Aug 3, 2012

Between silent scorn and a hard place

I have been dragging my feet about commenting on the new Sight and Sound poll but here it is, unignorable. 
1. “Vertigo” 
2. “Citizen Kane”  
3. “Tokyo Story” 
4. “La Regle du jeu” 
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” 
10. “8 1/2″
Obviously I'm pleased that Hitchcock has supplanted Welles's cold marvel, although there at least three Hitchcock films I would rather they had chosen (Notorious, Rear Window, North by Northwest). Vertigo has always struck me as the Hitchcock film for those who don't really like Hitchcock all that much (it's long, hasn't got much in the way of jokes and the plot doesn't work, when he is known for his economy, wit and storytelling), or at the least wish very much that he had been French. I'm a little bit pleased to see The Godfather knocked out, finding that film's all conquering supremacy — over Chinatown? Badlands? — undeserved.  I'm surprised to see Sunrise still holding strong and appalled to see 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick's worst film, anywhere near the top ten. But then the whole thing strikes me as a list coming from an airless parallel universe populated only by critics (Man With the Movie Camera?) but bearing zero resemblance to the fond, messy space with badly-put-up bookshelves, To Do Lists and ironing occupied by everyone else. No musicals, no comedies, no Chaplin, no Wilder, no Truffaut, no Lynch, no Spielberg, no Malick, nothing besides crummy Kubrick from the last half century of film, for crying out loud.... doh! I can't believe I did this. I engaged. When silent scorn was almost mine. 


  1. I have managed to engage no more than a distant shrug.

  2. If I have a favorite genre, it's musicals - and I absolutely hate the fact that they seem to have fallen out of critical favor over the years.

    However, "Man with a Movie Camera" is one of the most playful, inventive, and fun movies I've ever seen - it hardly seems like the right film to pick on when criticizing the list for its airlessness or its seriousness.

  3. In other words, the list doesn't agree with my tastes, therefore it's invalid. Much worse than a list where 2001 is Kubrick's worst film, Badlands better than Godfather...