Sight & Sound

A subforum to discuss film culture and criticism both old and new, as well as memorializing public figures we've lost.
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furbicide
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:52 am

Re: Sight & Sound

#801 Post by furbicide » Sat Mar 04, 2023 10:29 pm

Here are the most voted for movies of the century by year (someone else can do the full list if they're so inclined!):

2001: Mulholland Dr. (128 votes)
2002: West of the Tracks (19 votes)
2003: Goodbye, Dragon Inn (30 votes)
2004: Tropical Malady (42 votes)
2005: The Death of Mr Lazarescu (8 votes)
2006: Syndromes and a Century (16 votes)
2007: There Will Be Blood (30 votes)
2008: The Headless Woman (22 votes)
2009: The White Ribbon (18 votes)
2010: The Tree of Life / Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (21 votes)
2011: A Separation / Melancholia (19 votes)
2012: The Act of Killing (18 votes)
2013: Under the Skin (19 votes)
2014: Boyhood (12 votes)
2015: Mad Max: Fury Road (20 votes)
2016: Moonlight (50 votes)
2017: Get Out (31 votes)
2018: Roma (10 votes)
2019: Portrait of a Lady on Fire (65 votes)
2020: Nomadland (9 votes)
2021: Petite Maman (15 votes)
2022: Everything Everywhere All at Once (5 votes)

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dekadetia
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Location: Pennsylvania, USA

Re: Sight & Sound

#802 Post by dekadetia » Sat Mar 04, 2023 10:37 pm

bad future wrote:
Sat Mar 04, 2023 9:25 pm
Am I correct in seeing that it only includes contributors A through C so far?
Should be the whole thing. It's 20000+ lines so probably best to load it on a laptop.

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bad future
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:16 pm

Re: Sight & Sound

#803 Post by bad future » Sat Mar 04, 2023 11:04 pm

I realized I was only seeing the beginning of the data because I'd opened the file by default with the macOS Preview app, the inherent limitations of which should have been obvious! Downloaded a dedicated spreadsheet app and now ready to waste so much time adding films to my watch list based on lists I like :shock:

pistolwink
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:07 am

Re: Sight & Sound

#804 Post by pistolwink » Sat Mar 04, 2023 11:44 pm

dekadetia wrote:
Sat Mar 04, 2023 12:37 pm
mystic_matahari wrote:
Sat Mar 04, 2023 2:51 am
dekadetia wrote:
Fri Mar 03, 2023 9:10 pm
I'm attempting to scrape the ballots into an spreadsheet as I imagine the bird's-eye view and filtering capabilities will be useful. Will share here when it's ready.
I'm actually in the process of doing the same! I can't wait to see what you come up with. So far, I've only done a comparison between the number of voters from each country.
I haven't done any visualizations or anything, but here's the raw data for download if anyone would like to play around with it.
Holy moly! Thank you!

If anyone has WAY more free time than I have, I'd love to see a spreadsheet like this for the other decades' polls as well. (The 2002 and 2012 polls should be online, and I have PDFs of the results from earlier polls, although IIRC not all lists were published for certain of them.)

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swo17
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Re: Sight & Sound

#805 Post by swo17 » Sat Mar 04, 2023 11:57 pm

Here's the top 100 (critics and directors combined) if you only count ballots that included at least one film as old as from the 1920s (this is an all-time list after all), eliminating about 65% of submitted lists:
SpoilerShow
01. Man with a Movie Camera
02. Sunrise
03. Vertigo
04. Jeanne Dielman
05. The Passion of Joan of Arc
06. Citizen Kane
07. Tokyo Story
08. 2001: A Space Odyssey
09. La Règle du jeu
10. Battleship Potemkin
(tie) In the Mood for Love
12. Sherlock Jr.
13. Close-up
14. Seven Samurai
(tie) The Searchers
(tie) Mulholland Dr.
17. Persona
18. Metropolis
(tie) Beau travail
20. Au hasard Balthazar
(tie) Shoah
22. The General
(tie) L'Atalante
(tie) Singin' in the Rain
25. Meshes of the Afternoon
(tie) Late Spring
(tie) The Godfather
28. Ordet
29. À bout de souffle
30. M
(tie) Playtime
32. Pather Panchali
(tie) Cléo from 5 to 7
34. 8½
35. The Battle of Algiers
(tie) Apocalypse Now
37. Mirror
38. Andrei Rublev
39. Do the Right Thing
40. Un chien andalou
(tie) The Night of the Hunter
(tie) Stalker
43. Bicycle Thieves
(tie) Rashomon
(tie) Psycho
46. Modern Times
(tie) Taxi Driver
48. City Lights
(tie) Rear Window
(tie) The 400 Blows
(tie) Sans soleil
52. The Leopard
(tie) La Maman et la Putain
54. To Be or Not to Be
(tie) Ugetsu monogatari
(tie) North by Northwest
(tie) L'avventura
(tie) La Jetée
(tie) Le Mépris
(tie) Pierrot le fou
(tie) Daisies
62. Madame de...
(tie) Wanda
(tie) Barry Lyndon
(tie) Killer of Sheep
66. Nosferatu
(tie) Greed
(tie) Napoléon
(tie) A Man Escaped
(tie) Imitation of Life
(tie) The Spirit of the Beehive
(tie) News from Home
73. La Grande Illusion
(tie) Some Like It Hot
(tie) Fear Eats the Soul
(tie) Histoire(s) du Cinéma
(tie) Daughters of the Dust
78. The Third Man
(tie) Sunset Blvd.
(tie) Sansho the Bailiff
(tie) Journey to Italy
(tie) The Seventh Seal
(tie) The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
(tie) A Brighter Summer Day
(tie) Sátántangó
(tie) The Gleaners and I
87. Intolerance
(tie) Bringing Up Baby
(tie) Only Angels Have Wings
(tie) The Red Shoes
(tie) The House Is Black
(tie) Once Upon a Time in the West
(tie) Blade Runner
(tie) My Neighbour Totoro
(tie) The Piano
(tie) Tropical Malady
97. Trouble in Paradise
(tie) Touch of Evil
(tie) Pickpocket
(tie) La dolce vita
(tie) Black Girl
(tie) The Conformist
(tie) Touki bouki
(tie) Céline and Julie Go Boating
(tie) Goodbye, Dragon Inn

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dekadetia
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Re: Sight & Sound

#806 Post by dekadetia » Sun Mar 05, 2023 3:02 am

A quick note that Miguel Marias's ballot is in the file twice. Thanks to pistolwink for catching!

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tenia
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Re: Sight & Sound

#807 Post by tenia » Sun Mar 05, 2023 6:04 am

I found another version of such compilation job, which has 30 more lines. I suspect that some ballots are missing 1 entry in some ballots, I found one for Adrienne McKibbins who is missing Gangs of Wasseypur.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... 1086363162

Edit : I've gone through about half of it (10 000 lines) and am going to stop there, otherwise I'll spend my Sunday on it ! Anybody wants to take it where I left it, feel free to do so. These aren't big mistakes, so it's mostly a long but thorough scroll through the list (and is way easier than to compile it in the first lace !).

Also :
Akira Mizuta Lippit is missing News from Home.
Alejo Moguillansky : La dolce vita
Andreas Morann : Holy Motors
Andrew Mohsen : Amadeus
Angelo Muredda : Trouble Every Day
Ben Mitchell : Rear Window
Blair McClendon : Welfare
Bogdan Movileanu : Interstellar
Brett Morgen : Raging Bull
Brian McFarlane : Battleship Potemkin
Brian Meacham : Dawson City: Frozen Time
Bruno Mestdagh : The Wind
Camilla Markvardsen : Goodbye, Dragon Inn
Carlos Muguiro : The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Carol Morley : The Night of the Hunter
Charles Musser : Sunset Blvd.
Chiara Marañón : The Second Game
Christian Monggaard : The Maltese Falcon
Claire Monk : The Power of the Dog
Cintia Gil : ballot counted twice : as Austrian Film Museum deputy director (retired) and as Film curator
Cornelius Moore : Bicycle Thieves
Courtney Stephens : ballot counted twice
Damian Marcano : has an extra line that actually is empty
Craig McLean : The Godfather Part II is counted twice
Dana Linssen : Sleepcinemahotel
Daniela Michel : Out of the Past
Diego Lerer : Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Ed Buscombe : Citizen Kane is counted twice
Emily Murray : Apocalypse Now
Edgardo Cozarinsky : has 2 extra lines that actually are empty
Esther Leslie : Spider-Man : Into the Spider-Verse
Eva Markovits : Jeanne Dielman
Frédéric Mercier : L'enfance nue
Geoffrey Macnab : Journey to Italy
Helena Lindblad : Zimna wojna
Henry K. Miller : The Big Lebowski
Hind Mezaina : Zama
Ilian Metev : V temnote (In the Dark)
Ivone Margulies : Fear Eats the Soul
Jacob Milligan : Singin' in the Rain
James Mottram : TENGOKU TO JIGOKU
Jelena Milosavljevic : ballot counted twice (once with 10 entries, next with 9)
Jennie Livingston : Nashville
Jennifer Merin : Promising Young Woman
Jérôme Momcilovic : Gone Girl
Joachim Lepastier : Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Joan Mellen : The Godfather Part II
John Paizs : ballot counted twice
José Luis Lorenzo : The Red Shoes

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tenia
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Re: Sight & Sound

#808 Post by tenia » Sun Mar 05, 2023 9:13 am

swo17 wrote:
Sat Mar 04, 2023 11:57 pm
Here's the top 100 (critics and directors combined) if you only count ballots that included at least one film as old as from the 1920s (this is an all-time list after all), eliminating about 65% of submitted lists :
Would you have the possibility to do the same calculation with different thresholds ? For instance, how many of the lists would be eliminated if putting the threshold at the 30s, 40s, etc ?

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DarkImbecile
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Location: Albuquerque, NM

Re: Sight & Sound

#809 Post by DarkImbecile » Sun Mar 05, 2023 2:04 pm

swo17 wrote:
Sat Mar 04, 2023 11:57 pm
Here's the top 100 (critics and directors combined) if you only count ballots that included at least one film as old as from the 1920s (this is an all-time list after all), eliminating about 65% of submitted lists:
SpoilerShow
01. Man with a Movie Camera
02. Sunrise
03. Vertigo
04. Jeanne Dielman
05. The Passion of Joan of Arc
06. Citizen Kane
07. Tokyo Story
08. 2001: A Space Odyssey
09. La Règle du jeu
10. Battleship Potemkin
(tie) In the Mood for Love
12. Sherlock Jr.
13. Close-up
14. Seven Samurai
(tie) The Searchers
(tie) Mulholland Dr.
17. Persona
18. Metropolis
(tie) Beau travail
20. Au hasard Balthazar
(tie) Shoah
22. The General
(tie) L'Atalante
(tie) Singin' in the Rain
25. Meshes of the Afternoon
(tie) Late Spring
(tie) The Godfather
28. Ordet
29. À bout de souffle
30. M
(tie) Playtime
32. Pather Panchali
(tie) Cléo from 5 to 7
34. 8½
35. The Battle of Algiers
(tie) Apocalypse Now
37. Mirror
38. Andrei Rublev
39. Do the Right Thing
40. Un chien andalou
(tie) The Night of the Hunter
(tie) Stalker
43. Bicycle Thieves
(tie) Rashomon
(tie) Psycho
46. Modern Times
(tie) Taxi Driver
48. City Lights
(tie) Rear Window
(tie) The 400 Blows
(tie) Sans soleil
52. The Leopard
(tie) La Maman et la Putain
54. To Be or Not to Be
(tie) Ugetsu monogatari
(tie) North by Northwest
(tie) L'avventura
(tie) La Jetée
(tie) Le Mépris
(tie) Pierrot le fou
(tie) Daisies
62. Madame de...
(tie) Wanda
(tie) Barry Lyndon
(tie) Killer of Sheep
66. Nosferatu
(tie) Greed
(tie) Napoléon
(tie) A Man Escaped
(tie) Imitation of Life
(tie) The Spirit of the Beehive
(tie) News from Home
73. La Grande Illusion
(tie) Some Like It Hot
(tie) Fear Eats the Soul
(tie) Histoire(s) du Cinéma
(tie) Daughters of the Dust
78. The Third Man
(tie) Sunset Blvd.
(tie) Sansho the Bailiff
(tie) Journey to Italy
(tie) The Seventh Seal
(tie) The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
(tie) A Brighter Summer Day
(tie) Sátántangó
(tie) The Gleaners and I
87. Intolerance
(tie) Bringing Up Baby
(tie) Only Angels Have Wings
(tie) The Red Shoes
(tie) The House Is Black
(tie) Once Upon a Time in the West
(tie) Blade Runner
(tie) My Neighbour Totoro
(tie) The Piano
(tie) Tropical Malady
97. Trouble in Paradise
(tie) Touch of Evil
(tie) Pickpocket
(tie) La dolce vita
(tie) Black Girl
(tie) The Conformist
(tie) Touki bouki
(tie) Céline and Julie Go Boating
(tie) Goodbye, Dragon Inn
Swo’s list got (misleadingly) cited in this Film Stage article featuring different parsings of the Sight & Sound data

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swo17
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Re: Sight & Sound

#810 Post by swo17 » Sun Mar 05, 2023 2:33 pm

tenia wrote:
Sun Mar 05, 2023 9:13 am
swo17 wrote:
Sat Mar 04, 2023 11:57 pm
Here's the top 100 (critics and directors combined) if you only count ballots that included at least one film as old as from the 1920s (this is an all-time list after all), eliminating about 65% of submitted lists :
Would you have the possibility to do the same calculation with different thresholds ? For instance, how many of the lists would be eliminated if putting the threshold at the 30s, 40s, etc ?
Lists going back as early as...

1890s: 0.6%
1900s: 1.7%
1910s: 6%
1920s: 35%
1930s: 54%
1940s: 72%
1950s: 88%
1960s: 96%
1970s: 98.8%
1980s: 99.5%
1990s: 99.8%
2000s: 99.9%
2010s: 100%

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tenia
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: Sight & Sound

#811 Post by tenia » Sun Mar 05, 2023 3:02 pm

DarkImbecile wrote:
Sun Mar 05, 2023 2:04 pm
Swo’s list got (misleadingly) cited in this Film Stage article featuring different parsings of the Sight & Sound data
I sent a tweet to the writer of this article about this, he fixed the methodology details.
swo17 wrote:
Sun Mar 05, 2023 2:33 pm
That's journalism for ya
tenia wrote:
Sun Mar 05, 2023 9:13 am
swo17 wrote:
Sat Mar 04, 2023 11:57 pm
Here's the top 100 (critics and directors combined) if you only count ballots that included at least one film as old as from the 1920s (this is an all-time list after all), eliminating about 65% of submitted lists :
Would you have the possibility to do the same calculation with different thresholds ? For instance, how many of the lists would be eliminated if putting the threshold at the 30s, 40s, etc ?
Lists going back as early as...
Many thanks for this !
Fascinating curve, as it seems (IMO) to match quite a usual statistical model in the end, with the 30s being the mid-point. It's interesting to see, however, how quickly it takes to reach almost 90%+ of inclusion : in the end, despite some lists feeling quite biased towards very recent movies, the utmost majority of the lists at least goes back up to the 50%.
I'm planning to use this table to play a bit with it, how did you work it around to filter it this way ? (I guess a dynamic table, but am unsure)

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swo17
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Re: Sight & Sound

#812 Post by swo17 » Sun Mar 05, 2023 3:22 pm

I just added some formulas

davoarid
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:57 pm

Re: Sight & Sound

#813 Post by davoarid » Sun Mar 05, 2023 6:20 pm

Apologies if this has been covered, but is there a list of EVERY movie that received at least one vote? I am trying to see which many critics voted for Filipino films (so far it looks like just Filipino critics, haha.)

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swo17
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Location: SLC, UT

Re: Sight & Sound

#814 Post by swo17 » Sun Mar 05, 2023 7:12 pm

tenia wrote:
Sun Mar 05, 2023 9:13 am
Fascinating curve, as it seems (IMO) to match quite a usual statistical model in the end, with the 30s being the mid-point. It's interesting to see, however, how quickly it takes to reach almost 90%+ of inclusion : in the end, despite some lists feeling quite biased towards very recent movies, the utmost majority of the lists at least goes back up to the 50%.
I don't know that I'd describe this distribution as "usual" but rather a measure of the level of curation at play in terms of who is invited to participate. An Empire or IMDb user list would surely skew more recent, while at the other extreme, one could impose rules like "must include at least one film from each quarter century" which would produce a completely different curve that plateaus early. Presumably those well-versed in the entire history of film would more naturally fit within these bounds without even needing the suggestion. I for one don't know how I could in good conscience call something an all-time list that didn't include a silent film, but then you have to factor in different tastes. There are plenty of great lists here that show a much narrower focus (for instance, Fran Simeoni's, which is entirely from the 1960s-1980s) but then I also saw one that I think was all films directed by women from the last 3 years, which is really just fishing. I think it's a good sign of the quality of these contributors that almost 90% of lists at least go back to the 1950s. But it's also interesting to note which of the new additions to the overall list were ushered in by people whose lists truly encompassed the breadth of film history vs. those who had a narrower focus

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dekadetia
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Location: Pennsylvania, USA

Re: Sight & Sound

#815 Post by dekadetia » Sun Mar 05, 2023 7:25 pm

davoarid wrote:
Sun Mar 05, 2023 6:20 pm
Apologies if this has been covered, but is there a list of EVERY movie that received at least one vote? I am trying to see which many critics voted for Filipino films (so far it looks like just Filipino critics, haha.)
This version adds a second tab with all the films and their numbers of votes (with the caveat that I haven't pored over this and others may have something cleaner). By my quick-filtered count there are about 4,600 unique films and of those about 2,600 are orphans; both counts are probably a bit inflated.

ntnon
Joined: Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:04 am

Re: Sight & Sound

#816 Post by ntnon » Mon Mar 06, 2023 12:27 am

tolbs1010 wrote:
Sat Mar 04, 2023 2:51 pm
Several votes for Gerwig's Lady Bird? Average age of respondents must be much younger than previous polls.
Query - are enough of the individuals well 'known' enough that somebody with time and interest could add their ages, and maybe try and determine average ages or..?

ntnon
Joined: Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:04 am

Re: Sight & Sound

#817 Post by ntnon » Mon Mar 06, 2023 12:51 am

ntnon wrote:
Thu Mar 02, 2023 11:12 pm
Jeanine Basinger's list is blank...
..and now she seems to be entirely absent. Anyone know what happened here?

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tenia
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Re: Sight & Sound

#818 Post by tenia » Mon Mar 06, 2023 11:42 am


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Walter Kurtz
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2020 3:03 pm

Re: Sight & Sound

#819 Post by Walter Kurtz » Mon Mar 06, 2023 12:01 pm

Aumont: this referendum is "useless and absurd". He got that right.

Unless you really do care what a friend of your friend's friend who is an assistant to the assistant professor in charge of assisting other professors at Southeastern West Anglia Junior College thinks is "awesome" and once even saw as film that was released as far back as 1952.

Huh? Wes Anderson voted? I take that back. This poll is cool!

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tenia
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Re: Sight & Sound

#820 Post by tenia » Mon Mar 06, 2023 12:35 pm

I think that'd be misconstruing what this poll can be representative of.

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Walter Kurtz
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Re: Sight & Sound

#821 Post by Walter Kurtz » Mon Mar 06, 2023 1:13 pm

tenia wrote:
Mon Mar 06, 2023 12:35 pm
I think that'd be misconstruing what this poll can be representative of.
Well it was meant as humor with a lot of truth in it. One-third of the voters are Brits. Nothing against Brits. I'm part Brit myself and live in West London AKA Los Angeles. But one-third are indeed Brits (thus "Anglia".) And the majority of people voting have occupations akin or similar to the one I irreverently posted.

And I venture to say that there are certainly at least a handful of people* regularly posting on this forum whose opinions, thoughts, and essays offer more insight and value than 80% of the people, consultants, and friends of friends who voted in this poll.

And I venture to say a poll of these forum people would offer more insight than the one S&S published.

At the end of the day... who cares what the poll results are? The only poll that matters is the one inside your head.

* I'm certainly not talking about myself.

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dekadetia
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Re: Sight & Sound

#822 Post by dekadetia » Mon Mar 06, 2023 1:23 pm

Walter Kurtz wrote:
Mon Mar 06, 2023 1:13 pm
At the end of the day... who cares what the poll results are?
Exactly, and that's why it's so great that S&S publish the ballots in full; the individual results and the trends that different pockets of data indicate are far more interesting than the final list.

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Walter Kurtz
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Re: Sight & Sound

#823 Post by Walter Kurtz » Mon Mar 06, 2023 2:11 pm

dekadetia wrote:
Mon Mar 06, 2023 1:23 pm
Exactly, and that's why it's so great...
And that's why I haven't voted in 2022 or 2012... nor have a bunch of my peers (director's poll) who share the same viewpoint. Which is: I don't want to be defined by ten movies I choose at 11:22 on a Tuesday morning in September. Because those ten movies can be different by 19:30 that evening. Or at 07:27 on Thursday. Much less three months later on a drizzly December evening. And yet those ten films will be locked in for ten years online (and maybe in print) and people will think they have a window into my mind when they don't.

But then again maybe I'm full of shit because ...

The one thing that had the most meaning to me happened when I was a young-un just starting out. Met a young woman at a west-side party and showed up at her Hollywood Hills townhouse. She was a development exec and I was killing time while she was getting dressed. Had a shelf of 15 screenplays. She came out and saw me starting to browse and said those were her favorites of all time. I thumbed through and saw my not-yet-produced screenplay next to Chinatown.

Fuck.

She only knew my first name from the party and didn't connect that I was the same Walter who had written one of her Top 15.

To this day... even after noms and awards... that's the only poll that has ever mattered to me.

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furbicide
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:52 am

Re: Sight & Sound

#824 Post by furbicide » Mon Mar 06, 2023 9:20 pm

Walter Kurtz wrote:
Mon Mar 06, 2023 12:01 pm
Aumont: this referendum is "useless and absurd". He got that right.

Unless you really do care what a friend of your friend's friend who is an assistant to the assistant professor in charge of assisting other professors at Southeastern West Anglia Junior College thinks is "awesome" and once even saw as film that was released as far back as 1952.
That person you're dismissively caricaturing probably loves cinema, has watched a lot of films in their life, and has developed their own specific passions in that realm that are every bit as legitimate as yours, mine or an internationally renowned film critic whose name you do know. If the mission was getting a snapshot of the titles that film critics, academics and directors revere, and then casting that net as widely as possible to take in all the assistant assistant junior professors (or whatever), then I think that's an interesting exercise and likely more representative of contemporary cinephilia than a more restrictive poll would have been.

It goes without saying that your views on this will tend to depend on how you feel about canons as a concept. Ultimately the young woman you met had her own personal canon of favourite screenplays, and the inclusion of your work in that meant something to you – more than the immediate ego boost of finding out that a new friend appreciates your work, it showed you that the film hadn't been lost to time but was still cherished and considered important. I'm not sure that any of us can truly extricate ourselves from that kind of engagement with cinema: an essential part of our appreciation of the artform is the fact that we value some works more than others, because they move us, impress us, leave us awestruck; if that capacity didn't exist, it would mean our engagement with the artform was neutral and, presumably, totally apathetic. (Hence why I can give you my top ten favourite films, but not my top ten videogames; I'm not sufficiently educated about or invested in games to have even thought about them in that way.)

The fact that these top tens are snapshots and shift over time doesn't diminish their value. It's like saying a census is pointless because a country's population changes every minute and it'll be out of date long before it's published. But that doesn't matter, because we got an insight into that brief window of time, and we have something to derive information from and chart the movement of across decades – just as the 2032 S&S poll will tell us something different from what the 2022 poll told us, both in terms of the full results and the individual ballots. Nobody can force you to be interested in that, but personally I don't see the exercise as being silly or inconsequential. It's just another window into looking at films and thinking about what matters about them.

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Re: Sight & Sound

#825 Post by pistolwink » Mon Mar 06, 2023 10:09 pm

It's fine to dislike polls — a lot of well-known film critics, scholars, and filmmakers do, and refuse to participate in them — but with some regularity there's a thinkpiece or blog post or article that alleges the supposed evils of polls — e.g. this piece by Elena Gorfinkel from Another Gaze. This kind of thing usually seems performative to me, more about the writers' desire to be above-it-all rather than mounting a particularly credible account of the harms of list-making.

The Sight & Sound poll is really what you make it: you can take it seriously as a measure of "the best," as a barometer of shifts in critical taste... and/or you can spend hours looking over individual ballots to find films and filmmakers you didn't know about or perhaps forgot. Among those are plenty of films and filmmakers in the (formerly?) ignored or benighted categories Gorfinkel claims to champion.

There's a whole 'nother problem I find with articles like Gorfinkel's, which is that as a teacher of film, she's almost certainly more invested than she claims in film's place in culture, and in the inculcation of certain regimes of taste to her students, even as she claims otherwise (a privilege afforded her, I think, by the fact that other people have done a lot of the sifting and sorting she and every other teacher take for granted). What is a screening list for a film class if not a list, albeit one with a particular purpose?

There's probably a surfeit of polls in the internet era, but there's a surfeit of every form of discourse in the internet era! Tedium reigns everywhere. (See e.g. this forum.)

That said, if I have a objection to lists, it's ones like this one from Slate, the "New Black Film Canon." The problem isn't the supposed purpose (although list-haters would object to its "definitive"-sounding title) but the facts that:
  • The list features almost no African films and very few films before the last 30–40 years. It overwhelmingly comprises relatively recent films by African-American directors.
  • Even worse (and not coincidentally), the editors seem to have decided that only films currently available on streaming were suitable for the list. Giving this sort of priority to an ephemeral "availability" means huge realms of cinema and many important/incredible/underappreciated films—some of whom I have no doubt the contributors brought up—were left off. (Maybe they should have just titled the list "75 great Black films to stream now.")
By comparison, the Sight & Sound poll is fully open -- tons of stuff that's "not available" by the usual standards. (Although obviously the films with lots of votes tend to be those that have been widely available, for a long time or sometimes just in the last few years.)

I'd add that all things pass in time, and it won't be long before 99.9% of the movies on this or any other list (not to mention all of us as indivduals) are almost completely forgotten, so the wish to "decenter" feature films or films in general in moving-image culture will be granted soon enough....

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