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dave jenkins
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« on: July 08, 2012, 08:29:32 PM »

Once a decade since 1952, Sight & Sound has published their influential film poll. In September, we shall get their latest pronouncement. As we start our countdown, it may be of interest to look at how things have been ranked in the past: http://old.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/polls/topten/

I notice that the rules have been changed this time: it is no longer possible to group films together for a single ranking. So, for example, The Godfather and G2 can no longer be a single entry, but must appear as two separate films. Will separating them cause their critical value to sink? It will be interesing to see.

I assume Citizen Kane will remain in the top spot, but there could be movement everywhere else. And will Leone at last be welcomed among the elite? (I'm not holding my breath).

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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2012, 08:43:05 PM »

I seem to recall OUATIA doing well in the last poll.

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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2012, 12:37:13 AM »

OUATIA could have a chance if the voting has not been made before the premiere of the recent restoration. Do we know whether they have voted already or it's still ahead?

I have a feeling that OUATIA has more of a chance among critics whereas OUATITW might be more popular among directors. GBU is probably too entertaining and "simple" to appear on either list.

These lists are quite telling in all their harshness and simplicity. A bunch of titles have only appeared once (Persona, La terra trema, Louisiana Story...) which tells that their critical acclaim has been somewhat short-lived (though all of them are still considered classics).

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2012, 08:38:30 AM »

OUATIA could have a chance if the voting has not been made before the premiere of the recent restoration. Do we know whether they have voted already or it's still ahead?

I think the voting was in either April or May.

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2012, 08:48:32 AM »

I seem to recall OUATIA doing well in the last poll.
There are 2 lists, the critics' (the original poll), and the directors' (established 1992). OUATIA didn't make either of them in 2002. However, OUATITW did make the directors' list, at 41 (but tied with 9 other films).

Interestingly, LoA just barely got on the critics' poll, but came in at 4 on the directors'.

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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2012, 12:29:59 PM »

 During the past decade, everyone has seen the full version of OUATIA; will that affect its chances? IMO it should be on top of this list, but I'm not holding my breath.


dj, I agree with you that it's gonna be interesting to see how GF and GFII are separated. Personally, I forward most of the De Niro flashback scenes when watching GFII; his performance may have been great, but I don't like how it constantly cuts in on the action as your attention is riveted to the Pacino storyline. For that reason, I may give the edge to GF, if I had to choose one. Otherwise, it would be almost impossible for me to choose between the two, I just view them as one big work of greatness.

Here is Roger Ebert's list, and his article about his voting method http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2012/04/the_greatest_films_of_all_time.html if everyone votes with a similar method as he does, then this list is meaningless. It should be the voter's ten favorite films of all-time, period. He has all this shtick criteria for his own vote: there must be one silent film, there must be one new film, there can be no more than one movie per director. (He even considered throwing out every movie he ever voted for -- those movies that he previously voted for now being "canonized" --  and starting with a fresh list, before rejecting that idea). IMO, if the voters use any criteria other than their ten favorite movies of all-time without qualification, their vote is meaningless.

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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2012, 04:00:26 PM »

Yes, that's bullshit.

The 10 best in his opinion (even if all are by one director) everything else doesn't make sense.

The Sight and Sound list is at least one of the few which I can take seriously.

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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2012, 03:40:02 AM »

I think his reasoning makes sense. I don't know about you but I don't have "ten favorite films of all time". There's just way more than ten truly, equally great films, so I'd have to have some other criteria for choosing my choices.

And I don't think Ebert makes silly restrictions by saying there must be this and that - of course there has to be a Hitchcock film! There's no law for it, but I don't think any cinefile could make a list without a single Hitch film. And if he says there must be a silent film, I think he just feels that silent era has so many great films that it can't be forgotten. I'm sure he could make a somewhat convincing list containing only silent films. 

As Ebert says, these lists are always silly. But I think it's better that critics actually think about their choices rather pull them out of their asses based on how they happen to feel that day. Because, at least in my case, "ten favorite films" vary from day to day.

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« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2012, 05:44:08 AM »

Yes, there are much more than 10, but in the end the first 5 are no problem for me, and the rest varies ,and of course if one asks me next year there are maybe a few changes.

I like Hitch very much, but there wouldn't one of his in y top 10 from me, and surely no silent film, even if there were a few great ones. But every decade was more interesting than the silent era, except maybe for the 30s.And the interesting silent films were all made shortly before the sound film took over.

But critics often chose too much old films, they have lost touch with the present. And the lists of the directors are mostly more interesting. Less academic, more about visually great films.

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« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2012, 06:09:12 AM »

Yes, there are much more than 10, but in the end the first 5 are no problem for me, and the rest varies ,and of course if one asks me next year there are maybe a few changes.

 But every decade was more interesting than the silent era, except maybe for the 30s.



the 30's had most of the great gangster movies

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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2012, 09:30:47 AM »

Any list is going to be inherently subjective. The real question is: how do you differentiate between "favorite" and "best"? Objective qualities of craftsmanship/skill/artistic achievement versus personal enjoyment?  That's a very difficult tightrope to balance.

I could agree that, say, Amadeus is an exceedingly well-made film, but I also find it boring as Melba toast. On the other hand, The Wind and the Lion is a personal favorite even though it's a goofy adventure movie. Which do I rate higher, the movie I liked better or the movie that's better made? Nine times out of ten I'll choose the former.

I agree with drink and stanton that it's pointless to make space for certain genres/directors just because it's expected of you. Screw critical "credibility," do your own thinking for crying out loud.

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« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2012, 12:01:52 PM »

For me there is no difference between favourite and best.

As every rating is absolutely subjective my favourite films are also for me the best films ever.
And as a boring film is always a bad film I'm never tempted to chose a boring film. Quality is entertaining.

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« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2012, 12:24:04 PM »

Agreed, and it's definitely a critical construct. Saying a movie is the best ever has more weight than merely saying it's your favorite - especially if one is a critic or director. I don't find the distinction overly helpful, but many seem to.

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« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2012, 12:39:40 PM »

Yes, because the "world" is always lurking for something "objective", for definite answers, and the idea that everything, absolutely everything is subjective, that there is no truth about nothing, would be for most not very comfortable.

But art is not like mathematics. In maths 1+1 has to be 2, otherwise the whole system breaks together. But in art 1+1 can be 3, or another time 10, and sometimes even 2.

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« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2012, 02:14:18 PM »

I think Ebert uses this system as a cheap way to have more than 10 movies on his list. It's hard to choose a definitive top 10, so if you could choose a top ten that includes several hundred films (cuz eg. any one film automatically gets rid of all other films by the same director), that's an easy way out. As evidenced by the fact that he considered ditching all previous entries (as being "canonized") and starting from scratch, he is more interested in including as many films as possible than he is in making a real top 10. His list isn't "your top ten movies." It's "one movie from your top ten directors, with a bunch of other rules."

RE: the distinction between "best" and "favorite," I agree with stanton, you have to consider those words synonymous. The point of a movie is to entertain; if a movie doesn't entertain me, then as far as I am concerned, it isn't good! If you found Amadeus boring (and I sure as hell did), then as far as you are concerned, Amadeus is not a good movie! It is not "well-made"; a movie can't be well-made and boring at the same time. There is no concept of "well-made" that is distinct from entertaining; they are one and the same: if a movie entertains, then it is well-made.

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