Sight and Sound poll

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Sight and Sound poll

Postby john-5 » Fri Aug 16, 2002 3:39 pm

Here's the result of the new Sight and Sound poll of international critics and directors (about half the critics and a clear majority of directors were from Britain and America, so it was quite anglicised. Africa, South America, eastern Europe and Arabic countries were still under-represented).


1. Citizen Kane (now there's a surprise!)
2. Vertigo
3. La Regle du Jeu
4. The Godfather 1&2
5. Tokyo Story
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey
7. Battleship Potemkin
9. 8 1/2
10. Singin' in the Rain
(11= Seven Samurai, the Searchers)


1. Citizen Kane
2. The Godfather 1 &2
3. 8 1/2
4. Lawrence of Arabia
5. Dr Strangelove
6. Bicycle Thieves
Raging Bull
9. Rashomon
La Regle du Jeu
Seven Samurai

My favourites:

1. Sansho the Bailiff
2. Sunrise
3. Paris Texas
4. Andrei Rublev
5. North by North West
6. Alice in the Cities
7. 2001:A Space Odyssey
8. The Green Ray
9. Maborosi
10= Seven Samurai
Some Like it Hot
Letter from an Unknown Woman
(also; Abraham Valley,
La Regle du Jeu
Tokyo Story
The Colour of Pomegranates
Tales of the Taira Clan
The Band Wagon).

Re: Sight and Sound poll

Postby bjornam » Mon Aug 19, 2002 5:34 pm


I read through the web pages of this poll at Sight and Sound, and what strikes me as interesting is that Citizen Kane is certainly the most mentioned film among the critics and directors - however; very few of them holds it as their favourite. A larger number holds "Andrei Roublev" or even "The Battle of Algiers" as a favourite. But then, C.K. is more widely seen.

Ahem, my own list.. (as of today):
1 - Andrei Roublev, Tarkovsky
2 - Mirror, Tarkovsky
3 - Winter Light, Bergman
4 - Beau Travail, Denis
5 - Legend of Suram Fortress, Paradjanov
6 - La Dolce Vita, Fellini
7 - Hidden Fortress, Kurosawa
8 - A Man Escaped, Bresson
9 - In the Mood for Love, Kar-Wai
10 - The Hunt, Löken

Re: Sight and Sound poll

Postby wvq » Sun Sep 15, 2002 8:56 pm

Wow, those Sight and Sound lists are boring. Sure, all the films are good, but the majority of them just don't jump out at me as indisputably great, with Sunrise, Vertigo, 2001, and Tokyo Story being the obvious exceptions. I really don't know what 8 1/2, Singin' in the Rain, and The Godfather movies are doing on that list; and I have a pretty big problem with the inclusion of Potemkin as well.

Also, what happened to The Passion of Joan of Arc? I guess I can forgive its exclusion, since (1) Sunrise was included this time around, and (2) it's not Dreyer's best. Still, can anyone seriously dispute that it's a greater film than, say, 8 1/2?

I thought there might also be a chance that a Bresson would show up on this list, with the recent international retrospective of his work and all the recent hype (at least among cineastes) surrounding it. I suppose the problem might be that he has no single established masterpiece, and therefore his votes get distributed among several films.

I don't really know where all this grousing is going, but it seems this list could have been a lot more interesting than it is. I suppose this is why one ought to focus instead on the lists of individual critics or filmmakers whose taste you consider particularly good.

That said, and my taste being particularly good (at least as far as I'm concerned), here's my alternate top ten (in boring alphabetical order):

Distant Voices/Still Lives
The Life of Oharu
The Magnificent Ambersons
The Man with the Movie Camera
Los Olvidados
Tokyo Story
Les Vampires

Note that I've implicitly limited myself to one film per director. And if you really pressed me to for a preferential ordering:

1. Ordet
2. M
3. Tokyo Story
4. Distant Voices/Still Lives
5. The Magnificent Ambersons
6. Les Vampires
7. The Life of Oharu
8. Los Olvidados
9. Stalker
10. The Man with the Movie Camera

And, finally, some painful omissions (in alphabetical order): A Day in the Country, Greed, Kuhle Wampe, The Night of the Hunter, Scarface (1932), and Umberto D.


Re: Sight and Sound poll

Postby john-5 » Mon Sep 16, 2002 4:57 am

Bresson did o.k.; Au Hasard Balthazar and A Man Escaped had quite a few votes. Dreyer, too. I did suggest that S&S publish the top 100, as the very top films are well-known enough, whereas the lower reaches would throw up some interesting titles that deserve greater publicity. Still, the full lists and results should still be on the BFI website. I was particularly disappointed that Mizoguchi (who was just outside the top 10 directors with critics) barely registered with English-speaking directors. I don't think a single American director picked one of his films. In fact the directors involved were hardly the great names of international cinema; far too many 3rd rate and has-been U.K and USA participants. Sight and Sound told me they'd welcome my list of suggestions for directors to include, then ignored it.

So i'm trying to conduct my own little poll of top cinephiles in numerous neglected countries to get a more genuine world view. Though i've had 17 replies in 10 countries so far, i'll need a lot more to make a meaningful result. Still, i've already learned more about Arabic films and taste.

Re: Sight and Sound poll

Postby gimferrer » Wed Sep 18, 2002 11:42 am

ok. my list today maybe tomorrow I will change it:

1. The Bycicle Thieves
2. Once Upon A Time In America
3. Sansho Dayu or "8 1/2" by Fellini
4. Wild Strawberries
5. Talk To Her
6. Apocalypse Now
7. Eloge de l'Amour
8. North By Northwest
9. 400 Blows
10. El Sur
11. Full Metal Jacket
12. Blood Simple
13. A Bout De Souffle
14. Ran or Kagemusha
15. Amores Perros or "Y Tu Mama Tambien"
16. Sex and Lucia or Vacas
17. Magnolia or Boogie Nights
18. L'Age d'Or or Un Chien Andaluz
19. All About Eve
20. The Straight Story
21. The Fight Club
22. El Faro Del Sur
23. In The Mood For Love

Re: Sight and Sound poll

Postby gimferrer » Sun Sep 22, 2002 9:08 am

Blimey I haven't mentioned Citizen Kane and Vertigo or any of Hichcocks films! I need to do the list again!

Re: Sight and Sound poll

Postby admin-2 » Wed Oct 16, 2002 2:51 pm

1/ CITIZEN KANE (Orson Welles, USA, 1941) - The only movie I have seen where I couldn't imagine it one single frame shorter. Absolute perfection!

2/ RULES OF THE GAME (Jean Renoir, France, 1939) - I can imagine this one longer (how about those 15 missing minutes...someone HAS to have a full print). Both funny and profound, the film is the greatest achievement of the most humane filmmaker ever.

3/ THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (Michael Powell, England, 1943) I could probably make a whole Top 10 list of Powell films, but this is his best. Also happens to be the best propaganda film of all time (take that Riefenstahl!).

4/ VIRIDIANA (Luis Buñuel, Spain, 1961) Vicious, take-no-prisoners attack on the church and fascism. I have images from this film burned into my brain.

5/ CRIES AND WHISPERS (Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1972) The first Bergman film I ever saw (I was 12). I watch it at least once a year. Tough, uncompromising and visually breathtaking.

6/ BARRY LYNDON (Stanley Kubrick, USA/UK, 1975) Not my favourite Kubrick (that would be THE KILLING and LOLITA), but I can't find anything wrong with this film and that includes Ryan O'Neal's performance!

7/ VERTIGO (Alfred Hitchcock, USA, 1958) This film makes my flesh crawl, but I am perversely attracted to it. Necrophilia was never sexier and Stewart and Novak were never better.

8/ The LIVING DEAD trilogy (George A. Romero, USA, 1968, 1979, 1985) With the hiring of an African American lead for NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968), Romero was praised for his "progressive" politics. In the films two sequels (DAWN (1979) and DAY (1985) OF THE DEAD), his real politics came through. these films pro-feminist, pro-gay, anti-consumeristand anti-militarist. They are also horrific, profound and downright funny! The best "genre" filmmaker of the '60's, '70's and '80's.

9/ F FOR FAKE (Orson Welles, USA, 1973) The Best Documentary ever made. Welles does for the Documentary form what he did for the fiction film. Visually daring and edited to within an inch of its life (did Oliver Stone see this film before he shot NATURAL BORN KILLERS), the film also has one of Michel Legrand's best scores and Welles gives his last great "performance"

10/ MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER (Robert Altman, USA, 1971) & THE SEARCHERS (John Ford, USA, 1956) The best antiwestern (MCCABE...) and western (SEARCHERS) ever made.

Re: Sight and Sound poll

Postby wvq » Fri Nov 01, 2002 8:41 pm

Finally, we've got someone else who puts Romero up there where he belongs. (Ok, I don't really think he belongs that high up there in the pantheon, but I'm not going to fault you for pushing the envelope a little. How else can you urge people to give this stuff serious attention?)

It annoys me that thrilling and damn smart genre filmmaking like his gets such short shrift. I'd go off on some rant here about how contemporary "independent" filmmaking in the U.S. is well-nigh worthless, but I doubt anyone wants to hear it. I sure know I don't want to write more about that sorry state of affairs.

Having registered my approval, I'll just point out now that I actually think Martin is his greatest achievement (although if, like you, I was willing to treat the Living Dead Trilogy as a single film, I'm not sure I'd still be of that opinion). I wrote a gushing, all-over-the-place appreciation in another thread on this board, so I'll spare you all a second futile attempt to articulate just what I think about it. Still, if you haven't seen it, you should. (Your enthusiasm for the Living Dead Trilogy, though, suggests to me that you've already tracked it down. If you haven't, you've been remiss.)

You know, looking back at this post now, I doubt I've said much of consequence. So be it: there's nothing wrong with simply expressing one's enthusiasm now and again.

Re: Sight and Sound poll

Postby wvq » Wed Nov 06, 2002 2:01 am

Now, now, now, everyone knows that Kuhle Wampe is the greatest propaganda film of all time. (Of course, I've only seen the horribly slashed and duped and chronologically re-ordered (Why?) version of Colonel Blimp that's available on commercial VHS here in the U.S. I think the Criterion DVD should be out now, and of course I'm looking for it.)

Maybe somebody should start a discussion about politics in the cinema on one of these boards. It might be interesting. There's got to be a lot to say about the political aspects of an art whose first acknowledged masterpiece is a glorified recruitment film for the KKK and whose greatest all-time blockbuster is a paean to Old South slavery and aristocracy. Needless to say, it's going to take a lot more than the occasional Godard or Fassbinder or Oshima to expiate the sins of our cinematic forebears.

Re: Sight and Sound poll

Postby john-5 » Wed Nov 06, 2002 4:44 pm

Another German film from the same period as Kuhle Wampe with an anti-authoritarian slant that's well worth seeing is Madchen in Uniform (1931, directed by Leontine Sagan). A touching tale set in a girls' boarding school, with one of the girls falling for a tender, beautiful teacher. Needless to say, it didn't meet with the Nazis' approval. I'll second Mr West's recommendation.


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