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Joel Mayward

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Everything posted by Joel Mayward

  1. I wasn't too surprised when I checked the results here, but I *am* still puzzled by the consistent appearance of some of the films, particularly the ones with Robert Duvall. Also, looking at Rushmore's amazing list of lists, it had somehow escaped me that the Dardennes' Rosetta was #1 on the Top 100 in 2005, which appears to be the only time a Dreyer film wasn't in the top spot!
  2. When I can someday figure out how to use the "spoiler" feature again, I can write more about what I think about the ending in detail. I had a similar reaction to Andrew—the first time, a moment somewhat startled me but the final scene didn't really surprise me. But the second time, I found that entire final sequence to be far more complex, and more open to different interpretations about what will happen after the film cuts to black. The actress who plays Inès, Myriem Akheddiou, has become a regular of sorts—she was in small roles in The Kid with a Bike, Two Days, One Night, and The Unknown Girl. And I believe she's the romantic partner of Fabrizio Rongione. She's really great in this film too, and won a Magritte Award (the Belgian version of the Oscars) for Best Supporting Actress.
  3. Great review, Andrew, and really interesting observation about the cows on the farm, as well as the role of governmental institutions which strive to help Ahmed and his family (as well as Ines). I'm curious, from a psychology perspective, what did you think of the role and portrayal various counselors and therapists in the film? You mentioned them a bit in the review, but I'm curious if they're seen as effective (both in terms of Ahmed's rehabilitation, and within the film's narrative). And I think the critique made about the film's similarities to other Dardennes' films is valid, yet there are some really fascinating differences and "firsts" too. For instance, none of the Dardennes' "regulars" are in Young Ahmed, like Olivier Gourmet, Jeremie Renier, and Fabrizio Rongione; it's the first and only Dardenne brothers film Gourmet hasn't played any role.
  4. Jeff, your post made me laugh. I am admittedly disappointed to not have The Son on the final list (it's partly why I voted for the 2-films-per-director list), but I'm just happy to be an evangelist of sorts for the Dardennes' cinema.
  5. So, the earliest film I see is The Phantom Carriage (1921), and the newest films are Amazing Grace (2018) and Won't Your Be My Neighbor? (2018), though Amazing Grace could possibly be considered a 2019 film (that's when I saw it at least). Not quite 100 years of cinema, but pretty close.
  6. Are we advocating for which films we'd like to write blurbs on here in this thread? If so, here are films I'm interested in writing on (subject to change later if I feel so inclined): The Tree of Life The Kid with a Bike Secrets & Lies Cave of Forgotten Dreams Selma
  7. Regarding the Dardennes' pick, I do think the accessibility of The Kid with a Bike—both in terms of the film's emotional resonance with an audience, as well as the ability to actually watch it somehow on streaming or get it on DVD/Blu-ray via Criterion—makes me think it's a better choice for someone who (like me a decade or so ago) stumbled upon the Top 100 list and decided to watch The Son, having not heard of the Dardennes before. In other words, it's a better introduction to the Dardennes for someone who might be new to world cinema.
  8. It surprises me how many of the second-place films replaced the higher ranked film, which also makes me think that this vote was helpful/essential for this process. And the Rohmer and Ray results makes me think that many folks simply haven't seen one or both of the films (myself included—My Night At Maud's is not an easy film to find), but that those who have are quite passionate about them.
  9. Joel Mayward


    Christopher Nolan's upcoming film (which may or may not be released on July 17, depending on how well we've controlled the coronavirus pandemic) has a new full trailer: It looks very Nolanesque: time-bending visuals, enigmatic narrative, a blue-grey-beige color palette, and massive set pieces. I'm intrigued by the cast Nolan has here, and interested to see how this film will fit in the larger cultural conversation about when/how to reopen things in our pandemic era.
  10. I pre-ordered it from Amazon, which I was hoping to avoid. But for all its corporate evils, Amazon remains one of the best ways to get stuff to the coast of Scotland quickly and relatively cheaply. I imagine the Dardennes would not approve (they were producers for Ken Loach's Sorry We Missed You).
  11. Y'know, looking through the Top 25 Marriage threads, I don't see Gett being discussed...maybe I'm totally misremembering this, or attributing my memory to another conversation elsewhere. Whatever the case, I'm glad for it to be recognized here.
  12. One of my all-time favorite films, and one I strongly considered nominating...but when I've suggested it in the past (for the Top 25 films on marriage) it didn't get much traction, sadly. I've seen others (not necessarily on A&F) compare it as a lesser version of Farhadi's A Separation, a comparison which feels way too simplistic to me. Here's our thread for the film. I remember when this happened. So tragic.
  13. This is great news. I'm so curious to hear others' responses to this film, as it's definitely a bit of an outlier for the Dardennes. The film also releases on DVD/Blu-ray in North America on June 16. Unfortunately, the film hasn't released *at all* in the UK, which means I'm going to have to somehow ship the Blu-ray (of course I'm buying this film on physical media!) to a mailing address in the US, then onward to my home address in Scotland.
  14. Those particular episodes you mention here are so tonally and visually distinct from nearly every other moment in Season 2 that it really exemplifies the uniqueness of Lynch's vision as an artist. He was doing something different, and those episodes really stand out.
  15. I didn't get that vibe personally; it felt like an informed and passionate response which provided a clear answer/direction. And including the Wachowskis on this list makes sense to me (at least The Matrix—I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the meaning or significance of Cloud Atlas).
  16. Fani, in my opinion, is the hero of A Hidden Life. But Jessica Chastain's Mrs O'Brien in The Tree of Life is deservedly iconic, and I think the performance she gives there (and Brad Pitt's performance) are some of the best of their careers. This is to say, The Tree of Life is more than just white guy ennui—it's also about moms floating in the air and dinosaurs!
  17. Forcing me to choose between The Son and The Kid with a Bike is so incredibly difficult. On the one hand, I think The Son is a rare perfect film—every element, from the performances to the cinematography to the editing, is absolutely brilliant, and I wouldn't change a thing. It's also probably more of the distinct "Dardennean" aesthetic. On the other hand, The Kid with a Bike is my favorite of the Dardennes' films, and perhaps the most distinctly "spiritual" in the way we've described it here. Luc Dardenne's little book of philosophy, On the Human Affair, is something he wrote while making The Kid with a Bike, and suggests that both the film and the book are essentially about humanity's search and longing for God—for a sense of "Home"—when the traditional "Father" deity of institutional religion is gone. The Kid with a Bike makes me cry every single time, because Samantha is one of the strongest embodiments of human goodness I have ever witnessed. And I agree with Darren's observation that The Son is one of the only films—if not the only film—the brother have made without a strong female character at the center of the narrative. So, I'm torn...but I'm leaning toward The Kid with a Bike. Also, while I love both Malick films, I will advocate for The Tree of Life here. A Hidden Life is definitely the most overtly religious (i.e. Christian) of Malick's films (which is saying something!), but The Tree of Life is, I would argue, the most spiritually significant, both in the way that we've defined it here, and in a wider sense for whatever audience reads the list.
  18. Ah, I didn't realize there were so many ties! And yes, I agree, and I think each film needs a blurb attached to it.
  19. Regarding other ties from Round 1, might it be simpler to just list those as a tie? So, for instance, if there were two films tied at #65, the next number listed would be #67. I think Sight & Sound does this in their Top 250 for ties—#17 on the 2012 list is both Seven Samurai and Persona, followed by #19. This assumes we're okay with having ties on the list, while still having a limit of 100 films.
  20. Thank you Ken! And thank you to everyone who has been involved and also been patient and listening. What a voting process it's been (and we're not done yet!). I finally had the chance to watch the Zoom chat recording (so great to see people's faces and hear voices!), and M. Leary made an observation there about canonization, comparing our list-making to the process of creating the biblical canon. What we're doing is not exactly scripture, but there is something peculiar and sacred about it, and there's a personal investment being made from all those involved. And I think it's important to recognize this, that somehow in this complicated process we're hopefully not becoming just better cinephiles, but perhaps even better persons, that we can have honest conversations and debates over the internet about film (but also more than film) without it devolving. If part of the "spiritually significant" criteria was a sense of "being more aware" of the world around us, then (without being sappy) I am certainly more aware of each of you. It's been a messy process, yet I think the list (and our community) is truly better for it—and this is coming from someone who voted 2-films-per-director.
  21. FWIW, for the Ecumenical Jury second round of voting regarding the ranking of the Top 10, jurors had to vote on all ten films, whether or not they'd seen them. How they chose to go about ranking those films was up to their own discretion and personal criteria. For those who did not do the second round of voting (which was maybe only one or two jury members at most), I considered their votes from the first round and assumed an "abstain" from the second round of voting meant they were happy enough with the ranking as is.
  22. You weren't kidding. It's kind of incredible how this is working out. But who will be the Sandra in this situation?
  23. The poll is closed, but I honestly can't tell from the presented results here as to which direction we've chosen. According to Ken's original email, 60%, or 14 out of 23 voters, would be needed to go with the 1-film list. It appears to me to be 13 votes for 1-film, 7 votes for 2-film, and 1 vote for no preference, which is...well, close, according to the 60% needed, but nearly twice as many people appear to have voted in favor of the 1-film list. Does this final number take into account those who changed votes mid-stream after already voting (a practice I'm quite wary of, but I suppose we're going with it), and any votes via email? This appears to be 21 votes out of 23 original voters.
  24. Please do! You can email or DM here here. Thanks.
  25. Ken, thanks for your generous response, and my apologies if my question was trying your patience. I, too, am honestly a bit confused and frustrated by the process at the moment, and the multiple threads/emails coming at different times and from different persons is difficult to navigate. Some posts or emails sound like suggestions or brainstorming; others sound like major decisions have been made. It's difficult to sometimes discern between the two. While it sounds like the Zoom call was generally wonderful for those involved, I confess that my missing that call has made me feel quite out of the loop and uncertain as to how/why things have changed in the list-making process as much as they have. What seemed fairly straightforward beforehand (we have 2 films per director, we'll have an optional second vote on ranking the Top 25) has now elicited a new vote on two versions of the list (one of which could have either Ikiru or Red Beard in the Top 10, or The Son or The Kid with the Bike, depending on how we vote again...that is, if we vote again) a new Alt Top 100 of Films Directed by Women, and a general unease about the Eurocentricity and lack of women directors on the list in either iteration. And I'm unsure as to where I should post my confusion—it would probably be best in the "Discussion of voting process" or "Discussing the Results" or maybe even "Announcing the (Preliminary) Results." So, if the above paragraph is better suited in another discussion thread, please do feel free to move it there. I'm trying to keep up with the various discussions and votes and perspectives. So, I'll continue to listen, seeking to understand and to be understood.
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