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Joel Mayward

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Everything posted by Joel Mayward

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. Joel Mayward

    Life of Brian

    Terry Jones, director of Life of Brian, has died at age 77.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Joel Mayward


    Yeah, this is one of those elements of film criticism where I find it difficult to parse between great direction and great editing/cinematography/production/etc. This is a bit tangential, but when Young Ahmed won the Best Director prize at Cannes, critics booed, and seemed to think the prize should have gone to someone else (Celine Sciamma or Mati Diop in particular). But though Young Ahmed is ostensibly less flashy or formally obvious than Portrait of a Lady on Fire or Atlantics, my scholarly knowledge of how the Dardennes make and direct their films makes me really appreciate just how visionary and capable they are as directors.
  14. Joel Mayward


    Here's my review of 1917, which was a film I somewhat can appreciate for its technical feats, but didn't feel those formal decisions were necessarily more emotionally involving or complementary to the situation it was showing. This tweet kinda sums it up for me:
  15. Not that it revolves around me, but my most "free" months in 2020 are February, May, July, and August. I think my fall season will be busy with academic writing projects. So, if we aim for the list to be published by June or July, that works well for me.
  16. Please do look for this, as I'm really curious now. I actually expected it to be a sunrise as I watched it precisely because the scene itself seemed to be trying so hard for the symbolism of it all. It's like the Twitter joke: *leans over to date* "That's the Rise of Skywalker."
  17. That's great news about the anthology! I'm happy to help lead/coordinate, especially depending on the timeline. Regarding the timing, I looked at past Top 100 threads, and there was quite a lot of discussion about procedures before the actual voting began, but when the voting opened, it was relatively brief, about 3 weeks. It seemed to follow the same timing we've continued to use for the Ecumenical Jury, i.e. nominations and voting in December, list announced in early January and blurbs solicited, published in early-to-mid February, likely to correspond with the Oscars. If we followed this pattern, but transposed it to summer time (voting in May, finalize list and solicit blurbs in June, published in early July), would that work?
  18. Thanks for this, and I could be wrong here because I can't remember the exact details from Rise of Skywalker, but isn't she positioned to be looking at the same horizon on Tatooine that Luke was looking at from his farm? If this is the case, it would mean either a) the suns rise and set on Tatooine on the same horizon, which would be an interesting bit of cosmic physics, or b) it's a sunset. Now I'm really curious as to how Rey is framed/positioned in the final shot.
  19. Sorry, I made a decision and sent an email before seeing your comments, Ken and Evan. The deadline extension made sense to me, allowing for any January 9/10 releases to be seen while not necessarily affecting the voting results beyond allowing for more time to see films for jurors. Ken, we should also talk publication date specifics, as our publication has typically coincided with the Oscars, which are quite early this year (February 9). We can discuss it via email.
  20. I'm hesitantly open to this, especially if the Friday release date would make a difference. However, I don't want to set a major precedent for having individual jurors request extensions each year either. For this year, we can adjust it to Friday, January 10, 11:59pm PST.
  21. Here are the final nominees (those who have received seconds). Please do let me know ASAP if I have missed including a nominee: 1917 63 Up A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood A Hidden Life Ad Astra Alita: Battle Angel Amazing Grace American Factory Apollo 11 Atlantics Booksmart Burning Cane By the Grace of God Dark Waters Diane Frozen 2 High Life Honeyland JoJo Rabbit Knives Out Light from Light Little Women Marriage Story Missing Link Official Secrets Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood One Child Nation Parasite Peterloo Rocketman Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Strange Negotiations The Dead Don’t Die The Farewell The Irishman The Last Black Man in San Francisco The Lighthouse The Peanut Butter Falcon The Report They Shall Not Grow Old Toy Story 4 Transit Us Waves Where'd You Go, Bernadette Yesterday
  22. Joel Mayward

    The Two Popes

    I think I was more positive on the film than most here, simply because it surprised/delighted me to see Hopkins and Pryce's performances, as well as Juan Minujín as the young Bergoglio. Here's my review.
  23. Thanks Evan! Hope the list sparks some new discoveries. I didn't include it because it will get a US release in 2020 via Kino Lorber, so it'll be more of a "2020" film than a "2019" film for most folks. But if I had included it here, it would be in the top 10 at #6 (between Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Parasite).
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