks’ film? – Definitely. Scarface, The Big Sleep, Red River, His Girl Friday and Bringing Up Baby do not match up to the western of all westerns.
Is Nashville Altman’s best film? – Nope. I prefer McCabe & Mrs. Miller
Is Touki Bouki the best film from Africa? – I say Moolaade. Although theres a lot of guys here that love the strangeness of Touki Bouki and Yeelen. Moolaade is grounded in realism and a very brave work.
Is Close Up the best Iranian film ever? – The Wind Will Carry Us is, after seeing all of Kiarostami’s films. The House Is Black is phenomenal, but I wouldnt rank it above The Wind Will Carry Us.
My other thoughts:
I was expecting Yi Yi to be in the top 50, alongside In The Mood For Love. :(
Did not expect Gertrud to be on the list.
Close-up and The Battle of Algiers are pleasant surprises (:
“I think it is difficult to imagine the need for vengeance over something as personal as, you know, having your family murdered by someone. And a massacre or raid like the one depicted in The Searchers wouldn’t have been exactly uncommon in the frontier world. Most of us do not have this happen to us and so from our cushy lives, and so we can take a more theoretical approach to what we would and would not accept.”
So racist, murderous behavior is ok and should be hard to critique in theory and in practice? The Searchers is a terrible film, and not just because of its conservative, intolerant stance. The aesthetics of the film are not up to par
Regarding the top 25 directors, I don’t have a problem at all with numbers 1 and 2.
Sorry, i’ve had to remove all but 4 of my S& S lists, as asked by Sight & Sound. Undermining their sales and all that.
@ Alex; the director list is according to votes for their films- which of course is unbalanced, helping people like Coppola, Murnau, Welles and Dreyer with a few biggies, rather than quality + quantity, overall oeuvre, consistency.
“I feel like someone would have to make a deliberate attempt to be more “international” on their personal poll in order to feel like they have everything represented but when thinking about your own top ten films how many would you have from Africa, Iran, Romania, Thailand, the Philippines, etc? It’s all fine and well to say these films should be better represented, but I’m not going to pretend that any film from one of those countries is better than Citizen Kane even if Kane is already well established, that would be dishonest to myself.”
Plenty of people actually. One of my favorite people to follow on Tumblr (has a profile on here as while) pretty much exclusively talks about Indian/Hindu cinema with dashes of the LA Rebellion and some films from western parts of Africa as well. It’s not all that uncommon when you widen your view. Funny enough they are constantly asked which American and European films they like though as if their love for film or say “status” as a cinephile needs to be validated by mentioning their love for any Western film.