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Rob Z

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About Rob Z

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  • Occupation
    Graduate student and literature/composition teacher, University of Oregon
  • Favorite movies
    Ordet, Chariots of Fire, The Tree of Life, Blade Runner, Tarkovsky
  • Favorite music
    classical, Stevie Wonder, U2, Over the Rhine, Sufjan Stevens, Patty Griffin, RAIJ
  • Favorite creative writing
    Wendell Berry, Marilynne Robinson, Dostoevsky, Thoreau, Dickinson, religious and environmental poetry

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  1. Rob Z

    Sophie Scholl

    I had a similar reaction, though it was years ago. In the little background reading I did, I remember reading that she thought that the injustice of their executions would lead people to rise up against the regime, which certainly was not the case. I wondered if the filmmakers dipicted the showering down of the tracts into the lobby to anticipate the ending with the historically accurate showering down of the tracts from the air by the Allies. This is a great point. I totally agree, and it's part of why I also rank this film highly. I wish we also could have kept A Hidden Life, which is a great comparator. It's interesting that Sophie Scholl is now celebrated as a hero, whereas Franz Jagerstatter is still very little known. I wonder if it's because Scholl's actions, though consonant with her faith, are construed as political, whereas Jagerstatter's political actions and conscientious objection were pretty much entirely and unavoidably extensions of his faith.
  2. In addition to those 16 films that had been on all the previous Top 100 lists but dropped off in 2020, and so have been on 5 of the six lists, there are a handful that had been on all but one of the previous lists but are now back on the 2020 version. They too have been on five of the six Top 100 lists. The Miracle Maker The Flowers of St. Francis Schindler’s List Night of the Hunter Crimes & Misdemeanors Looks like Faust and Rome, Open City would have also been on all but one list with the 2 films/director list.
  3. Here are the films that had been on the previous five Top 100s by how they fell off the 2020 list, which I think is interesting: Ineligible due to nominations rule change: Dekalog Three Colors (as a trilogy) Not nominated: The Straight Story Three Colors: Red Three Colors: White Yi Yi The Straight Story Not voted into 2020 Top 100: Jesus of Montreal Wild Strawberries Voted into 2020 Top 100, but Director's third or fourth film: Au Hasard Balthazar Day of Wrath Mirror The Promise Director's second film in 2020 runoff: The Passion of Joan of Arc The Son Stalker A Man Escaped By the way, I got 16/20 that remained on all lists, but I'd been looking at the list during nominations. Here it is again: http://decentfilms.com/blog/2011-arts-faith-top-100 Interesting that SDG listed the films in ranked order according to how high on average they'd placed on the ranked Top 100s. The films ranked 2-5 all dropped off in this iteration! Our list contains 19 out of the 45 on the 1995 Vatican "Important Films" list. http://www.decentfilms.com/articles/vaticanfilmlist I came across a coffee table book called 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know by Terry Glaspey, and it contains 6 films: The Passion of Joan of Arc Rome, Open City It’s A Wonderful Life Au Hasard Balthazar Andrei Rublev The Tree of Life Our list has 3 of those, but it would have had them all highly ranked without the limit of films per director.
  4. These films also have blurbs from 2011 or 2010: Spirited Away Grave of the Fireflies Vertigo Magnolia Silent Light Ushpizin The Death of Mr. Lazarescu Still Life Places in the Heart This Is Martin Bonner was on the Waking Up list. There may be others. I'll think about which ones I might want to write on!
  5. There is a website that does something like this called Flickchart. You choose the "better" of two films and after a certain number of selections it generates a ranked list for you of about 20 films. You can also add films to your list when you see them. The thing is, if I remember, it takes the initial list to be pretty rigid, so once your original list is generated, the mechanism just puts things higher or lower based on how you compare it to films already on the list rather than more holistically. Or maybe I just didn't figure out how to manipulate the tool. They also have an all time ranked list generated by all users. It's pretty predictable. Top 5 in order are Star wars, Empire Strikes Back, The Godfather, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Shawshank Redemption. But there are some surprises, such as Ikiru at #10. I wish there was some website where you could just paste in a list of items and then it would present them to you as choices and generate a ranked list. I'm sure someone has created an algorithm for that.
  6. Thanks for clarifying, Ken. I will still be voting for Red Beard.
  7. Hold on a second. Was it ever decided that the film would stay in the same ranking or that whichever film by a director is chosen, it would occupy the higher spot. The former makes more sense to me from a process point of view, but I would be happy to see Red Beard in the Top 25 even if it is an awfully big jump. This will definitely affect how I vote.
  8. I'm up for a Round 2 to rank the Top 25. I'm fine with the ranking as it is, regardless of the date or director. I know I for one would want to rank whichever Bergman film we have higher than 25 (assuming that the chosen film goes into the director's highest ranked slot). That said, if we do this, I think we should use the criteria that (I think) we agreed on earlier: make it optional but where non-voting count as a positive vote for keeping the order as it is. Watching The Music Room will be a priority for me this coming week!
  9. I 100% agree with your thoughts here, Ken. (I might choose different examples. I think Dogville is spiritually significant, but I'm glad it's off the list. I think Chariots of Fire is spiritually significant for its subject and writing rather than its direction...) But I feel like we're being asked to choose this NOT as just the A&F Top 100. If it were just that, I'd absolutely want to stick the the original 2/director plan--a list of films (not director's top films), different only in degree from previous lists. It's for the book that I think the more geographically (and, obviously, directorially) diverse list of films is better list for reasons I tried to articulate above. If I think of someone who happened to find their way to a list of spiritually significant films on the A&F website, I'd want the 2/director list because of the films it includes. But if I was someone who happened across a book entitled Spiritually Significant Films, I think the 1/director list was better because of what it doesn't exclude (namely, films from Romania, West Africa, China, Israel, Mexico (2), and Thailand). If I pick up such a book, I'm going to be less concerned with the online community that it came from, and the 1/director heuristic is more understandable. And in the 1 director scenario if someone wants to write an essay for the book on Stalker or Joan or Ordet or one of the other films that could get cut in the 1/director process (or, say, on Yi Yi which is a former Top 100 film whose director has a different one on the new Top 100), would the answer automatically be "nope"? I'm just trying to see what the actual implications are for voting one way or another in the poll. It strikes me there are strong feelings on both sides yet also a lot of ambivalence, and I've also had a hard time keeping up as things move so fast. My apologies if I've contributed to wearing on anyone's nerves. Just saying, but if it were up to me, I'd make the original 2/director list the 2020 A&F Top 100, and I'd make the 1/director list the starting basis of the book.
  10. I was swayed to vote for the 1/director list, but I feel like there should be a way to have our cake and eat it too.This gets at what Ken, Beth, and Jeffrey mentioned via email. I too wish we'd just stuck to the original procedures we agreed on. But presented with the choice after the fact with arguments on either side, I'm not going to let those principles stop me from choosing between the two choices at hand, even though I'm rankled. Just a couple reflections: I think the 2/director list has overall better films (I've seen 83) than the 1/director list (I've seen 79), and I think the 2/director list is a better reflection of the films that are spiritually significant to A&F (I say that not because I know the community so well but because it's how we voted). The list is more in continuity with previous Top 100s. As Ken said, the 1 director list feels different in kind than in degree. I agree. I would hope that the 2 director list could be published on the A&F site as a/the 2020 Top 100 list no matter what. The reason I voted for the 1 director list is almost entirely because of the companion book, thinking of myself as a reader of that book. I'm not an expert or professional in this field at all, and I'm not concerned with how others will view this group because of our list. But if we want to offer a list of spiritually significant films to the world in a book, rather than in the context of this site (or previously, the context of IMAGE), then I think the more expansive, geographically-diverse list is better. Although I participated in making the list and have been regularly visiting and posting at A&F for over 3 years, I still think of myself as much in the audience position. I don't have the perspective of the long-timers (who I very much look up to) who wish the group had evolved more. That's just where I'm coming from. Anyway... If I came across the Top 100 online with blurbs, I'd find the 2/director list more helpful. But if I came across a standalone book via a library search or something, I'd find the 1/director list more helpful (supplemented by an appendix of films directed by women, too). And since it sounds like the book is happening for sure, I'm voting for the 1/director list in the hope that if it "wins" then there can be a 2/director Top 100 list online and a 1/director list online too but also to form the basis of the book (along with the films by directors who would have had multiple without the parameters set along the way). I hope this distinction makes sense to others. Sorry if we're all getting burned out with more possibilities. If nothing else, it's my working out in writing why I voted how I did, but I do think we can use both lists for different purposes.
  11. So, I know there's a lot going on, but this came up earlier, and I think we have yet to deal with it: There are ties on the list. Each of the following films had the same number of points from the same number of voters. The current list ranks them by standard deviation first (meaning, I think, the more controversial film is first) and then alphabetically if the standard deviation was the same. A few of these films may drop off in we go with the 1/director list. Do we want to have a poll of some kind to choose between these? I know one place difference isn't big, but it would affect two films in the Top 5 that were tied on all accounts. I would favor another (yet another!) poll to decide the final order, though if we go the 2 director route, the first two ties would be sorted out through a round 2. We can probably delay a decision on this, but I thought I'd bring it up again. Of Gods and Men / Silence Night and Fog / Sophie Scholl A Moment of Innocence / Heartbeat Detector Close-Up / Rome, Open City The Best Years of Our Lives / Tender Mercies Lourdes / Cameraperson / The Burmese Harp The Mill and the Cross / Cave of Forgotten Dreams Stop Making Sense / The Grand Illusion Cleo from 5 to 7 / In a Lonely Place Calvary / I Am Not Your Negro Amadeus / Witness Crimes and Misdemeanors / The Mission Ushpizin / The Work The Red Shoes / Timbuktu Nazarin / What Time Is It There?
  12. I think Ken made the call that if we go with the 1/director list, the order would stand as it is currently. I don't remember in which thread. The current order is fine with me, but I'd gladly go along for another round. For some reason, the 25 with multiple films by the same director seemed like we'd want to reorder it more, plus that was the original next step in the plan, and if we're changing plans, then maybe that's not the next step?
  13. I don't think this was ever discussed. Why wouldn't the film stay in the order where it landed on the list? As to the rationale, I guess I just don't see why that warrants taking a film and putting it in a different films' place. It's not like this is a seeded bracket tournament. I'm sure we'd all have voted differently with the 1/director rule (and nominated differently), we're working off this ranked list, not a list that might have been, so it makes sense to me that the film would keep it's current rank. I don't think anyone is suggesting we to voting over again. I didn't compare every one of the entries, but at least four films would be jumping 40+ spots and one film, if chosen, would jump 73 spots. That doesn't make sense to me. When I see this scenario, I picture someone just as easily saying, I really think The Son should be the one Dardennes film on the list, so I'm going to give it a 6 and all there other films a 4 or even a 3, meaning votes for the 18 directors' second films could have been even more depressed. I think leaving the order according to the result of the vote is a much better expression of how the group ranks them. That seems obvious to me when I write it, unless we revote, which I don't think anyone is proposing.
  14. I just sent my list. When I saw Ken's request, the films that came immediately to mind were mostly ones that I see are already on the list of films above. So I did a little more thinking and came up with a list of 10 that weren't yet on the list. These following ones I haven’t seen, so I don’t feel like I can be the one to add them, but what about Queen of Katwe, The Breadwinner, and One Child Nation? Those films are only on my radar because they’ve been on year-end lists of people who are part of this discussion! Though the exercise was framed as your top 10 spiritually significant films by women, so maybe none made the cut. Is the purpose just to come up with a good list of spiritually significant films directed by women? or is it something more akin to nominations? Is the goal to get to 100? 100 films or 100 directors? And there are a number of other films directed by women that were nominated for the Top 100 that aren’t on this list yet, and that I don’t think I’m the right one to add them, either because I don’t fine them spiritually significant myself or because I haven’t seen them…
  15. Nice! I didn't notice that. The thought that crossed my mind was, I wonder if there's a rug in Andrew's office that really ties the room together!
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