Form over substance, alas. That has been the trend, it has gotten worse (though admittedly I agree with about half the selections).
Orson Welles said if he could save only one film, it would be Grand Illusion. I agree, to me it is the greatest film ever made. What it has to say, and how it says it, is unequaled. It is the standard bearer for the “humanist” school of filmmaking, and I think its a shame that has fallen by the wayside in favor of razzle dazzle. 75th is insanely low.
I think Hitchcock was unquestionably one of the 5 greatest directors whoever lived, but Vertigo is not his finest film, because despite its technical brilliance, it often meanders, befuddles and even bores. That it beat Kane and Grand Illusion is a travesty. For Hitchcock, give me Notorious any day. I am shocked it didn’t make the 100.
That The Gold Rush, Ikiru, Jules and Jim, Dr. Strangelove, La Strada and Mother (Pudovkin’s), among others, also didn’t make the 100, to me invalidates the list.
Ikiru is arguably the greatest film on aging, though McCarey’s Make Way for Tomorrow and de Sica’s Umberto D are formidible challengers, all should have made the list.
Murnau was great, but was Sunrise really that magnificent beyond its cinematography? I think The Last Laugh is an equally impressive achievement, and I enjoy Faust most of all of his films. Also, King Vidor’s The Crowd, and von Sternberg’s Underworld, both released within 12 months of Sunrise, are dazzling technical and humanist achievements.
Pather Panchali should have ranked higher, and where was The Music Room?
Three Dreyer films made it. Good, he’s one of the indisputable greats, but Gertrud over Day of Wrath?? Makes no sense.
Bresson might be my favorite filmmaker, I’m glad Balthazar did so well, but A Man Escaped should have ranked much higher, and Les Dames de Bois du Boulogne also should have made the list.
Its interesting that only In the Mood for Love and Mulholland Drive made the list from the last decade. Wong Kar-Wai is a world class filmmaker, but Chunking Express is his masterpiece. As for David Lynch, well, I know I’m in the minority, but I just can’t get excited about his films because they are almost never about “real” people (with few exceptions, like The Elephant Man). No doubt Mulholland is brilliantly made, and brilliantly conceived, but to return to my original point, where is the substance? And what is his point of view about humanity? We all know he portrays the world in an entertainingly macabre manner, but, with all due respect, his world view strikes me as almost immature (though not nearly as immature as Tarantino, thank goodness Pulp Fiction didn’t crack the 100, the one saving grace of the list).
For the last decade, give me Brokeback Mountain, possibly the finest film ever made about loneliness. And give me The Pianist, not because it was personal to Polanski on the Holocaust, but because it was about what it means to want to live, to survive. And give me City of God, Water (Deepa Mehta), Spring Summer Fall Winter Spring, 4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days, Wall-e, Werckmeister Harmonies, A Very Long Engagement, The and even There Will Be Blood (despite the scenery chewing and over-length), and even The Lives of Others (despite its slightly far-fetched character transformations). All are worthy of the 100, to me more than either Mulholland or In the Mood. Don’t get me wrong, I think those are also very fine films, Mulholland was my #2 of 2001, but a masterpiece on the Sight & Sound 100 should have it all, not just style.
Other films that never seem to make it that I want to mention are as follows:
Elevator to the Gallows – Malle’s best, worthy of top-tier Hitchcock
The Wages of Fear – ditto, Hitchcock couldn’t have done much better
The Grapes of Wrath – I love The Searchers but also have some issues with some latent racism, prevalent in its day. Grapes is towering all the way.
Black God, White Devil
Breaking the Waves
Where’s the Rainer Werner Fassbinder contingent? Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, In the Year of 13 Moons, Berlin Alexanderplatz…at least one should have at least contended!
My Night at Maud’s
La Terra Trema
Time of the Gypsies – Kusturica creates much more engaging landscapes than Lynch
Viridiana and L’Age d’Or – its already been discussed, but Bunuel was criminally neglected
Don’t Look Now
To me, Paths of Glory is the second strongest Kubrick after 2001, even over the great Barry Lyndon, which I’m glad to see did well
Days of Heaven (the only great film from Terrence Malick, if you ask me!)
The Traveling Players and/or Eternity and a Day – where is Angelopoulos??
King of the Road – where is Wenders?
City of Sadness – no Hsiou either? Why not? Is there are bias against Chinese cinema? Spring in a Small Town, Raise the Red Lantern, Seventh Heaven, many worthies!
Le Million – Clair – all but forgotten – so important in its day, and still so entertaining
Gone With the Wind – it isn’t “cool” to site it, but its pretty great, the first half especially
The Wizard of Oz – what film holds up as well on so many repeated viewings, except maybe Kane and Grand Illusion?
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and King Kong, both over Metropolis – and as others asked, how could that rate higher than M???
Beauty and the Beast – both the Cocteau and the animated, the latter being one of the finest animated films
Napoleon – Gance – another that I don’t understand not being included
The Burmese Harp – Ichikawa.
Two or Three Things I Know About Her is my favorite Godard. I hate Pierrot le Fou, and Histoires is overrated, no where near the 100.
All About Eve – has there ever been a wittier screenplay? I can only think of one in its league, the brilliant Network, another worthy film. And that reminds me, Sturges deserves more respect, Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, Sullivan’s Travels and Lady Eve .
Eisenstein is suddenly neglected. Ivan the Terrible, Alexander Nevsky and October were all worthy.
To me, Open City is the best Rossellini, not Voyage.
Hiroshima, Mon Amour
Redbeard – the most underrated Kurosawa
Its even less chic to admit thinking William Wyler was a great director, but he was, because he was a master story-teller and gave us as many four star memorable films as almost any American. The Best Years of Our Lives is superb, but my vote for the 100 would have gone to 1939 NY Film Critics Best Picture winner Wuthering Heights. Its textbook on how to adapt the essence of a great novel for the cinema (using only the first part, it captured the Bronte spirit), with brilliant pre-Kane cinematography by Gregg Toland, and a beautiful evocative score by Max Steiner. Olivier broods brilliantly, Oberon is adequate, the supporting cast superb, especially Geraldine Fitzgerald. After placing at the AFI Top 50 in 1977 and AFI Top 100 in 1997, somehow it didn’t even make that (questionable) list in 2007, dropping out for dribble like Forest Gump, Dances with Wolves, The Sixth Sense, etc.
Again, look at the emotions these films evoke, look at what they have to say, and question the so-called pantheon with its ice-cold world views in so many of the films. Of course master filmmaking is respected, but an adult and humanistic point of view gives a film its living and lasting value, to coin a phrase from the 1958 Brussels World Fair Survey.
For the record, my 25 are below. I’ve read what everyone on this Forum has to say with great enthusiasm, would love to know all of your top 25 as well (top 10 just doesn’t cut it, another flaw in the Sight & Sound voting).
1. Grand Illusion
2. The Passion of Joan of Arc
3. Citizen Kane
4. City Lights
5. 2001: A Space Odyssey
6. Andrei Rublev
7. Au Hasard, Balthazar
8. Children of Paradise
10. Brokeback Mountain
10. The Pianist (Polanski)
12. A Man Escaped
13. Tokyo Story
15. Bicycle Thieves
16. La Strada
17. Battleship Potemkin
18. Man with a Movie Camera (so glad it did so well; surprised)
19. The Wizard of Oz
19. Gone with the Wind
22. Sunset Blvd.
23. All About Eve
24. Wuthering Heights
25. Raging Bull or Network, can’t decide
[next 24, to 50: Night of the Hunter; Some Like It Hot; The Crowd; Sunrise; Ikiru; City of God; Napoleon; Grapes of Wrath; The Searchers; Jules and Jim; Wild Strawberries; Pather Panchali; The Magnificent Ambersons; The Third Man; Paths of Glory; Greed; Intolerance; A Matter of Life and Death; Viridiana; North By Northwest; Make Way for Tomorrow; Two or Three Things I Know About Her; 8 1 /2; and A Separation (bumping out Bonnie and Clyde).
You raise some interesting points Ben, though I think saying that certain omissions “invalidate” the list is too harsh. I also think 25 films is too much – in S&S that would mean that one’s 25th favourite film is weighted the same as their 1st – that works with 10, but 25 each would lead to skewed results at the top – just about every top 25 would have to have Kane in, you would think, as well as 2001 and 8 1/2 etc. I like 10 as a number for this.
As for Mulholland Drive and substance – sure it’s an impeccably made film, it looks like a million bucks etc, but perhaps you’re missing how emotionally involving it is. Sure, garbage monsters behind walls and mysterious cowboys aren’t about “real people”; but what about the central relationship? Lynch’s depiction of unrequited love, being led on or heartbroken, betrayed and devolving into depression or fantasy and other thoughts is masterful, and the most emotionally engaging part of all his films. For all the talk of how crazy and absurd Lynch films are, it’s the most affecting and truthful depiction of love and desire I can think of. Anyone who’s been the worst half of any break up or relationship would find MD resonating strongly – maybe you’ve been lucky in that regard, but to call Lynch’s world view immature is unfair – that criticism might have more traction in a film like Wild at Heart (which I’d still argue against, but will concede for the moment), but pertaining to Mulholland Drive, it’s crazy talk. For those reasons, and several more I haven’t touched on, 28th if anything is too low, but still a good result for a great film.
Though I agree the lack of Pulp Fiction was relieving. I STRONGLY disagree re: Ikiru, I was jumping for joy to see it miss out – I don’t think there’s any canonised classic I despise more. But that’s an argument for another day (and another thread).
And yes, no director seems more neglected than Bunuel – seems he was the worst casualty from the split vote phenomenon – while Hitchcock fans came together for Vertigo, Fellini for 8 1/2, etc, Bunuel’s work is too hard and ultimately too rich to nominate just one to rally behind – I would have guessed it would be Discreet Charm, but if I were voting, there’s no way I could go pass The Exterminating Angel, my favourite film of all time probably. There are probably a dozen films of his that wouldn’t look out of place on this poll.
“Citizen Kane will never be toppled because they have zero intents on widening/dramatically shifting who votes on the list. As long as only the people who have heralded the list in the first place are the majority of the ways still voting it will never change.”
this is what i think too.
if you look at the directors voting, its really narrow and really limited. you would think a magazine like S&S would include more directors from outsid europe/america. granted, even some of the directors from outside that area still vote for the same old favourites, but i think thats partly to do with the culture of the list – the pressure to conform. i would expect more non us/uk critics too. why there arent im not sure. its like the list is just some incestuous circle that doesnt even WANT any new contenders.
there arent any bad films or films that arent great /important in the list, but its so conservative really – this kind of thing needs a bit of shaking up.
i would also welcome more lists divided between decades as it makes it impossible for recent films to compete. i would like to see a list that ends perhaps in the 80s and one for films that have come after. or maybe a pre-digital and post-digital list.
Where is Wenders? you ask, Ben. Like so many pop-rock music “critics” (who actually take a lot of crappy lyrics seriously!), many film critics are cowards- once a director’s shot his bolt they daren’t acknowledge their love for his earlier stuff.
Thanks for the responses, guys. B-Rad, we’ll have to agree to disagree on Mulholland Dr. I’ve tried 3x, it just doesn’t get me. But then again I’m also not the biggest fan of The Godfathers, so my taste as a cinephile might be questioned, lol. Dying to see lists from each of you, whether its 10, 15 or 25!
Time to give 2001, 8 1/2, Sunrise, The Searchers a rest.
“And what is his point of view about humanity?”
Are you serious?
Ok Ben, I’ll bite – my top 10, for what it’s worth (which is perhaps not much at all considering I haven’t seen Sunrise or Joan of Arc):
1. The Exterminating Angel
2. Mulholland Drive
3. The Third Man
5. Last Year at Marienbad
6. Citizen Kane
7. 2001: A Space Odyssey
10. La Dolce Vita
I like La Dolce Vita slightly more than 8 1/2, but I’d probably go with 8 1/2 to put my Fellini support in. Shady I know, but gotta play the game.
Bobby Wise: Also seems people like Tarkovsky, but are not willing to put him with the elite. Interesting. I thought he stood on holy ground.
People saying Tarkovsky is not the second best director ever is not the same as not putting him with the elite!
Ben: Three Dreyer films made it. Good, he’s one of the indisputable greats
This, to me, “invalidates” your opinion.
Ben: No doubt Mulholland is brilliantly made, and brilliantly conceived, but to return to my original point, where is the substance? And what is his point of view about humanity?
That’s all on display in this movie. The substance is in the dying dreams of a fantasizing young woman whose life did not go where she wants.
Ben: And give me City of God, Water (Deepa Mehta)
I’ll take every film in the top 100 over those two.
Frank Booth: Thanks for your list! I love Exterminating Angel, though Viridiana and L’Age d’Or remain my favorite Bunuels. Love Stalker, but prefer Andrei Rublev, which did extremely well in the 1992 poll, I think 15th or so, not as well since. I think it should be in the top 10. Not a fan of Marienbad, but love Hiroshima, Mon A’Mour.
Zvelf: You are in the majority re: Mulholland Drive, but I don’t see it at all, because the people are caricatures, they aren’t real. Naomi Watt is fantastic, she brings extra dimension to a cartoon-ish role (which alas is how most of the rest of the cast plays it, especially Ann Miller, who is just awful). Too many gimmicks, too much confusion, I just didn’t care, because I didn’t know who she was until I saw the film again (and again)…and even then, I just didn’t care. Same with Blue Velvet, I couldn’t empathize with any of the characters. Dennis Hopper was brilliant, if only the current crop of superhero movies had such ominous villains.
Zvelf: Water made me cry. A lot, throughout the film. What a moment when the dying old woman eats that weird sugar-egg, and realizes it is the only good food she has had her entire life. What a moment at the end, on the train, but I won’t say more in case readers haven’t seen the film. Water is steeped deep in humanity, each person a full, well-drawn person, with a beautifully revealed story. No, it is not technically brilliant, say the way everything on Frank Booth’s list is, but if I want to learn something about the world, give me Water over Mulholland Dr. every day. Does that make for a great film? I think it does, because it is universal, and it is cinematic in its presentation (albeit second tier, in that regard). City of God, however, is cinematically brilliant, I’d take it over at least half the films on the Sight & Sound list. It packs a wallop.
Zvelf: don’t understand your Dreyer comment. Does that mean you hate Dreyer? Gertud is one of the least worthy films on the list, but Passion (in my personal top 10) and Ordet are virtually indisputable masterpieces.
B-rad: Top 10 vs. Top 25. I thought about your response. I hear you. But I still think you’d get a better survey if each person listed more films. Movies like Mulholland Dr. wouldn’t do as well, as either you absolutely love and advocate it to the nth degree, as many do, or it doesn’t make your 100. I can’t help but think that if people did list 25 (and the ballots were weighted), that films like Grand Illusion, Children of Paradise The Third Man, Night of the Hunter, M, Raging Bull, etc., would have ranked higher, while films like Late Spring, In the Mood for Love (ugh!), Shoah, Jeanne Dielman, Gertrud and even Pierrot le Fou & Histories du Cinema would have dropped down a bit. Why? Most prefer Rules of the Game over Grand Illusion (not I!), so one Renoir in the top 10 is enough. But if you have the luxury of your 25 greatest, you can afford to list two, and it gives you more opportunity to present a wider range of films. And I think there’d be less advocacy going on, meaning someone might feel their #10 position is a toss-up between say, Kane and Mirror, or Late Spring, so give it to one of the latter films as surely Kane will place at the top, it doesn’t need their support as much as the others. In fact, I’d love to see the top 100 of these great directors and many of the critics. Obviously that makes the list too unwieldy, and perhaps you are right, 25 does too, but I think we’d get a more “accurate” snapshot of the so-called pantheon.
Alex: You’re an arrogant snot. I’m serious. [If you have nothing constructive to say except to make condescending faces, say nothing…I strongly suspect I’ve seen many more films than you and know a heckuva lot more too…that doesn’t make my opinion more valid, but whatever you think of yourself, you’re opinion ain’t more valid than mine either dude]
@Ben- Of course the people in Mulholland Drive aren’t real, most of the film exists within a dream. Their “cartoon-ish” portrayal is used to reinforce the contrast between dream and reality- it’s the theme of beauty vs darkness that Lynch always excels in.
Sorry Ben, Frank Booth is me, accidentally had signed into old account. Sorry if that was confusing.
Viridiana is great no doubt. Not quite Exterminating Angel for me, I probably also like Simon of the Desert a little more as well – and also, maybe Bunuel is someone who would benefit with a top 25 system. Its hard to guess though.
Water was a pretty good film, but top 100 would be blasphemy. Top 1000 would be stretch.
I still like the new list. Man With a Movie Camera is the most out of place though. Sure, it’s pretty unimpeachable in terms of historical significance and innovation and all, but as the 8th greatest ever? Crazy talk. The Godard and Tarkovsky love is the best thing I saw in this list however – two directors who don’t have a consensus best film, so its good to see several mentioned; all of the ones mentioned are of course great.
‘I strongly suspect I’ve seen many more films than you and know a heckuva lot more too’
I was disappointed to see Citizen Kane fall from the top spot. I simply cannot agree that Vertigo is the greatest film of all time. Oh, these lists are absurdly subjective, sure, but can Hitchcock’s masterpiece truly be considered a more impressive feat than Welles’ groundbreaking first film? Kane is a once in a lifetime accomplishment by a young, fledgling genius who changed cinema forever with a single work. Vertigo is a masterful film indeed, but one made long into the career of an already established director. On these grounds alone, I feel Kane is the “greater” film.
Now if I were given a ballot…
RAGING BULL Martin Scorsese
THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS Gillo Pontecorvo
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY Stanley Kubrick
APOCALYPSE NOW Francis Ford Coppola
ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND Michel Gondry
THE GODFATHER: PART II Francis Ford Coppola
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN Stanley Donin & Gene Kelly
DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB Stanley Kubrick
THE THIN RED LINE Terrence Malick
THE GREAT DICTATOR Charles Chaplin
here is my alternative top 100 (+1)
Good list, Kenji. But no Psycho, no sale… If all the lists of all the people who contributed to the S&S poll are supposed to be online today (the 15th), how does one access them? I can’t find a link for them.
Alright, here it is then: http://explore.bfi.org.uk/sightandsoundpolls/2012
Has the magazine shipped out yet? My local library still seems to have only the August issue.
I tend to think the TSPDT list is more authoritative than S&S in terms of representing critical popularity (Except that it’s weighted against newer films even more than S&S is).
@Ben, responses to some of your specific comments about films
Grand Illusion: I agree it’s a great film but it never resonated with me that much. It’s awfully reductionist and the comic elements seem a little uncomfortable in their context.
Sunrise: This is absolutely in my top ten all time. It’s not just about the beautiful cinematography, it’s a perfect example of elegant simplicity in plotting and characterization.
Gertrud vs Day Of Wrath: I love Gertrud and hate Day of Wrath, so can’t argue with the list there.
Brokeback Mountain: If this came out in a time where homosexuality wasn’t a huge divisive political issue nobody would have paid attention to it.
Wages of Fear/Black God White Devil/Don’t Look Now/Days Of Heaven/Angelopolous/Wenders: Agree with you there. Most of these films are in the top 200 of They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They, BGWD only gets excluded because it’s from the southern hemisphere. Although I would put A idade da terra before BGWD, and Wings of Desire before Kings of the Road.
Fleming: I don’t think Wizard of Oz holds up well to adult viewing without the nostalgia factor. Gone With The Wind is historically important but suffers from an abundance of plot contrivances and an extremely conservative tilt. It’s important in that it sums up the post-Civil War emotional state of the south, but I wouldn’t put it on a best ever list unless I was explicitly taking historical meaning into account.
Ikiru/La Strada/Jules et Jim: I’m not a huge fan of these films. Ikiru starts out well but ruins itself by ruining the subtlety at the end and becoming preachy. Jules et Jim’s character motivations are problematic to me and La Strada’s lead characters seemed a little condescended to.
I encourage everyone to look up the They Shoot Pictures Don’t They List, because most of the films that people are most annoyed to see excluded factor at least in the top 150 or so. They only major problem with that list really is that they factor every list they ever got equally, even if they got those lists 30 years ago, so it’s practically impossible for newer films to rise up the list.
My hypothetical ballot:
Night Of The Hunter
Chimes At Midnight
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
A Woman Under The Influence
Wow, The Tree of Life almost made it to the top 100. I wonder if this means we should start expecting to see it rise up even more?
“I tend to think the TSPDT list is more authoritative than S&S in terms of representing critical popularity (Except that it’s weighted against newer films even more than S&S is).”
Well, bear in mind that if you look at what the TSPDT poll aggregate list is actually comprised of, collectively, the individual ballots cast in the BFI/Sight & Sound polls 1952-2002 are the single largest source for the TSPDT list, so while the TSPDT list certainly has some additional flesh on its bones, it’s still using the Sight & Sound lists as its core.
The individual critics’ poll lists are up now.Here
Here are some interesting lists.
Birth 2004 Jonathan Glazer
Cold Water 1987 Olivier Assayas
Deliverance 1972 John Boorman
Enter the Dragon 1973 Robert Clous
Lovers on the Bridge, The 1991 Leos Carax
Minority Report 2002 Steven Spielberg
Now, Voyager 1942 Irving Rapper
Performance 1970 Donald Cammell/Nicolas Roeg
Ten Commandments, The 1923 Cecil B DeMille
Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The 1974 Tobe Hooper
47 Ronin, The, 1941 Mizoguchi Kenji
L’ argent 1983 Robert Bresson
Egyptian Series Stan Brakhage
El Dorado 1966 Howard Hawks
Eniaios Gregory J. Markopoulos
India: Matri Bhumi 1959 Roberto Rossellini
Schwechater 1958 Peter Kubelka
Sun Shines Bright, The 1953 John Ford
What Goes Up Robert Breer
Yearning 1964 Naruse Mikio
Cuadecuc-Vampir 1970 Pere Portabella
Greed 1925 Erich von Stroheim
Histoire(s) du cinéma Jean-Luc Godard
I Was Born, But… 1932 Ozu Yasujirô
Ivan 1932 Aleksandr Dovzhenko
Rear Window 1954 Alfred Hitchcock
Sátántangó 1994 Béla Tarr
Spione 1928 Fritz Lang
Wind Will Carry Us, The 1999 Abbas Kiarostami
World, The 2004 Jia Zhang Ke
Fanny and Alexander 1984 Ingmar Bergman
Magnificent Ambersons, The 1942 Orson Welles
Musketeers of Pig Alley, The 1912 D.W. Griffith
Notorious 1946 Alfred Hitchcock
Pickpocket 1959 Robert Bresson
Puppetmaster, The 1993 Hsiao-hsien Hou
Raging Bull 1980 Martin Scorsese
Rio Bravo1958 Howard Hawks
Shoah 1985 Claude Lanzmann
Wavelength 1967 Michael Snow
Angel 1937 Ernst Lubitsch
Assomoir, L’ 1917 Albert Capellani
Faust 1926 F. W. Murnau
From Saturday to Sunday 1931 Gustav Machaty
Make Way for Tomorrow 1937 Leo McCarey
Mothering Heart, The 1913 D.W. Griffith
Not Wanted 1949 Ida Lupino
Pursued 1947 Raoul Walsh
The Tiger of Eschnapur/The Indian Tomb 1958 Fritz Lang
Whirlpool 1950 Otto Preminger
Peter von Bagh
Angèle 1934 Marcel Pagnol
Canterbury Tale, A 1944 Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger
Distant Drums 1951 Raoul Walsh
Iris and the Lieutenant 1946 Alf Sjöberg
Ivan the Terrible 1945 Sergei M Eisenstein
Late Spring 1949 Ozu Yasujirô
Nazarín 1958 Luis Buñuel
Only Angels Have Wings 1939 Howard Hawks
Party Girl 1958 Nicholas Ray
Wedding March, The 1928 Erich von Stroheim
Beyond the Forest 1949 King Vidor
Dames du Bois de Boulogne, Les 1945 Robert Bresson
Dr Mabuse, The Gambler 1922 Fritz Lang
Gertrud 1964 Carl Theodor Dreyer
Pandora’s Box 1928 G W Pabst
Principio y fin 1993 Arturo Ripstein
Règle du jeu, La 1939 Jean Renoir
Shadow of A Doubt 1943 Alfred Hitchcock
Story of a Love Affair 1950 Michelangelo Antonioni
Truth About Bebe Donde, The 1952 Henri Decoin
Faces 1968 John Cassavetes
Human Remains 1998 Jay Rossenblatt
Killer of Sheep 1977 Charles Burnett
Local Color 1977 Mark Rappaport
Mikey and Nicky 1976 Elaine May
Milestones 1975 Robert Kramer
Old Boy 2005 Kelly Reichardt [Should be ‘Old Joy’ unless he really meant ‘Old Boy’]
Safe 1994 Todd Haynes
Wanda 1970 Barbara Loden
Wife, The 1995 Tom Noonan
Atalante, L’ 1934 Jean Vigo
Avventura, L’ 1960 Michelangelo Antonioni
Barry Lyndon 1975 Stanley Kubrick
Come And See 1985 Elem Klimov
eclisse, L’ 1962 Michelangelo Antonioni
Ere erera baleibu icik subua aruaren 1970 José Antonio Sistiaga
Flowers of Shanghai 1998 Hsiao-hsien Hou
General, The 1926 Buster Keaton
Objective, Burma! 1945 Raoul Walsh
Winchester ’73 1950 Anthony Mann
Andrei Rublev 1966 Andrei Tarkovsky
Bicycle Thieves, The 1948 Vittorio de Sica
End, The 1953 Christopher Maclaine
Fanny and Alexander 1984 Ingmar Bergman
Meshes of the Afternoon 1943 Maya Deren/Alexander Hammid
Palms 1994 Artur Aristakisian
Passion of Joan of Arc 1927 Carl Theodor Dreyer
Pather Panchali 1955 Satyajit Ray
Playtime 1967 Jacques Tati
Soldier’s Prayer, A (Human Condition Trilogy Part 3) 1960 Kobayashi Masaki
Here are Ray Carney’s comments:
“I am offering an exclusively American list to counterbalance the “no man (or woman) can be a prophet in their own country” syndrome. And a list where the oldest work was created less than 50 years ago to counteract the “all the masterpieces are in museums” syndrome. The list is also meant to react against all the artistic cults worshipping at the altars of visual gorgeousness, acoustic virtuosity, and narrative gigantism. These works embrace an aesthetic of imperfection – their truths are small, rough, and provisional. That is what qualifies them as the most important works of our present historical moment: they blaze a trail into the future.”
His comments epitomize the kind of contrarianism I can’t stand. Don’t doggedly oppose the canon. Simply pick the ten greatest or your ten favorite films. Stop making it your agenda to actively to pick away and criticize the canon. That shouldn’t be what film appreciation is about.
Our very own Daniel Kasman
Blood of the Beasts 1948 Georges Franju
Floating Clouds 1955 Naruse Mikio
French Cancan 1955 Jean Renoir
Gertrud 1964 Carl Theodor Dreyer
Me and My Gal 1932 Raoul Walsh
Out 1 1990 Jacques Rivette
Playtime 1967 Jacques Tati
Power of Speech, The Jean-Luc Godard
Shining, The 1980 Stanley Kubrick
True Heart Susie 1919 D.W. Griffith
For me, every film listed is a tragedy, as each is a temporarily immobile yet living memorial to all the films that must be absent from here. Such editing drains both my love and the films’ importance of blood and warmth, despite the selection’s power.
Any other Mubi posters/editors on the list?
And both of his premises are faulty. Did he, for example, bother to look at the results of the of the previous polls? In the critics poll top ten, less than half of films that made the cut were > 50 years old, and as far “no man can be a prophet in his own country” the majority of the voters are still British or American, and the top 10 includes a three American films by American filmmaker, as well as one by a British filmmaker (Hitchcock) working in America, and one by an American filmmaker (Kubrick) working in the UK . . . so it doesn’t seem that either of the “syndromes” he’s allegedly counteracting are actually things that exist.
(that said, I do think he’s put together a pretty good list)
June Givanni had the best list based on my quick glance at the individual lists.
Black Girl – Ousmane Sembene
Daratt – Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Last Supper, The – Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
Lucía – Humberto Solás
Lumumba – Raoul Peck
Shadows – John Cassavetes
Silences of the Palace, The – Moufida Tlatli
Touki Bouki – Djibril Diop Mambéty
Tristana – Luis Buñuel
Waiting for Happiness – Abderrahmane Sissako
Loving these additional lists. Reminds me I completely forgot to name “The Human Condition” Trilogy in my own top 50. Only saw it about 6 months ago, blew me away. So many war fiolms owe so much to it.
Also love seeing multiple films by Bunuel, finally something by Sembene (my personal preference would be Guelwaar), Now, Voyager (now there’s a soaper I’d choose over the Sirk Imitation of Life in a minute), Make Way for Tomorrow, Floating Clouds, Come and See, Killer of Sheep, LesDames du Bois de Boulogne, Notorious, Faust, The Wedding March, A Woman Under the Influence, etc.
Many thanks for the response, and love your list. While I stand by my preferences, my only specific response to your comments is I strongly disagree about Brokeback Mountain; forget the gay element for a moment, the film resonates because its about loneliness, and people terrified to be themselves in the face of their micro-societies. It is artfully told, magnificently acted (Ledger’s implosive performance is an all-time great), and is a quietly brilliant comment on America of those 30 years. As much as any film I’ve ever seen, it shows, rather than tells, which to me is one of the marks of greatness.
For what its worth, I kept tabs of the major end-of-decade best lists, some high-brow (Cahier du Cinema), some middle-brow (NY Times) , some no-brow (like Entertainment Weekly, I confess). I tabulated the results of about 100 in all, and four English language films emerged: Mulholland Drive, Brokeback Mountain, There Will Be Blood, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Other English language films that did very well were Wall-e, No Country for Old Men, Memento, Children of Men, A History of Violence, and yes, the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (as a Trilogy; individually, only Fellowship got a solid number of mentions)(and I was surprised The Pianist didn’t do better, considering its Cesar, Bafta, Palme d’Or, etc.). As for foreign-language films, there were too many to name, a solid dozen with about the same number of mentions. In the Mood for Love and Yi Yi were certainly among those dozen, but they did no better than many others, which is why Mood’s crazy-high placement took my completely by surprise. Again, I thought Chunking Express should have been his film in the running.
When does the issue hit U.S. newsstands or has it already?