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Top 25: Choosing the first theme

   20 votes

  1. 1. What should be the theme of our first Top 10 (or 25) List?

    • Top 4 Jesus movies (since there are 4 canonical gospels)
      2
    • Japanese Films
      1
    • Thrillers/Horror Films
      13
    • Narratives of Spiritual Transformation
      0
    • Depictions of Characters Facing Death
      1
    • Movies Featuring Sock Puppets
      0
    • Films for All Saints Day
      0
    • Buddhist Films
      0
    • Films about Aging
      0
    • Political Films
      0
    • Films as Parables
      0
    • Directors (of spiritually significant films)
      1
    • Documentaries
      0
    • Films about Marriage
      0
    • Films by Continent (especially Africa, Asia, South America)
      0
    • Children's Films
      1
    • Films About Sehnsucht
      1
    • Other (see comments)
      0

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20 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

Dear voters,

IMAGE has decided to renew the Top 100 List for 2011 (working out last year's kinks in the process), rest the Top 100 until 2013, and vote on a few themed smaller lists in the meantime.

I've gathered the initial suggestions for the smaller lists. Please vote on your favorite, add more suggestions, and we'll try to keep this alive as Top100 nomination voting commences.

We still need to decide

1) How many films will be on the mini-lists: 5, 10, 25? Should we let the number be decided by the theme?

2) How often to do the mini-lists: Twice a year? Remember, this involves reviews by the voters (you!) and labor from the IMAGE staff.

3) What to call them: "Best Films About [X]"? "Arts and Faith's Top Five Five Films About [X]"?

4) When to release the first mini-list: At the same time as Top 100, or later as a supplement?

4) Any other questions that come up.

Thanks!

Anna

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Posted · Report post

I like the Children's Films idea, but can we be even more specific? How about Films for children 8 and Under. Or 10 and Under.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I think the purpose of the list needs to be settled on before many of your questions should be answered. Is the list primarily a marketing tool? Is it an educational tool? Is it a tool at all?

I think that the "what" is more important than any other question we can ask, and that once the "what" is known, it drives a lot of answers to the other questions. I'm not a media guy, so I can only comment from the periphery on how I would like to see a list used, and how the right timing can be of great benefit to serve the ultimate purpose of the list.

If the list is not a tool, that is, is it something for the good of the A&F web community, I would suggest delegating its administration to a willing party here and not spend Image resources on it.

If it's a marketing tool, with whatever marketing benefits one would wish (price! promotion! place! product!), then timing the list on a regular, seasonal (Oscars, holidays, seasons) makes sense.

If it's an educational tool, then timing seems best dedicated to the academic calendar.

Edited by Buckeye Jones

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Posted · Report post

Sehnsucht (pronounced [ˈzeːnzʊxt]) is a German noun translated as "longing", "yearning" and "craving"[1], or in a wider sense a type of "intensely missing". However,Sehnsucht is almost impossible to translate adequately and describes a deep emotional state. (Wikipedia)

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Posted · Report post

I wish to reiterate my pitch for the "thriller/horror" film category. To an extent beyond any of the other options on the list, if pushes us as a community to discuss films in a central way that are not part of the the communal A&F hot topics. The likelihood of there being significant overlap between the top 10/25 thriller/horror films and our past top 100s is slim-to-nil. And furthermore, I suspect that the thriller/horror genre, given its darker tendencies, has been one that communities of faith have often sought to avoid.

That's not to say we don't have rich, compelling, yes, even "spiritually significant," films to talk about. On the contrary, we can talk about everything from Weir's PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK to Dreyer's VAMPYR to Whale's FRANKENSTEIN to Herzog's NOSFERATU to Polanski's REPULSION, to say nothing of more "are they or aren't they" entries like APOCALYPSE NOW or AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD. I suspect that, were we to select this category, the fruit of the ensuing discussion could be very edifying for the community on the whole; after all, to muse about what separates the schlock and the mere entertainment from the truly valuable is not always an easy task, particularly in a genre where films can, and often do, display contradictory instincts. I'm very, very interested to see how this community would separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were, to sort the compelling, extraordinary works of art from the gratuitous and the tawdry.

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Posted · Report post

I second Ryan's suggestion - I'm by no means savvy or up to date on the horror genre, but I'd love to see where such a discussion/process would go.

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Posted · Report post

Sehnsucht (pronounced [ˈzeːnzʊxt]) is a German noun translated as "longing", "yearning" and "craving"[1], or in a wider sense a type of "intensely missing". However,Sehnsucht is almost impossible to translate adequately and describes a deep emotional state. (Wikipedia)

Reminds me of the Japanese word 'setsunai,' except that one is more narrowly construed as bittersweet and usually applies to relationships.

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Posted · Report post

What is a "thriller/horror" film? Is it both thrilling and scary?

Or are you trying to say that this list be composed of either thrillers or horror movies? (In which case, what makes a thriller? Can a straight action movie -- say, Face/Off -- make the cut?)

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Posted (edited) · Report post

The only reason I used the term "thriller" is because I've often heard people say things like, "PSYCHO isn't really a horror film. It's more of a thriller." I suppose the distinction isn't major, but thriller, I think, suggests an emphasis on suspense. I was trying to create a category for the films that disturb and terrify, and I didn't want to eliminate films like PSYCHO or PEEPING TOM by using the label "horror."

Edited by Ryan H.

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Posted · Report post

Why not Top Comic Films or some iteration thereof, like Top Satires or Black Humor? Although I now kind of regret nominating M. Hulot for the top 100, I would like to see how a faith community handles comedy. This angle would dovetail nicely with the neglected Golden Age period that has been mentioned.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

The only reason I used the term "thriller" is because I've often heard people say things like, "PSYCHO isn't really a horror film. It's more of a thriller." I suppose the distinction isn't major, but thriller, I think, suggests an emphasis on suspense. I was trying to create a category for the films that disturb and terrify, and I didn't want to eliminate films like PSYCHO or PEEPING TOM by using the label "horror."

Well, the people who said that are just plain wrong! I suppose "movies that terrify and disturb" works as a list. It's subjective, but workable. I'll nominate

:) Edited by David Smedberg

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Posted · Report post

Well, the people who said that are just plain wrong!

I hear it often enough. You'll find horror aficionados who, when confronted with something like REPULSION or THE TENANT, will suggest that those films aren't "horror," per se, but thrillers. I don't know that there is any serious weight behind those distinctions; among such individuals there seems to be a gut feeling that "horror" will be more outright bone-chilling and visceral than some of these more restrained exercises.

Looking at the Wikipedia page for the thriller genre, it defines the genre thus: "Thriller is a genre of literature, film and television that uses suspense, tension and excitement as the main elements [ . . . ] Thrillers are mostly characterised by an atmosphere of menace, violence, crime and murder by showing society as dark, corrupt and dangerous." The Wikipedia page for horror describes it this way: "Horror films are unsettling movies that strive to elicit the emotions of fear, disgust, and horror from viewers . . . Horror films deal with the viewer's nightmares, hidden worst fears, revulsions, and terror of the unknown." That there is some overlap between the two seems to be to be quite clear, given those descriptions, and PSYCHO would seemingly fit comfortably in either camp.

I suppose "movies that terrify and disturb" works as a list. It's subjective, but workable. I'll nominate
:)

Well, I think we could just call the list "The A&F Top 10 or 25 Horror Films," and then just nuance our definition of horror in a preface, underlining that horror can come in different forms, both visceral and more existential, and that the underlying trend is that they strongly seek to evoke something of terror in the viewer, to explore the darker side of human existence.

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Posted · Report post

Most passionate process of reasoning wins, and so far Ryan is in the lead. Not to mention the fact that I most like this idea for our first list, anyway. :) But I am NOT watching The Exorcist again. EVER.

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Posted · Report post

Well, I think we could just call the list "The A&F Top 10 or 25 Horror Films," and then just nuance our definition of horror in a preface, underlining that horror can come in different forms, both visceral and more existential, and that the underlying trend is that they strongly seek to evoke something of terror in the viewer, to explore the darker side of human existence.

Yeah, I like this. (And sometimes I wish A+F had a "like" button like facebook does just for such instances as these when I want to express approval but have nothing else to add.

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Posted · Report post

Turns out I do have something to add. Top 10/25 Horror Films has my vote for the first list but I thought I'd add another to the list for future editions.

Best Films about Education (The Class, Etre Et Avoir, etc.)

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Posted · Report post

I always need to be careful before I weigh in because I realize my voice comes with a lot of baggage, to mix my metaphors.

In short, as the leader of the organization now sponsoring A&F, I may be seen, rightly or wrongly, as having mixed motives.

Having said that, I'll just say what I think.

I think we can find both marketing and educational value in a single short list. (I may be naive but I see marketing as serving education.)

Yes, a short list helps with marketing, both in off-years when we won't be doing a new Top 100 and in general, because we may saturate the media if we only talk about the Top 100.

But this community is a precious resource -- a sort of "brains trust" -- and the short lists it can come up with will be just as interesting as the Top 100 list.

The only thing I believe should remain a constant point of reference is the whole "arts and faith" aspect. It's IMAGE's mission and the very name and core identity of this board. It's what is unique about us.

I'm not saying you-all couldn't come up with a list of the best movies about baseball or whatever, but if you're going to do baseball, you should do baseball stories with a faith dimension or implication. (Yes, I know that stirs up its own debate.)

To take one example from the discussion, a strong case could be made that horror films have an inherent interest in the spiritual, not just as a plot device based on hellish minions but because they are invested so heavily in morality and for lack of a better term "ultimate questions." (It's late.)

Notice that by selecting the horror genre I'm not saying that every list should be the Top 10 movies about priests/ministers/saints or the Top Jesus Movies. We could move back and forth from explicit to much less explicit when it comes to these lists.

Anyway, just a few random thoughts....

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Posted · Report post

That's well put, Greg. I'm really pleased to see that horror/thriller has risen to the top of this discussion because those films can, but seldom do, raise the "ultimate questions," and I agree that if we're going to do these smaller lists, our focus should be on those questions first and foremost. Marriage, aging/death, Sehnsucht (I love this word), transformation -- these are topics where our lists can offer real value.

I hope that we can get the final list up to 20 or 25, a number high enough that it allows us to sneak in some quirkier, out-of-left-field favorites, but small enough that we don't dilute the pool. Buckeye, I have no doubt that these lists can be educational while also serving Greg's marketing interests. It doesn't have to be either/or. But if we want them to have a pedagogical function or to be canon-expanding (my favorite outcome of quirky lists), then we have to be willing to do the work. If we as a community don't take the time to write up solid defenses of our choices, then it'll be one more traffic-generating list, and the Internet is already drowning in those.

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Posted · Report post

I'm liking all I'm hearing. Especially the marketing + education + canon-expanding thoughts.

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Posted · Report post

Pretty small number of votes so far, no?

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Posted · Report post

If we as a community don't take the time to write up solid defenses of our choices, then it'll be one more traffic-generating list, and the Internet is already drowning in those.

Absolutely.

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