Reactions on the new Sight and Sound Poll 2012

Having been most of my writing and “blogging” time on my hosted poll of the Most Influential Directors of all time, I almost forgot to react on the new Sight and Sound list. Back in 2002, I was discovering most of the films on the list back then. The list looked like that below:

Critic’s list
1. Citizen Kane
2. Vertigo
3. La Règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game)
4. The Godfather and The Godfather Part II
5. Tokyo Story
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey
7. Battleship Potemkin
7. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
10. Singin' in the Rain

Director’s list

1. Citizen Kane
2. The Godfather and The Godfather Part II
4. Lawrence of Arabia
5. Dr. Strangelove
6. Bicycle Thieves
6. Raging Bull
6. Vertigo
9. Rashomon
9. La Règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game)
9. Seven Samurai

If I remember correctly I only could have checked Citizen Kane. Kane being a mandatory film to watch and analyze in my College Film class, I was happy to have seen the “best” film of all time. Nowadays, the meaning of this has changed for me, as much as I love Citizen Kane, it is one of the most important films and probably one of Welles greatest. But I think good old Orson made as great and even greater films later in his career. Of the few who love The Trial, I personally think that it is his greatest film just like he always argued with Peter Bogdanovich, it was his favourite of his own films. Look at The Magnificent Ambersons, Touch of Evil, Othello, and Lady From Shanghai just to name a few of his masterpieces. Citizen Kane is a film canon and it represents a lot more than just a simple film about the meaning of Rosebud. It is everything around it that gives it a special glow. The making, the greatness of it, the almost destruction and banning, Hearst’s fury, etc. For a movie what’s not to like about it? It was the birth of a giant.

2012’s Results
With the new list, the biggest issue is about the crowning of Vertigo and the second place of Citizen Kane. It is quite clear that the statement of Roger Ebert towards Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological drama had a serious impact. Even if this great movie is now widely acclaimed after its struggle at the time it came out and its reinstalment by Les Cahiers du Cinema, François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, Eric Rohmer, and Jean-Luc Godard were its greatest defenders. Sometimes, we have to pick a director’s film to represent its work, in this case they cannot be more wrong. Vertigo is probably Hitchcock’s most unHitchcockian film and as much as I love and admire this work, a film like Rear Window or Psycho can easily top the quality of Vertigo and they are more personal work for the filmmaker. It is interesting because it is a question of lobbying that determined the new number one.

Critics’ list
1. Vertigo
2. Citizen Kane
3. Tokyo Story
4. La Règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game)
5. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey
7. The Searchers
8. Man with a Movie Camera
9. The Passion of Joan of Arc

Directors’ list
1. Tokyo Story
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey
2. Citizen Kane
5. Taxi Driver
6. Apocalypse Now
7. The Godfather
7. Vertigo
9. Mirror
10. Bicycle Thieves

The parallel director’s list, which first appeared in 1992, sacred Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story as the greatest film of all time. Personally, it is a more interesting pick. Ozu’s films have a linear quality, and his 1953 masterpiece revolves around a family and studies the clash of generations and the understanding of the eldest and the egotism of the youth. Ozu was a great wise and his films are a reflection of this depth.

The most interesting part of this poll is the top 50 films selected and the individual lists. They reflect how each appreciate and live their film experiences.

Top 50
Let’s have a look at the Top 50 and discuss some of the different entries:

1. Vertigo

2. Citizen Kane

3. Tokyo Story

4. La Règle du Jeu aka The Rules of the Game

5. Sunrise

6. 2001: A Space Odyssey

7. The Searchers

8. Man With A Movie Camera
Dziga Vertov’s entry is one of the biggest surprise. It is indeed a great documentary on filmmaking.

9. The Passion of Joan of Arc

10. 8 ½
11. Battleship Potemkin
12. L’Atalante

13. Breathless

14. Apocalypse Now

15. Late Spring

16. Au hasard Balthazar

17= Seven Samurai

17= Persona

19. Mirror 

20. Singin’ in the Rain
Kicked out of the top 10, the Gene Kelly/Stanley Donen musical had a huge drop and this severe setback might be explained by the lack of popularity of musicals in the latest years. Many film critics asked to pull out a film mostly choose this film.

21= L’avventura

21= Le Mépris

21= The Godfather

24= Ordet

24= In the Mood for Love
The second more recent film of the list from Wong Kar-Wai hasn’t finished to be praised by critics and film lovers from around the world.

26= Rashomon

26= Andrei Rublev

28. Mulholland Dr.
David Lynch’s masterpiece is the most recent movie listed in the Top 50. It surely deserves to be here along the greatest films of all time.

29= Stalker
Another film high on my list to watch

29= Shoah
One of the few films this writer haven’t seen yet. Claude Lanzmann’s five hour long drama on the horror of the Holocaust still has its impact and importance.

31= The Godfather Part II
The greatest sequel of all time deserves to be here as much as the original The Godfather movie.

31= Taxi Driver
Yours truly’s favourite film of all time.

33. Bicycle Thieves
The masterpiece of the Italian Neorealist Cinema.

34. The General
Since a couple of years, Buster Keaton is a comedian that seems to be back in fashion more and more a the expense of Chaplin’s popularity. The Great Stone Face clearly deserves all the praise he receives.

35= Metropolis
The inventor of Science Fiction. One of Fritz Lang’s greatest achievements.

35= Psycho

35= Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles
Another film high on my list to watch. The only film directed by a woman on the list. Chantal Akerman.

35= Sátántangó
I still haven’t seen Bela Tarr’s much praise 7 hour long film.

39= The 400 Blows

39= La dolce vita

41. Journey to Italy

42= Pather Panchali

42= Some Like It Hot
Always fresh to have comedies on serious lists like this one. Billy Wilder’s touch isn’t Ernst Lubitsch but still delicious.

42= Gertrud
Not my favourite Dreyer but still a near-perfect mise en scène by the Dane.

42= Pierrot le fou
My favourite Godard film.

42= Play Time
Tati’s wonderful take on modern times and the evolution of our cities. A masterpiece.

42= Close-Up
Still haven’t seen Abbas Kiarostami’s film.

48= The Battle of Algiers

48= Histoire(s) du cinema
Jean-Luc Godard’s fifth entry in the Top 50. Despite having a title in the Top 10 he is listed more times than most directors. It demonstrates how important Godard’s Cinema has been prominent and game changing.

50= City Lights

50= Ugetsu monogatari

50= La Jetée

So What Do You Think of the New List? What are your reactions?

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