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Joel Mayward

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About Joel Mayward

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    PhD Candidate, Pastor-Theologian, Film Critic

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  1. Okay, I see that there was a poll for the 2011 voting process, which asked a number of questions about short films, voting scale, inclusion of TV series and trilogies, etc. You can see the results of the poll here: If the poll results were followed, then short films weren't included in 2011, there was a limit to 3 films per director, there was a 1-5 scale (not 1-10), there was a cutoff release date of December 31 2008 (so, two years), and nominations had to be seconded (which seems normative). For the 2010 list, the "Spiritually Significant" label was dropped by IMAGE, all the previous included films (about 150 films) were grandfathered in automatically, A&F members could nominate up to 25 additional films in a thread, and (to quote Greg Wolfe in the linked thread), "We are going to try to get away without worrying too much about the issue of eligibility." It was a 1-5 scale, weighted voting by post count. There was also something about a "Peculiar Treasures" list which was going to be made by specifically chosen film critics? Here's the link to the post. I've never seen a Peculiar Treasures list, so perhaps this was abandoned or published elsewhere? I've not found anything regarding how many votes a film needs to qualify to be on the list, i.e. how at least 50% of the jurors on the Ecumenical Jury have to have seen/voted on a film for it to be included. Any thoughts on this from the community? So, a final question (for now): should there be a similar poll like there was for the 2011 list, voting on how we'll do the nomination/voting process which we'll democratically follow based on the results? Or, should the list organizers determine the nomination/voting parameters based on feedback from the comments and past lists, which is more "top down" but a bit more streamlined?
  2. Have "short films" not been eligible in the past? IIRC, a Brakhage collection was included at one point.
  3. This seems like a solid list of criteria to me. Regarding Twin Peaks: The Return, I'm inclined to consider it more "television" than "film," even as I also think Lynch is deliberately trying to blur those lines and provoke further questions about what cinema is/isn't. With Dekalog, I'd personally view it closer to O.J.: Made in America as an episodic work of cinema. But it's not a hill I would die on.
  4. Ken, I'll look through past threads and see what I can dig up regarding previous iterations of making the list and see if I can get some answers regarding mechanics of nominations and voting structure. I think we've discussed it before, but to make my own position clear, the idea of weighted votes based on post count is something I would strongly resist. However, I do think membership at A&F needs to be a basic minimum (it's a "free" website, so sign up!). I don't believe I do know your position! Is Dekalog a TV series or a film, in your opinion? And are we ready for a Twin Peaks: The Return discussion?
  5. I think, for better and for worse, often the cultural assumptions assigned to what makes for a meaningful life are perhaps linked to perceptions of gender and traditional roles therein, i.e. what makes a woman's life meaningful vs. what makes a man's life meaningful. And that's definitely a spiritually significant question to address, i.e. existential questions of meaning and purpose and where we find significance.
  6. Joel Mayward

    Life of Brian

    Terry Jones, director of Life of Brian, has died at age 77.
  7. That timeline works for me. The month of April will be busy for me, but I'm absolutely in for participating in a new Top 100.
  8. Joel Mayward

    Night and Fog

    I just watched Night and Fog for the first time this evening, and the ever-expanding shot of human hair is an image I will never forget. I'm about to embark on reading through Paul Ricoeur's massive tome Memory, History, Forgetting, which explores the ethics of remembering and forgiveness, particularly in light of the Holocaust. One commentator on Ricoeur compares this film with Lanzmann's Shoah as two very different approaches to the act of remembering, so I planned to watch them both alongside reading the book.
  9. This makes sense to me, and (at least for Transpositions—I can't speak for Image) those introductions should still be available at the places they were originally published, right? It does look cleaner without the intro paragraph. Thanks again for all your work on this, Ken. I imagine there's a lot more going on behind the scenes with this stuff, and your care and curation for the website is greatly appreciated.
  10. That's an interesting point, and it makes me wonder if Birdman would have been so celebrated had it been shot in a more conventional way. But I'm pretty certain Johnson is just joking around here.
  11. Joel Mayward

    Sansho the Bailiff

    Just watched this for the first time—it's my first Mizoguchi, actually—and wow was that ever depressing. Really interesting cinematography and beautiful as a tragedy, but not particularly uplifting when "life is torture" is a common refrain. Surprised to discover that this wasn't nominated for our Top 25 Films on Mercy list, as the necessity of mercy is the film's overtly stated theme.
  12. If you had told me 1917 was going to be the likely Best Picture winner a month ago, I wouldn't have believed it. Yet here we are. It's a fine movie, but I'm just genuinely surprised that in a year with such a wide variety of excellent films, it seems like it'll get the top prize.
  13. Joel Mayward


    Welcome to A&F, Byron! Ken and Andrew both have a lot of wisdom in their answers, so I don't have much to add. One thing I found helpful when I was expanding my own conception and understanding of cinema in my early 20s was to find a sort of "canon" list of films--such as the AFI Top 100, or Sight and Sound Top 250, or even our own Arts and Faith Top 100--and methodically work my way through it. There were so many films I didn't "get" initially. I remember watching the Dardenne brothers' The Child after seeing it on a shelf in a movie rental store, and finding it admirable, but not especially great or emotionally moving. Now, years later, I think it's a masterpiece. So I think being patient with yourself and recognizing that understanding takes time is key. It's akin to learning a language; you just have to practice and listen and immerse yourself, and over time you find yourself with a more natural understanding of the medium.
  14. I haven't seen it, so perhaps I'm missing something key here, but one of the biggest surprises for me—and probably the least likely to actually win the award—is Ford v Ferrari for Best Picture.
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