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Thread: 2022 Sight & Sound Poll

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    2022 Sight & Sound Poll

    In November, the British Film Institute's Sight & Sound magazine will publish the results of the 2022 Poll of "The Greatest Films of All Time". I joined this forum twenty years ago, when the 2002 poll was published. It's interesting to consider how my engagement with cinema has changed. It has deepened in ways I could not have anticipated. Film appreciation also changes with the times. The poll provides evidence of that transformation. For instance, I wonder which films that were then not available or accessible will be recognized in 2022. I am curious to learn how certain films lose or gain in the estimation of people who have a made cinema a career or a sustaining passion. This thread is intended to provide a space to present our would-be ballots, and to discuss the films that matter the most in anticipation of the publication of the official poll in three months.

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    The importance of the B.F.I./Sight & Sound poll cannot be overestimated. I remember being a teenage cinephile in the 1970s, thinking about all the masterpieces that had been produced since the inception of the "7th art" in the 1890s, and wishing to have the opportunity to watch them and experience them properly. I remember using the 1972 poll as a guide to the films I had to experience someday. I was also using the lists of Hollywood films included at the end of the book "The American Cinema" by Andrew Sarris, but it was the international perspective of the Sight & Sound poll that I favored. The posting of the poll in 2022 constitutes an opportunity to identify and examine the films that have had the greatest impact, the films one wishes to honor and appreciate. Ten films, only ten out of thousands and thousands over the course of a lifetime.

    My tendency is to leave out films that have already established their significance and excellence. I'd be inclined to leave out movies that placed in the top 80 (or so) in previous polls. Here's a quick list of films that I love but would not get a vote because they have achieved worldwide notoriety: Orson Welles' Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, various Alfred Hitchcock films, John Ford's The Searchers, Ozu's Late Spring and Tokyo Story, Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu and Sansho Dayu, French classics The Rules of the Game, La Jetee, The 400 Blows, and Au hasard Balthazar, my favorite silents Man with a Movie Camera and City Lights. These films are already "enshrined", deservedly so.

    My hope is that this thread creates anticipation for the upcoming poll and elicits thoughts about the films that matter the most to you, dear readers of this forum.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 08-14-2022 at 08:51 PM.

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    Don't quite see the point of putting up in August a thread for a poll that comes out in November. Surely you meant to say 'the importance of the BFI Sight & Sound poll cannot be overestimated'? I get that those films you list are universally acknowledged to be classics. Still one's favorites are one's favorites, regardless of their status. I love Bach and Beethoven. Others do too; that's okay.

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    I edited the post to change the wording as you pointed out. Thanks Chris. I hope the thread awakens interest in the upcoming poll and elicits thoughts about the films readers value most. I plan to identify the ten films that would get my vote, and say something concise about them. I will probably do that one film at a time, unranked.

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    The Awful Truth (1937/Columbia Pictures)

    My favorite of the remarriage comedies identified by Stanley Cavell as reflections on Emersonian morality (The Philadelphia Story may be the most popular). This subgenre established a moral outlook that contrasts with Victorian morality and Kantian notions of duty.The Awful Truth is a demonstration of the cinematic jazz that may be achieved dramatically through improvisation and collaboration between director and cast. Leo McCarey won his first Oscar for Direction by helping Archie Leach create “Cary Grant” and defining “talkie” chemistry in the repartee between Grant and Irene Dunne. Even though several talented writers "worked" on the script, including Dorothy Parker and Viña Delmar, their efforts were ultimately tossed out. The Awful Truth transcends the difference between low and high art: “screwball” or “slapstick” elements are put in the service of a profound investigation on the conditions and attitudes necessary for marriage to be worthwhile.

    The Awful Truth received a few votes in 2012 but not enough to be in the top 100. Director Whit Stillman (Love & Friendship) and critic Molly Haskell (Mrs. Andrew Sarris) put the film in their all-time Top 10.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 08-17-2022 at 10:25 PM.

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    Sounds treat except "Kantian notions of duty" sounds pretty weird in this context, slipped in from the postmodern academe world no doubt. Or maybe I just should have taken an Ethics course. Google explained anyway: "Kantian duty-based ethics says that some things should never be done, no matter what good consequences they produce. " But we're also supposed to know about Stenley Cavell, so I guess we have to take your film course.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 08-17-2022 at 10:41 PM.

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    It's so easy nowadays to access the writings and lectures of Stanley Cavell and have a magnificent adventure in thinking.
    His book about the ontology of film is titled "The World Viewed", his melodrama book is titled "Contesting Tears" and his comedy book that has a chapter about "The Awful Truth" is titled "Pursuits of Happiness".
    Youtube has an interview of Cavell conducted at UCBerkeley that explains the philosophical perspective on film. It's titled "Conversations with History".
    "The Awful Truth" is a comedy about second chances. It is about transcending skepticism about marriage as a preferred location for a pursuit of happiness. I will return to the topic later in this thread since another film in my top 10 all-time is a 21st century example of the same genre.

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    Thanks for this. I remembered the name but didn't realize how rare it was for a philosopher to write three substantial books about film. I watched some interesting interviews. Unfortunately the work itself seems to lose touch with the experience of filmmaking and film watching in the abstractions and for me at least is not the "adventure in thinking" you find.

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    Cría Cuervos (Carlos Saura/1976)

    Carlos Saura was already an established auteur when he wrote and directed Cría. He won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlinale in 1966 (The Hunt) and 1968 (Peppermint Frappé). He won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 1973 (La prima Angélica). Cría Cuervos premiered at Cannes in 1976 and won the Jury Prize. Saura was inspired by 1) “Porque te Vas” a 2-year-old pop song with a peppy beat that contrasts with lyrics about estrangement and loss, 2) Ana Torrent’s performance in Victor Erice’s The Spirit of the Beehive, and 3) His desire to explore the character of a child with murder in mind. Cría Cuervos means “raise ravens” and refers to the proverb: “Raise ravens and they will gouge your eyes”. Cría Cuervos shares with Michael Haneke’s “The White Ribbon” a concern for the inheritance of fascism. Perhaps the most praiseworthy aspect of the film is how it maintains a delicate balance between 1) scenes set in the recent past, 2) scenes set in the present where sometimes the mise-en-scene exists only in the mind of the 8 year-old Anna (Torrent), and 3) flashforwards set two decades later in which Charlie Chaplin’s daughter Geraldine incarnates the adult Ana looking back at her tumultuous childhood. It’s a movie about the past, present and future of Spain (among other things). Torrent’s performance here is my favorite performance by a child in the history of cinema.

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