The All-Time List Discussion Thread (Decade Project Vol. 3)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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Lighthouse
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#701 Post by Lighthouse » Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:51 am

A man stayed-put wrote:I for one would like to apologise to Lighthouse for liking so many boring old films
That's not what I said. But I was sure that this reaction would follow, even if I clearly used the words "my taste" and made clear that I also love many of the "older films".

And it wasn't a bait either, simply an simple observation. Since I read about films, and that's since the 80s, and I also read then a lot of stuff written in the 20 years before, those who write about films complain about films being less good now than they once were.
And the general tone in film forums is often that the members don't like new films, don't like modern ways of filmmaking, want new films to look like they once looked.

Of course need newer films some time to get established, and in a list restricted to only 50 I also have a tendency to prefer films I already loved for ages for films I newly discovered, cause in such a list the first 10 or 20 are clear, but these personal favourites are followed then by about 100 films for which it is pretty difficult for me to really make up my mind which I prefer.

But still, it seems strange for me that in all these lists there are so much of these "older films", especially as in recent decades much more films were made than in the first half of the 20th century.

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Lighthouse
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#702 Post by Lighthouse » Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:59 am

swo17 wrote:
DarkImbecile wrote:Did you submit a list in an attempt to rectify this?
He did submit a list. 15 of the films on there (30%) were pre-1960s. The overall list was 43% pre-1960s.
But the first list I sent you, for which I hadn't really checked the master list, contained only 8 films made before the 60s, and for that list I had already dropped or not considered several newer films I was sure they were not on the master list.

Noiradelic
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#703 Post by Noiradelic » Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:36 am

The Master List was drawn from the Decades Lists, so every decade was given, very roughly speaking, equal weight (distinguishing it from the Sight & Sound and TSPDT lists). Films from the 1920s were given no more or less importance, speaking very broadly, than movies from the 2000s. No member of this forum's old enough to have seen a movie from the 50s when it first came out and be old enough to fully appreciate it, let alone the 40s or 30s, so to suggest that age is a determinative factor on a cinephile's tastes is wrongheaded. Some of the members here most knowledgeable about older films are the younger ones. This holds true for most critics too, at least with 1940s films and earlier. Also many older films were much harder to see before the DVD era and downloading, especially foreign films outside of Europe and Russia.

accatone
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#704 Post by accatone » Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:45 am

Only submited one list, first round, see here if of any interest. My first list ever -

The Man with the Movie Camera Dziga Vertov 1929 68
Notre musique Jean-Luc Godard 2004 80
Battleship Potemkin Sergei Eisenstein 1925 75
Faust F.W. Murnau 1926 85
La Grande Illusion Jean Renoir 1937 114
L'Humanité Bruno Dumont 1999 148
The General Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman 1926 67
Vertigo Alfred Hitchcock 1958 128
L'Argent Robert Bresson 1983 85
Goodbye to Language Jean-Luc Godard 2014 70
The Wind Will Carry Us Abbas Kiarostami 1999 118
The Rules of the Game Jean Renoir 1939 110
Rome, Open City Roberto Rossellini 1945 103
Letter from an Unknown Woman Max Ophüls 1948 86
Hail Mary Jean-Luc Godard 1985 107
Berlin Alexanderplatz Rainer Werner Fassbinder 1980 902
The Night of the Hunter Charles Laughton 1955 92
Au hasard Balthazar Robert Bresson 1966 95
Psycho Alfred Hitchcock 1960 109
Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler Fritz Lang 1922 271
Lost Highway David Lynch 1997 134
City Lights Charles Chaplin 1931 87
Body Double Brian De Palma 1984 114
Contempt Jean-Luc Godard 1963 103
La Belle Noiseuse Jacques Rivette 1991 228
Close-Up Abbas Kiarostami 1990 98
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie John Cassavetes 1976 135
The Searchers John Ford 1956 119
Dead Man Jim Jarmusch 1995 121
Beau travail Claire Denis 1999 92
Pierrot le fou Jean-Luc Godard 1965 110
Mauvais sang Leos Carax 1986 116
Barry Lyndon Stanley Kubrick 1975 184
Do the Right Thing Spike Lee 1989 120
Fox and His Friends Rainer Werner Fassbinder 1975 123
To Be or Not to Be Ernst Lubitsch 1942 99
Sunset Blvd. Billy Wilder 1950 110
Night and Fog Alain Resnais 1955 32
Un chien andalou Luis Buñuel 1929 16
Porcile Pier Paolo Pasolini 1969 99
L'Atalante Jean Vigo 1934 89
L'eclisse Michelangelo Antonioni 1962 126
Caché Michael Haneke 2005 117
Shoah Claude Lanzmann 1985 550
Germany, Year Zero Roberto Rossellini 1948 78
La terra trema Luchino Visconti 1948 160
La Jetée Chris Marker 1962 28
Johnny Guitar Nicholas Ray 1954 110
PlayTime Jacques Tati 1967 115
Breathless Jean-Luc Godard 1960 90

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Lighthouse
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#705 Post by Lighthouse » Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:16 am

Noiradelic wrote:No member of this forum's old enough to have seen a movie from the 50s when it first came out and be old enough to fully appreciate it, let alone the 40s or 30s, so to suggest that age is a determinative factor on a cinephile's tastes is wrongheaded.
Sure, but I grew up with older films, cause that was what was shown in my childhood on TV in extent. My generation here in Germany all grew up with a certain kind of old films.
And then it is anyway not a truth, just an assumption.

And too make that clear, if one e.g. prefers silent films to sound films, there is nothing wrong with that, and there's of course nothing wrong with preferring older films to newer ones for me.
Still for me it is kinda surprising that film buffs generally seem to have a clear preference for old classics. Most do.

Btw as much as I remember the S&S list, wasn't it that the film directors's list looked less conservative than the critic's list, even as a whole they were often similar.

Whatever, I have 2 conclusions looking at these 3 interesting lists, either the taste of film-friends is indeed a little bit conservative, or modern films are less good (= less fascinating) than older films.
(No need to assure me now that it is the second case ;) )

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Lemmy Caution
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#706 Post by Lemmy Caution » Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:56 am

I participate in most of the decades lists, but didn't get involved in this overall list.
There were many films I hadn't seen and wouldn't/couldn't get to.
But I guess that was true of most folks.
Interestingly, the final Top 10 is mostly composed of films I either don't like or am neutral about.

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A man stayed-put
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#707 Post by A man stayed-put » Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:37 pm

Lighthouse wrote:
A man stayed-put wrote:I for one would like to apologise to Lighthouse for liking so many boring old films
That's not what I said. But I was sure that this reaction would follow, even if I clearly used the words "my taste" and made clear that I also love many of the "older films".

And it wasn't a bait either, simply an simple observation.

Glad my reaction could live up to your expectations even if the list didn't. I think you're being disingenuous in taking the 'I was just stating an opinion' line and I imagine you were looking for the very reaction you got.
However, I would be interested in your response to zedz's point and a better definition of the 'conservatism' you're bemoaning.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#708 Post by matrixschmatrix » Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:06 pm

The fact that it is your taste is implicit in you saying anything at all, so specifying as much does not actually change anything, and you made an absurdly broad and sweeping statement that is effectively an insult to everyone whose taste is not like yours- other people like movies from the 50s and earlier (and incidentally, I hate to break it to you, but movies from the 60s and 70s are also pretty old at this point, your cutoff is highly arbitrary) don't like them because they're good movies or because they respond more strongly to them, but because they are conservative and hidebound. It's inescapably an insulting and patronizing argument, as much as someone claiming that a preponderance of movies released after one's birth means one isn't really willing to explore the history of cinema.

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domino harvey
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#709 Post by domino harvey » Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:17 pm

Noiradelic wrote:No member of this forum's old enough to have seen a movie from the 50s when it first came out and be old enough to fully appreciate it, let alone the 40s or 30s, so to suggest that age is a determinative factor on a cinephile's tastes is wrongheaded.
Actually, I'm pretty sure some of our members are old enough to have seen a film when first released in the 50s, though speaking for myself I'm comparatively young and voted for a majority of films released before my birth, so the point still stands

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Morbii
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#710 Post by Morbii » Sun Apr 02, 2017 2:42 pm

matrixschmatrix wrote:The fact that it is your taste is implicit in you saying anything at all, so specifying as much does not actually change anything, and you made an absurdly broad and sweeping statement that is effectively an insult to everyone whose taste is not like yours- other people like movies from the 50s and earlier (and incidentally, I hate to break it to you, but movies from the 60s and 70s are also pretty old at this point, your cutoff is highly arbitrary) don't like them because they're good movies or because they respond more strongly to them, but because they are conservative and hidebound. It's inescapably an insulting and patronizing argument, as much as someone claiming that a preponderance of movies released after one's birth means one isn't really willing to explore the history of cinema.
I disagree about it being arbitrary. I feel the same way, and was literally just considering that fact very recently. There's a certain aesthetic style that largely started around that time period, probably among other things.

I also didn't feel he was being condescending to those that prefer films that are older, but maybe because my tastes share a similar starting point.

That said, there are older films I do like. I own many, and will blind buy/watch them, at the very least to try to understand them. But, the odds of me liking a post-50s film better in a competition is simply higher.

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Lighthouse
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#711 Post by Lighthouse » Sun Apr 02, 2017 2:56 pm

A man stayed-put wrote:
Lighthouse wrote:
A man stayed-put wrote:I for one would like to apologise to Lighthouse for liking so many boring old films
That's not what I said. But I was sure that this reaction would follow, even if I clearly used the words "my taste" and made clear that I also love many of the "older films".

And it wasn't a bait either, simply an simple observation.

Glad my reaction could live up to your expectations even if the list didn't. I think you're being disingenuous in taking the 'I was just stating an opinion' line and I imagine you were looking for the very reaction you got.
Ok, I shouldn't have said I was expecting that reaction, cause I didn't really. I change that to that I'm not surprised that despite making clear that it is only my opinion (actually it can't be anything else than my opinion) someone would write something like that, something that can't be taken from my post.
Believe it or, it wasn't written to start a big debate.

And I also have nor real problems with the list. There's not a single film in it I don't like, sure some are not that great for me, some belong to the "overrated" category, but then that's absolutely ok, the fun with these lists is that they often are different from my taste.

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domino harvey
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#712 Post by domino harvey » Sun Apr 02, 2017 2:59 pm

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and withdraw my "bait" accusation. I don't agree with your conclusion but you're apparently taking this all in stride and not doubling down, so I believe that you weren't trying to instigate anything

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Lighthouse
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#713 Post by Lighthouse » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:12 pm

matrixschmatrix wrote:The fact that it is your taste is implicit in you saying anything at all, so specifying as much does not actually change anything, and you made an absurdly broad and sweeping statement that is effectively an insult to everyone whose taste is not like yours-
No it is not, I do not expect that others share my taste. I already said that there's nothing wrong with loving other films than I.
(and incidentally, I hate to break it to you, but movies from the 60s and 70s are also pretty old at this point, your cutoff is highly arbitrary)
Yes they are also old, and like Morbii said it is not arbitrary, cause film language and narrative techniques were developing before pretty slowly ,and then, in the late 50s and early 60s, it all exploded. And for me since then cinema is modern.
other people like movies from the 50s and earlier don't like them because they're good movies or because they respond more strongly to them, but because they are conservative and hidebound.
Again something I haven't said, something which definitely can't be taken from my posts. I'm just wondering about the preference of older films against newer films. It is not a phenomenon I see only in films, but also for Rock Music or Comics. Most likely for novels too.
Last list I saw for the best Rock albums clearly preferred 70s music (which I also love) over 90s music.
It's inescapably an insulting and patronizing argument, as much as someone claiming that a preponderance of movies released after one's birth means one isn't really willing to explore the history of cinema.
Again, I haven't said that. And I would never say something absurd like that.

I did not expect this kind of reactions in a forum like this. Strange ...

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knives
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#714 Post by knives » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:22 pm

Lighthouse wrote:
(and incidentally, I hate to break it to you, but movies from the 60s and 70s are also pretty old at this point, your cutoff is highly arbitrary)
Yes they are also old, and like Morbii said it is not arbitrary, cause film language and narrative techniques were developing before pretty slowly ,and then, in the late 50s and early 60s, it all exploded. And for me since then cinema is modern.
Um, what? The difference between a film from 1951 and one from 1979 is microscopic compared to the difference between a film from 1899 and 1900 (as our lovely next list project shall surely show to those who want to participate in any capacity). The various new waves outside of America helped pick up the slack that necessarily developed in many countries after the war, but the shift in filmic language from Clouzot to Godard isn't all that radical compared to changes from the earlier parts of film. Even if a comparison of genuine experimental film like that of Stan Brakhage were to be discussed the precedents to his style come into view in the '30s with people like Norman McLaren with the changes in that thirty year span not being as significant as in the previous thirty years.

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Lighthouse
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#715 Post by Lighthouse » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:23 pm

domino harvey wrote:I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and withdraw my "bait" accusation. I don't agree with your conclusion but you're apparently taking this all in stride and not doubling down, so I believe that you weren't trying to instigate anything
It wasn't my intent to insult anyone here. Maybe you see the word conservative in this regard too negative. Have a more precise word for it?

How would you all here explain this apparent preference of older films? Are older films more fascinating than contemporary ones? This list and the other 2 would indicate this, as long as I presume that they are honestly reflect people's taste. Which I do.
Last edited by Lighthouse on Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Lighthouse
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#716 Post by Lighthouse » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:36 pm

knives wrote:
Lighthouse wrote:
(and incidentally, I hate to break it to you, but movies from the 60s and 70s are also pretty old at this point, your cutoff is highly arbitrary)
Yes they are also old, and like Morbii said it is not arbitrary, cause film language and narrative techniques were developing before pretty slowly ,and then, in the late 50s and early 60s, it all exploded. And for me since then cinema is modern.
Um, what? The difference between a film from 1951 and one from 1979 is microscopic compared to the difference between a film from 1899 and 1900 (as our lovely next list project shall surely show to those who want to participate in any capacity). The various new waves outside of America helped pick up the slack that necessarily developed in many countries after the war, but the shift in filmic language from Clouzot to Godard isn't all that radical compared to changes from the earlier parts of film. Even if a comparison of genuine experimental film like that of Stan Brakhage were to be discussed the precedents to his style come into view in the '30s with people like Norman McLaren with the changes in that thirty year span not being as significant as in the previous thirty years.
I don't care much for films made before 1920 (so I'm not able to participate on that list project), so I know indeed nothing about films from 1899 and 1900. But if there had developed anything, it most likely isn't worth mentioning judging by the films I have watched which were made in the following 20 years.
But I see a big difference between films of the mid 50s and the mid 60s. In the 60s films were made which looked like they were unthinkable 10 years earlier, and that did not happen before and not after.
And yes, there are predecessors, there are always some to anything. But exceptions don't make the rule.

And Clouzot and Godard are from different worlds.

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swo17
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#717 Post by swo17 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:45 pm

Could also just be that it's much harder for newer films to gather as much of a consensus around them, since there's so much more to choose from now.

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knives
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#718 Post by knives » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:53 pm

Lighthouse wrote: And Clouzot and Godard are from different worlds.
Not anywhere near as different as Melies at the start of his career compared to the end of it. You may have your preference for '60 and '70s cinema, but there isn't any growth to explain that. Just a difference of tastes. Probably much more simply from what you're saying the cannon just hasn't developed yet. In ten years people will 'know' what to gravitate to much more easily.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#719 Post by matrixschmatrix » Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:14 pm

In the post that set this whole thing off, there was expressed:

1) the opinion that most critics prefer pre 60s film due to conservatism
2) hope that this forum, being younger than those critics, would view film history differently
3) disappointment that this was not the case

I don't see any way around the implication that a preference for pre 60s film is therefore a pejoratively conservative one

Seriously though movies from the 60s are now 50+ years old; if your favorite film era is the 60s and 70s, those are old movies and your taste is for an older style than the way movies are currently made. Erecting a bright line between the 50s and 60s so that you can declare one set of movies made before computers existed the new side is exceedingly specious reasoning

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Lighthouse
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#720 Post by Lighthouse » Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:27 pm

knives wrote: Probably much more simply from what you're saying the cannon just hasn't developed yet. In ten years people will 'know' what to gravitate to much more easily.
Of course that applies for recent films, but the films from the 60s to the 90s are already old enough, so that a canon has already been built.

Still there are some very new films which already have that "classic" smell, but that might change in some years.

And I still disagree with your view of the 60s and 70s.
There was a radical change for a lot of reasons, not only in the development of film language, also the general thinking changed a lot in these years. There was an incredible desire for new things, to change and create other things, to question what was before, and also a rapid lowering of censorship restrictions.

For me the film language was pretty conservative before (there's the bad word again), and then they made everything new. It is hard to believe that e.g. slow motion was so rarely used before the later 60s, that it needed so long to become a staple for directors.

Films are based on other films, they use what was done before, so for me it seems logical that modern films are in a certain way "better" than older films. I think that the average film of today is much better directed than the average film of the past.

But of course that's not a reason to love modern films more than older films, apart form the fact that many say that older films were "better" made anyway.

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Lighthouse
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#721 Post by Lighthouse » Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:00 pm

matrixschmatrix wrote:In the post that set this whole thing off, there was expressed:

1) the opinion that most critics prefer pre 60s film due to conservatism
No, but that it reflects a more conservative taste imo. I see there a difference.
2) hope that this forum, being younger than those critics, would view film history differently
Not really, I always expected that with a younger generation of critics, there would be an automatic shift towards more newer films. Not absolutely new films, but the latest S&S list confirms that this not really has happened.
The forum list only reflects that (I'm btw still part of that). I call that a more conservative look at films. I haven't read here a better sounding explanation for that. Being conservative is not bad, but one can't call himself progressive as long as he prefers overall the older stuff. As great, and as adorable this older stuff may be.
Seriously though movies from the 60s are now 50+ years old; if your favorite film era is the 60s and 70s, those are old movies and your taste is for an older style than the way movies are currently made. Erecting a bright line between the 50s and 60s so that you can declare one set of movies made before computers existed the new side is exceedingly specious reasoning
I have a slight preference for films of the 60s and 70s, yes, cause there was imo a enormous amount of great films, but it wasn't specifically meant for those 2 decades, but also for every decade since. I'm very satisfied with what happens in film since the mid 90s, I love modern film making, I love e.g. rapid cutting, I love that what is called "shaky cam". But to say that again, I also love many of that what I call here "older films".
But I see what I love in modern films closer connected to the 60s than to the decades before. That was the decade of raise, the begin of the filmic modernity.
In general I prefer every decade since the 60s to every decade before. I even sometimes think that for me more great films were made in every of these decades than in the first half of the last century together.

Still the question is for me, why is there this recognizable preference amongst film lovers for this kind of older films?

John Shade
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#722 Post by John Shade » Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:25 pm

Lighthouse wrote: Again something I haven't said, something which definitely can't be taken from my posts. I'm just wondering about the preference of older films against newer films. It is not a phenomenon I see only in films, but also for Rock Music or Comics. Most likely for novels too.
Last list I saw for the best Rock albums clearly preferred 70s music (which I also love) over 90s music.
Eh, Shakespeare's still my favorite writer, however cliche that is, and novels barely existed when he wrote. Most of the rest of my favorite writers are 19th Century. I know some people who still prefer Homer over anyone else. Though what I'm saying here is completely beside the point in relation to the history of cinema.
Lighthouse wrote:I love modern film making, I love e.g. rapid cutting, I love that what is called "shaky cam". But to say that again, I also love many of that what I call here "older films". But I see what I love in modern films closer connected to the 60s than to the decades before. That was the decade of raise, the begin of the filmic modernity.
In general I prefer every decade since the 60s to every decade before. I even sometimes think that for me more great films were made in every of these decades than in the first half of the last century together.

Still the question is for me, why is there this recognizable preference amongst film lovers for this kind of older films?
I wonder if in any way the point you're making is that the studio films of the '30s, '40s, and '50s don't really do it for you? Films like Casablanca or, to continue an earlier conversation, It's a Wonderful Life? Whatever this argument is about, I think some of it has just been a little general. As matrixschmatrix said, the '60s and '70s aren't really that recent anymore either. Something most of these decades have in common is that cinema is a big business and there are cliches and fads that come and go, occasionally some of the studio films get it right, and as our list shows individualists with artistic vision do what they can to defy or potentially enrich this system.

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knives
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#723 Post by knives » Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:26 pm

Lighthouse wrote:
knives wrote: Probably much more simply from what you're saying the cannon just hasn't developed yet. In ten years people will 'know' what to gravitate to much more easily.
Of course that applies for recent films, but the films from the 60s to the 90s are already old enough, so that a canon has already been built.

Still there are some very new films which already have that "classic" smell, but that might change in some years.

And I still disagree with your view of the 60s and 70s.
There was a radical change for a lot of reasons, not only in the development of film language, also the general thinking changed a lot in these years. There was an incredible desire for new things, to change and create other things, to question what was before, and also a rapid lowering of censorship restrictions.

For me the film language was pretty conservative before (there's the bad word again), and then they made everything new. It is hard to believe that e.g. slow motion was so rarely used before the later 60s, that it needed so long to become a staple for directors.

Films are based on other films, they use what was done before, so for me it seems logical that modern films are in a certain way "better" than older films. I think that the average film of today is much better directed than the average film of the past.

But of course that's not a reason to love modern films more than older films, apart form the fact that many say that older films were "better" made anyway.
That was a formatting error on my part. That was meant for Swo.

Noiradelic
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#724 Post by Noiradelic » Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:56 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Noiradelic wrote:No member of this forum's old enough to have seen a movie from the 50s when it first came out and be old enough to fully appreciate it, let alone the 40s or 30s, so to suggest that age is a determinative factor on a cinephile's tastes is wrongheaded.
Actually, I'm pretty sure some of our members are old enough to have seen a film when first released in the 50s, though speaking for myself I'm comparatively young and voted for a majority of films released before my birth, so the point still stands
I suspected I might've been too expansive here (though I was also including the 40s and earlier), but the qualification "old enough to fully appreciate it," helps. A person who was 15 in 1959 would be 72. One who was 15 in 1955 would be 76, 1950 - 83 etc. We can all agree that the great majority of members are younger than 76.

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zedz
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Re: The All-Time List Discussion Thread

#725 Post by zedz » Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:25 pm

Lighthouse wrote:
domino harvey wrote:I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and withdraw my "bait" accusation. I don't agree with your conclusion but you're apparently taking this all in stride and not doubling down, so I believe that you weren't trying to instigate anything
It wasn't my intent to insult anyone here. Maybe you see the word conservative in this regard too negative. Have a more precise word for it?

How would you all here explain this apparent preference of older films? Are older films more fascinating than contemporary ones? This list and the other 2 would indicate this, as long as I presume that they are honestly reflect people's taste. Which I do.
Consensus and availability.

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