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Darren H

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Everything posted by Darren H

  1. It probably feels so strange because we're all living through a massive shift in consciousness regarding gender fluidity. At least in my corner of the film world, the Wachowskis are only referred to as women named Lana and Lilly, so I assume including them on a list of women filmmakers would only cause controversy among conservative (in all senses of the word) audiences. I don't particulary care. But I know my stance on this question might be more firm than others'. Whether a film should be categorized by the gender of its director is a legitimate question, as is the "auteur" issue, more generally. I believe it's important in 2020 to advocate for women filmmakers/artists/creators of all types because it will require collective action to set right an industry that has been out of balance for its entire existence. Your hypothetical about Dreyer doesn't, to my mind, affect the larger question at all. If such a reel were discovered, it would generate a fascinating discussion among critics, historians, artists, scholars, and activists, and I suspect some consensus would gradually form. Once we reached consensus about how to gender Dreyer, it wouldn't be a sign that the gender question no longer matters. Just the opposite, I think. I know of at least one early-20th century artist who is referred to with non-binary pronouns based on some comments they left in their memoir. I imagine we'll see more of that in the coming years.
  2. Lynch and Frost always knew who the killer was, and once the mystery is revealed it's impossible to imagine the show with any other murderer. The particular crime is the point of the show. When they told the actor, Lynch said, "It was you. It was always you." Ken, the reboot of Battlestar Galactica is my version of how you describe JJ Abrams -- a story with a pretty good beginning and end and several seasons of occasionally enjoyable "let's try out this idea" in between. Twin Peaks ain't that. After spending so much time with Lynch over the past 15 years, I think the main storyline of Twin Peaks and the episodes Lynch himself directs are coherent. There are fascinating fan theories that tie together every loose thread in ways that would make the greatest Joyce scholars proud! If you throw in Fire Walk with Me and The Return, it definitely has a well-designed shape, though one that isn't immediately apparent. Btw, I won't vouch for most of season 2, which Lynch had little involvement with, but if you stick with the show, be sure to watch the episodes he directed, in particular the reveal episode and the finale. I think it's fair to say that Lynch is the true author of the formal style of everything he directs, regardless of the cinematographer and editor, and I think that's more true of Lynch than most auteurs.
  3. Yeah, this one is tough too. The lack of experimental films on the list makes me lean toward The Tree of Life, which is a wonderfully strange movie. On the other hand, Fani in A Hidden Life is more interesting to me than any of the men in either film. Even as a middle-aged white guy, I'm getting a bit bored with stories about middle-aged white guy ennui and nostalgia.
  4. I'm with you on Bresson and Murnau, Ken, and for similar reasons. The two I'm really struggling with are Dreyer and the Dardennes. At the beginning of this process, I said The Son seemed like the right choice for the top spot, but as we've discussed diversity issues, I'm now leaning toward The Kid with a Bike. It's my favorite of their films, and I like the idea of choosing one with a female protagonist. The Son is one of the few films they've made without any women at the center.
  5. Deadline: Friday, May 22 at 11:59 PM (Eastern) Voting is now live for the second round. Ken had hoped for a quick turnaround but we agreed it might be nice to allow everyone a few days to catch up with some films. (I'm planning to watch the two I've never seen.) Here are the instructions. - - - The film that gets more votes in each pairing will represent that director in the top 100. You are required to make a selection for each of the 18 pairs. Pick one of the two films or choose "abstain." Please use "abstain" at your own discretion: if you haven't seen either film, if you've seen only one film but don't feel compelled to advocate for it, or if you've seen both films but prefer to allow other voters to decide. NOTE: Each pair is listed in the order of their original ranking. For example, The Seventh Seal was #31 and Through a Glass Darkly was #52. - - - In other words, if you choose to not vote at all, or if you abstain on any of the races, you are essentially allowing the rest of us to decide. On Saturday morning, winners will be determined by a simple vote count. If Ordet gets 8 votes, Passion gets 7, 5 people abstain, and 4 people don't vote at all, Ordet wins 8-7. https://form.jotform.com/201376446291052
  6. I read Ken's and Joel's comments as suggesting that we should allow people who have only seen one of the films to choose to vote for it.
  7. Okay, then I'll create a simple poll that lists each of the pairings and then requires voters to choose one of three options, including "No vote" for people who haven't seen either film. For example: 1. Ordet or The Passion of Joan of Arc Ordet The Passion of Joan of Arc No vote Sound good? Out of curiosity, I looked at the number of votes each of the 36 films received in round 1. Only two or three of the round 2 outcomes seem to be more or less predetermined. Ordet - 22 The Passion of Joan of Arc - 23 Andrei Rublev - 23 Stalker - 19 A Hidden Life - 19 Tree of Life - 24 The Son - 19 The Kid With a Bike - 22 Ikiru - 21 Red Beard - 11 A Man Escaped - 18 Diary of a Country Priest - 19 The Flowers of St. Francis - 15 Rome, Open City - 15 Faust - 12 Sunrise - 21 My Night at Maud's - 11 A Tale of Winter - 5 The Seventh Seal - 24 Through a Glass Darkly - 18 Close Up - 15 Where is My Friend's House? - 13 The Gleaners & I - 17 Cleo from 5 to 7 - 14 My Neighbor Totoro - 19 Spirited Away - 23 35 Shots of Rum - 13 Beau Travail - 15 Late Spring - 17 Tokyo Story - 21 Pather Panchali - 18 The Music Room - 7 The Wrong Man - 13 Vertigo - 23 Wings of Desire - 23 Paris, Texas - 20
  8. I haven't seen Laggies, but as a quick aside . . . I've listened to almost every episode of Marc Maron's podcast for the past decade. He's become a kind of companion in my life -- two hours of his voice, engaged in meaningful conversation, in my ears every week. During that time he's been through three relationships and has done a lot of work to become a better person. When he announced a few months ago that he and Shelton were in a relationship, I felt genuinely happy for him. She became more and more present in his recent episodes, without ever being on the mics. Over the past two weeks he's mentioned that she was feeling bad, that they'd seen doctors and had her tested for COVID, that he was trying his best to be a nurturing partner despite having no natural aptitude for nurturing. All of which is to say that news of Shelton's death today has really thrown me because, weird as it sounds, I feel like I have a relationship with Maron and I cannot imagine watching helplessly as the person I love dies. (One night I rushed my wife to the emergency room due to a known heart condition, so I think this news is triggering my PTSD a bit.) I never met her but several friends knew her well, and they're all posting such loving remembrances. It's just so damn sad.
  9. Thanks so much for your thoughtfulness and transparency throughout this, Ken. I sincerely appreciate it.
  10. When I set up the poll, I can make every choice required and include a "No Vote" option for people who haven't seen both films. I'm trying to think of another approach -- something that would allow us to cast a simple vote for each of the 36 films, which could then be averaged and weighted. There's something to be said for consensus. Eleven voters have seen My Night at Maud's; only five have seen A Tale of Winter. I'm not sure it's fair for only those five voters to make the choice. Any ideas for the math on this one? I'm still thinking it through.
  11. For real. If we end up with 24 voters in this poll and one has effectively said, "I don't care," shouldn't the denominator be 23? In the further interest of transparency, I'm surprised to discover that this one vs. two vote is the only part of the process so far that I've felt strongly about. I wish there were a clear winner in the race.
  12. I think I understand the logic of this, Ken (emphasis on "de facto"), but, fwiw, it never would've occurred to me to view the one-film list in that light.
  13. Last night I watched Barbara Hammer's 30 minute film, Audience, which documents her visits to San Francisco, London, Toronto, and Montreal in the early 1980s. It was shot before and after screenings of her work, when she interviewed audience members, nearly all of whom are lesbians. Ken, it's a perfect addendum to The Celluloid Closet because several women express their joy at just getting to see lesbians on screen in non-pornographic films. Audience is a lovely portrait of lesbian film communities a few years before the New Queer Cinema movement brought them greater exposure, but it's also a portrait of Hammer herself. I really regret never getting to meet her. Her personal charisma in this film is off the charts. She's a bit of a flirt, and much of the audience is happy to reciprocate. Audience is screening on Criterion Channel right now as part of the Tell Me series. Not sure when or if you'll ever get another chance to stream it.
  14. Yeah, I'm also grateful for the nudge to watch The Phantom Carriage and will be really happy if it slips onto the one-per-director list.
  15. I'd assumed the opposite, Ken, but your rationale makes sense.
  16. This vote will more directly affect the list than any other we cast. I hope it isn't decided by non-voters. After months of discussion, that would be a bummer.
  17. A quick note for everyone who subscribes to Criterion Channel. Two years ago my friend Nellie Killian organized an amazing program at The Metrograph in New York called Tell Me: Women Filmmakers, Women's Stories. Somehow, miraculously, nearly all of the films were added to Criterion at the beginning of May. They haven't yet built a page that lists them all in one spot, but I just added 25 films to my watchlist and am looking forward to working through them. Nellie's such a brilliant programmer. I haven't seen most of these films -- I haven't even heard of many of them -- so there should be some great discoveries. Nellie just told me Criterion will begin doing a marketing push for the series on May 24, so keep an eye out for it.
  18. If non-votes are counted as votes for two films, then I don't see any possibility of getting 9 more votes for one film.
  19. Evan, we'd also be adding films from Mexico, Israel, Romania, Mauritania, China, Taiwan, and Thailand. That to me more than makes up for the loss of additional films by Denis and Varda.
  20. Adding 7th Heaven and The Immigrant on the list would also be an opportunity for me to finally write that essay about melodrama that's been at the back of my mind for years.
  21. Ken, you also need to add A Man Escaped / Diary of a Country Priest. Copied/pasted from another thread: For what it's worth, I'm voting for one film per director because it addresses my two biggest complaints with the list. I really dislike the idea of giving eight of the top 25 slots to four people, even while acknowledging that those four have long been the patron saints of this forum. (My first comment on this subject, months ago, was something like, "I'd advocate for one film per director except that it's hard to imagine our list without Ordet and Passion. I'm now totally fine with the idea.) I also really like the added diversity of styles and perspectives we'll be adding to the bottom of the list. Having Ordet and Silent Light as bookends would make me happy.
  22. Apologies for not being able to join the call last night. Sounds like I missed a great conversation. I wanted to second Ken's comment here and also suggest that we offer ourselves a bit of grace about this. As I mentioned earlier, the 2002 Sight and Sound Top 100 only includes two women filmmakers. I suspect S&S won't be changing their rules in 2022 but their voters (like we have) will certainly be paying more attention to gender representation when they submit their ballots. I also suspect the new S&S top 100 will illustrate incremental progress but not a whole-sale dismantling of the canon. I've made every effort throughout this process to advocate for greater diversity in the list -- in the discussions, nomination process, and voting -- but 19 of my 25 6-point films were directed by white men. I say that as a matter of fact and without any regret. When I saw Ken's email yesterday requesting my top 10 films directed by women, I'd just gotten off a tense, 90-minute call for work and needed a distraction, so I decided to knock it out quickly. I wanted to include ten different filmmakers representing a variety of genres, and to be honest it was more of a challenge than I'd anticipated. Six of the ten were from the 2000s (seven if you include Beau travail, which was released theatrically in 2000). All of them are white. In other words, my top 10 is representative of the history of cinema, which for the first century effectively excluded women from the director's chair, and which has only in the past two decades made the means of production more widely available. My top 10 is also representative of my taste and viewing habits, which I've become much more conscious of over the past two months. For what it's worth, I'm voting for one film per director because it addresses my two biggest complaints with the list. I really dislike the idea of giving eight of the top 25 slots to four people, even while acknowledging that those four have long been the patron saints of this forum. (My first comment on this subject, months ago, was something like, "I'd advocate for one film per director except that it's hard to imagine our list without Ordet and Passion. I'm now totally fine with the idea.) I also really like the added diversity of styles and perspectives we'll be adding to the bottom of the list. Having Ordet and Silent Light as bookends would make me happy. Also, let's constantly remind ourselves that the list will be presented in context. Even the capsule reviews will be opportunities for us to address head-on the "problems" of the list, as we're discussing it now. Whoever writes about, say, The Son, will be able to mention that the Dardennes had three or four other films in contention. We'll all have opportunities to write about representations of women and non-white characters in the films, and about women and non-white people who were essential creative collaborators in the making of the films. We should all commit to doing the work to find and foreground those stories. I'd also be curious to read (and possibly write?) an article about how our list represents the inherent benefits and problems of canon formation.
  23. In Praise of Love fits that category, too. Which reminds me, In Praise of Love making the list is my most pleasant surprises -- that and Frisco Jenny almost cracking the top 50.
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