Thursday, September 13, 2012

Top 10, of sorts (scrapped Sight and Sound post)

From the ashes of my scrapped Sight and Sound reaction I produced a Top 10 of the films I return to the most, for whatever reason: childhood nostalgia, fascination, introducing them to friends, or pure joy. The results were interesting. I can't say all of these are my favorite films, but then again, maybe they are.

Alone. Life Wastes Andy Hardy (Martin Arnold / 1998)
An American in Paris (Vincente Minnelli / 1951)
The Cameraman (Buster Keaton, Ed Sedgwick / 1928)
The Case of the Grinning Cat (Chris Marker / 2004)
Dune (David Lynch / 1984)
Gangs of New York (Martin Scorsese / 2002)
Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray / 1954)
Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg / 1993)
The Life Aquatic (Wes Anderson / 2004)
Videodrome (David Cronenberg / 1983)

I'm perturbed that these are all white male directors, which complicates my own relationship to the prevailing narratives of cinema as a masculine mode of expression. But these films exist outside of my critical analysis. This is not meant to abrogate responsibility, but rather that this is something I have to consider within myself, as opposed to casting critical stones at others. Furthermore, I attempted to draft a list of my personal top 100 films, something I've never before articulated. It may eventually get posted.

Also two of my favorite blogs have posted Sight and Sound reactions: The Tarpeian Rock and The Long Voyage Home.


  1. I was similarly annoyed when my selection of filmmaker ballots from the S&S poll turned out to be exclusively men. None of the most interesting directors who happen to be women -- Claire Denis, Chantal Akerman, Nina Menkes, Su Friedrich, Lynne Ramsay, Lucrecia Martel, Agnes Varda, Barbara Kopple, etc -- participated. (Maybe they weren't even asked.)

    I must say your above selection is an unexpected group of films! LIFE AQUATIC is my favorite Anderson as well.

  2. Thanks for the link.

    I LOVE Gangs of New York too, it's probably my favorite Scorsese--when I saw The Dark Knight Rises in theaters I kept thinking that I really wish I was watching that film.

  3. Tyler: I also found it interesting that one of the searchable categories on the Sight and Sound pages was the gender of the contributor. And I was equally surprised by my own selection, particularly the Marker, I much prefer Sans Soliel or The Last Bolshevik, but for whatever reason, I've watched Case of the Grinning Cat so many more times. And Anderson isn't someone I'd consider a favorite filmmaker at all, but something about Life Aquatic struck me on a gut level when I saw it in theaters.

    What I found interesting about this whole process was that there are basically two types of films that I love, those I return to over and over in this post, and those I've only seen once or maybe twice but have stayed with me over years and years. Most of my favorite directors who are women fall into the second category, Akerman, Breillat, Denis etc.

    1. Anderson isn't a favorite filmmaker of mine either, but I respect what he does and find most of his films to be enjoyable, which is more than I can say for most of the filmmakers whose movies end up playing closer than 45 minutes away from my house.

      I didn't even notice the gender search category on the S&S poll; I'll have to check it out. An interesting choice for a filter indeed.

    2. I'm on the same page there. I own most of his movies and find them delightful. Aquatic had something messy and palpable that made it more engaging on an emotional level for me. He has some misses, but I really loved Moonrise Kingdom and I sort of feel that may be his best film to date.

  4. Peter: Gangs of New York was the first film I paid to see multiple times in theaters (3 times) and I've loved it ever since. When I saw TDKR in theaters I wished I was watching anything else. Also, I really enjoyed your post on its structures.