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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. Thanks indeed to everyone who worked on this, especially Ken. Very interesting to see this ranking! I'm not surprised to see that the 5 films overlapping with the A&F Top 100 ended up so high for the most part (1, 3, 4, 7, 18). And Late Spring at #2 was #47 on the 2010 Top 100 list, before the 3 films per director parameter was added. The finalist film I was saddest to see cut was The Old Man and the Sea. It very much is about consolidating memories in old age, like Brian mentioned as a thematic here--dreaming of the lions he saw in Africa, working before the mast as a child, the epic arm-wrestling contest. I'd hope an essay on that could bring in such films that didn't make the final cut. But the one I was most surprised to see cut was Synecdoche, New York. It's not a film I particularly like or agree with in terms of its worldview, but it's a very good film that is spot on thematically in terms of depicting growing older. I'd love to contribute an essay on The Man Who Planted Trees, but I have a lot on my plate in the next year, so don't let me be the deciding factor in whether a book happens or not. If the book happens, I'd certainly WANT to contribute, but that's all I can commit to at this point.
  2. Thanks for this discussion, Andrew, Ken, Brian, et al. It's been helpful in thinking about these issues of representation that we find problematic. There has certainly been some "growing up" the film industry has had to do in terms of what it finds acceptable to portray and in what ways...not that everything has necessarily gotten better or that there aren't still huge problems with representation... As I make my final ranking, I am tempted just to leave the small handful of films I feel that I've seen but ambivalent about in the "unranked" column. I'm hesitant to rank them ahead of films that seem worthier but that I haven't seen. I like the fact that our unranked/unseen films will still receive some points in this system. Is it the case that the only directors with two films on this current list are Varda and Ozu? I know we should just let the original method/parameters determine the list, but I wouldn't mind including only one from each director. The blurb could mention the other film that got fewer points as another worthy film on the theme by the same director. Oh well. It's much easier to compare films that are more thematically alike (like the "aging parent(s) and their child(ren)" films) than those that cover aging over longer periods vs focused on a short time in older age, an individual vs. a couple or a group, etc.
  3. The Straight Story also has 7. There may be others...
  4. I think we got this exactly right. The former films seem more on theme to me and the latter ones all more "spiritually significant" which I take to be defining feature, albeit one that can be interpreted in many ways, of the Top 100. Likewise, each of these films seems more Top 100 appropriate, except probably Mr. Lazerescu. I definitely feel good about the prospects for a new Top 100 based on the community's activity with this list. I look forward to participating.
  5. When you mentioned this, I remembered that someone had posted a spreadsheet a while back (after the Top 25 on Mercy) that had all films that had ever been on an A&F list. Glancing through that, and including this list and Waking Up, it looks like Tokyo Story and Wild Strawberries are the only ones with 7 instances. Both have been on all five Top 100 lists and two Top 25s.
  6. I'd also like to have till the end of the month in order to watch a few more before ranking them.
  7. Yes, I love this list! I do wish a few more of my top picks that featured women had made it (or just any few more that didn't skew male or couple in focus). My top 2 choices to write blurbs on would be 1. The Man Who Planted Trees 2. The Old Man and the Sea  (The animated shorts, I know...) I think it's important to have a separate page, like all the previous Top 25s had. That would make it much more usable than a forum thread. Weren't the Top 25s always in the sidebar on this page? Okay, I googled for those lists and found them here http://artsandfaith.com/t100/25_memory.html That's the Memory list with the others in the sidebar. It looks like the Mercy and Waking Up lists are only on the Image website. Could those pages (or their content, at any rate) be transferred back to A&F so that they are all in one place? Doing that would make these lists a far more usable resource. At a minimum, those lists should have a separate page with a link to the already existing list at Image. Or at Transpositions more recently. I think that A&F really needs a public-facing Home page with a greeting/welcome and brief explanation of A&F as a community. The Forums could be a link from there, as could the Top 100 and themed Top 25 lists and yearly Ecumenical Jury lists. And A&F would be a great place to host a list of film review websites that are done by the members here. That's another page that could link from the new A&F Home page.
  8. I see this one still isn't seconded, and I'm afraid I won't have the time to prioritize catching up with this one in the next couple days, but I've read the novel, and the story would certainly be a good fit for the list. There's one chapter late in the book where Isabel reflects back on her life--where she really gets it as to where she went wrong, and how she's been betrayed--that's crucial in the novel, but it all takes place in her head. She's just sitting in a room. I've always wondered how that would be filmed.
  9. As I've caught up with more films on the nominations list, I'm feeling more and more like this should be a list of films about the process of aging but with a heavy emphasis on the second half of life. That might be elderhood, but it might also be negotiating the onset of that second half of life, middle age. And that very much includes a film like Persuasion since Anne Elliot would have been considered an "old maid" in her time though only in her late 20s. Or a film like While We're Young that takes that middle age vantage to look at the interactions between both younger and older generations. I'd love to see a more focused list in that regard, and save Coming of Age Films and Films about Children/Childhood to be separate lists for the future.
  10. Excellent pick, Ken! This particular film is my preferred adaptation of the story as well.
  11. Films I'm tempted to nominate but don't plan to because it's been too long since I've seen it, even though it's good in terms of quality and fit for the theme: The Savages because the film's lacking in quality despite a good fit for the theme: Hook because it's an okay fit for the theme but is truly a better fit for "coming of age" than "growing older": The Graduate because it's a fine film for what it is, fits the theme, but is somehow too vapid (or perhaps lacks "spiritual significance" even broadly understood, even though I haven't been considering that as an essential criterium): City Slickers I'd put When Harry Met Sally in that last category, too, thinking of Billy Crystal films, but honestly a lot of the films on the nominations list fall into one of these categories for me.
  12. I nominated The Old Man and the Sea. The old fisherman Santiago is tested by the greatest fish he's ever caught, which prompts him to reflect on his life--doing the work of elderhood. He recalls his successes as a young man, reflects on his occupation (his relationship to the fish), and what he can pass on the the young ( the boy Manolin). And the painted animation is gorgeous.
  13. The Old Man and the Sea Aleksandr Petrov 1999 English (also dubbed in other languages, as it's animated) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0207639/ No A&F thread
  14. I think The Queen would be a good fit for these reasons. I considered nominating it and The Iron Lady, which also deals with loss of a spouse, declining capabilities, dementia, and coming to terms with changing roles. I didn't because for some reason, it feels strange to put biopics on this list, even ones like these that are very concerned with aging. Like the aging theme in the film needs to be extra foregrounded to be more insightful that just illuminating an aspect of the person in the film. And I think I'd rather see A Quiet Passion over either of these, at least as a film. I very much think there is room on this list for the aspect of "growing older" that involves facing mortality, whether one's own death or a loved one. But not all films explore death or mortality in the context of aging. I don't think Ikiru or La Jetee do. The Fountain does, however, and also grasps for the spiritual significance of facing mortality in this context--no second? I haven't seen either Dreams or Rhapsody in August. If they were seconded, I'd love an excuse to catch up on some more late Kurosawa. Do others have reservations about seconding these (as opposed to the other Kurosawas, which have been seconded, and which I've already seen)?
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