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Evan C

BBC - Top 100 Films of the 21st Century

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177 critics from around the world.

Overall, no major surprises.

Quick first impressions:

No. 98's a fascinating and topical surprise for us
I'm thrilled with the top 4
no 5. I can't stand - as I'm sure most of you remember
The White Ribbon should not be ahead of Cache or Amour, but especially not Cache
Gone Girl should have been chosen over Zodiac and/or Social Network
the back to back Coen features are interesting choices, not mine, but still defensible
The Pianist, Only Lovers Left Alive, and A Separation should all be higher
nice to see three Wes Anderson films included
I really love the inclusion of Brooklyn, Ida, The Assassin, and Certified Copy
Please someone explain to me the appeal of Blue is the Warmest Color and Goodbye to Language

Edited by Evan C

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There are no Dardennes films on this list. This is a problem.

If the BBC had asked me, here's what I would have submitted:

  1. A Separation
  2. The Kid with a Bike
  3. Lost in Translation
  4. No Country for Old Men
  5. Moonrise Kingdom
  6. The Social Network
  7. WALL-E
  8. There Will Be Blood
  9. The Tree of Life
  10. Short Term 12

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I've not seen nearly enough of these, but I can definitely get behind the top three.

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It's a predictable list. I could nitpick it, but why bother?

I'm glad to see A.I., though. That masterwork very much deserves the critical reappraisal that it has undergone in the past decade.

In keeping with Joel's post above, here's what my ballot would have been (in alphabetical order):

  • 2046
  • A.I.: Artificial Intelligence
  • Faust
  • Inherent Vice
  • Mulholland Drive
  • Mysteries of Lisbon
  • Oldboy
  • A Serious Man
  • Wild Grass
  • Youth Without Youth
Edited by Ryan H.

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I was more interested in the contributor list, which has a lot of recognizable names but not any of the cinephiles that have been my go to resources over the years. That sample may contribute to some of the glaring absences. Not many of the real conversation drivers are here.

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19 minutes ago, M. Leary said:

I was more interested in the contributor list, which has a lot of recognizable names but not any of the cinephiles that have been my go to resources over the years. That sample may contribute to some of the glaring absences. Not many of the real conversation drivers are here.

It's also a pretty US/UK-centric set of critics--which is to be expected, I suppose. But I would have liked to have seen more critics from East Asia, Africa, etc etc etc. Then again, I have no idea what the critical culture is *like* in those places.

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That is a good point. I was stunned not to see Norte on this list, for example, considering its reception by Noel Vera - who is my go to for Filipino cinema.

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It's some kind of a list. What does it matter what you say about lists?

I'm rather interested in what the academics are doing. Looks like Tom Gunning did a good thing by listing a lot of avant-garde titles. 

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My list of most important 21st century narrative filmmakers begins with Godard, Jia, Hou, Denis, Tsai, Apitchatpong, Kiarostami, the Dardennes, and Garrel. Combined, they've released 57 features since 2000, eight of which made the list. Jia, Tsai, the Dardennes, and Garrel were shut out completely. Weird list.

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7 hours ago, M. Leary said:

I was more interested in the contributor list, which has a lot of recognizable names but not any of the cinephiles that have been my go to resources over the years. That sample may contribute to some of the glaring absences. Not many of the real conversation drivers are here.

Since I don't have many go-to cinephiles, I tend to use lists like these to locate new ones. In this case, Jordan Hoffman, a critic who has until now flown under my radar, has captured my attention by being the only one to list both Into Great Silence and Of Gods and Men. A Serious Man also tops his list. Sounds like he'd be a natural for A&F membership, no?

Since not a single person listed Golden Door in their personal Top Ten, and since Carlos Saura is nowhere to be found, I can only conclude that this poll is a sham.;)

Edited by Nathaniel

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My list would probably have been:

  1. WALL-E
  2. The Pianist
  3. Moonrise Kingdom
  4. Paprika
  5. Frances Ha
  6. A Separation
  7. Once
  8. United 93
  9. Mulholland Dr.
  10. Two Days, One Night

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16 hours ago, Nathaniel said:

Since I don't have many go-to cinephiles, I tend to use lists like these to locate new ones. In this case, Jordan Hoffman, a critic who has until now flown under my radar, has captured my attention by being the only one to list both Into Great Silence and Of Gods and Men. A Serious Man also tops his list. Sounds like he'd be a natural for A&F membership, no?

Since not a single person listed Golden Door in their personal Top Ten, and since Carlos Saura is nowhere to be found, I can only conclude that this poll is a sham.;)

Is Jordan Hoffman a pseudonym for someone here? Has to be.

His RT page: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/critic/jordan-hoffman/

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Glad to see Alissa Wilkinson among the 177.  Nice list from her, with Once and Selma the happiest surprises.

Edited by Brian D

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I couldn't resist joining in the fun, so here are my Top Ten: 

-          The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik, 2007) – a visually sumptuous and historically accurate meditation on the costs of celebrity obsession

-          Begin Again (John Carney, 2013) – an immersive, smile-inducing tale of musicians wrecking and rebuilding their lives

-          Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014) – completely worth the 12 year wait

-          The Broken Circle Breakdown (van Groeningen, 2012) – don’t watch this bluegrass-inflected family drama out of the Low Countries unless you’re ready to be wrecked for a couple of days

-          Embrace of the Serpent (Guerra, 2015) – a trippy black and white stunner filmed and set in the South American jungle

-          The Great Beauty (Sorrentino, 2013) – psychologically rich, with visual surprises around every corner, this is my favorite of the bunch

-          Kings and Queen (Desplechin, 2004) – the best of Desplechin’s sprawling, touching, and intermittently hilarious family dramas

-          Moonrise Kingdom (Anderson, 2012) – my most beloved of Wes Anderson’s dramedies about men-children and kids playing at adult

-          No Country for Old Men (Coen Brothers, 2007) – a perfect melding of the dark Americana of Cormac McCarthy and the Coen Brothers

-          Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001) – my gateway drug into the splendid anime of Studio Ghibli

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On August 23, 2016 at 9:25 AM, M. Leary said:

I was more interested in the contributor list, which has a lot of recognizable names but not any of the cinephiles that have been my go to resources over the years. That sample may contribute to some of the glaring absences. Not many of the real conversation drivers are here.

I'm curious, what critics do you think are missing?  Or rather, which ones do you miss the most?

I was actually impressed by the number of top names and critics who I admired who showed up on the list.  True, a few of the very biggest names didn't show, like Jonathan Rosenbaum, Dave Kehr, A.O. Scott, and Manohla Dargis, but not everyone can or should participate in every list.  Among those who voted, I quite admire/enjoy Richard Brody, Bilge Ebiri, David Ehrlich, Alexander Horwath, Kent Jones, Glenn Kenny, Michael Koresky, Guy Lodge, Adrian Martin, Drew McWeeny, Farran Smith Nehme, Matt Zoller Seitz, and Kristin Thompson(!), and there are a number of others whose reviews I have read with interest.  In fact, looking at it just now, I'm a bit staggered by the breadth of that list.  There are some very, very highly respected people on here, and some who have a great deal of power/reach.

 

As to the list itself:  Not very surprising, especially if you keep up with the list at They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?.  I would have liked to see some non-Pixar animation beyond Spirited Away, and the lack of any Terence Davies on the list is a crime.  (But who would have guessed that only Finding Nemo and Ratatouille would make the list over Wall-E or The incredibles or Inside Out?) (EDIT: Actually Wall-E is sitting right there at #29, silly me, and Inside Out is at #41.)  And it would have been great if something by Johnnie To had managed to slip through.  I suspect part of the problem lies in only soliciting a Top 10 from the voters.  They only have room for the masterpieces, not the exciting genre fare that may be a favorite but is difficult to place above other obvious choices.  On the other hand, ask for too big a list and you probably wouldn't get as many respondents because it would be too much work.  Biggest surprise:  Brooklyn sitting at #48.  I loved the film, but how it got more votes than, say, The Royal Tenenbaums or Once Upon a Time in Anatolia or something, is beyond me.

Edited by StephenM
correction to info

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Michael Sicinski, Noel Vera, Nick Pinkerton, Amy Taubin, no one from Twitch. I, like everyone else, read stuff from that list of names you included.

Like Darren said: "Jia, Tsai, the Dardennes, and Garrel were shut out completely"

Which is unexpected to me, given the sample size of critics I am exposed to. On the other hand, there is some representation from outside the US, and most of their lists look the same anyway.

 

Edited by M. Leary

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One person I follow noted that there seemed to be a dearth of comedy on the list (apart from animated films, perhaps).

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10 hours ago, M. Leary said:

Michael Sicinski, Noel Vera, Nick Pinkerton, Amy Taubin, no one from Twitch. I, like everyone else, read stuff from that list of names you included.

Like Darren said: "Jia, Tsai, the Dardennes, and Garrel were shut out completely"

Which is unexpected to me, given the sample size of critics I am exposed to. On the other hand, there is some representation from outside the US, and most of their lists look the same anyway.

 

- I like Sicinski and Pinkerton a lot, too.

- I agree the lack of those directors seem like major oversights.  Unfortunately, I myself have only seen 2 1/2 movies by any of them, and so can't really criticize.  I know, I know, they're on my to-see list!

-I decided to do some quick searches of the individual ballots.  The cut-off for inclusion in the top 100 was 6 votes.  The Dardennes had 7, but they were divided between The Son and L'Enfant.  Tsai got 5 votes for 5 different films.  Jia got 13 votes, but they were divided among 4 different films.  Garrel got 1 for Regular Lovers and 1 for Frontier of Dawn.  Terence Davies' The Deep Blue Sea got 2 votes, and The House of Mirth got 1.

Brian De Palma's Femme Fatale, which I would have loved to see on the list, got 5 votes.  Michael Mann got 1 vote each for Collateral and Miami Vice--I would have loved to see the latter get on here as well.  Jafar Panahi got 6 votes, for 4 different movies.  The Fellowship of the Ring got 2 votes, and Return of the King got 1.  Johnnie To and Satoshi Kon got a single vote each, for Sparrow and Millennium Actress, respectively.  There were no votes for Isao Takahata.

And yet Brian Truitt of USA Today voted for both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens.

Yeah, it's a weird list.

 

EDIT: Wait, scratch what I said about 6 votes being the cut-off.  They must weight things according to rank on the ballots.  Claire Denis's White Material barely made it on the list with just 3 votes, while her 35 Shots of Rum didn't make it but had 5 votes. (The Intruder got 2 votes as well.)  So if one or two people had just shuffled the order on their ballots a little, we could have switched out a lot of the bottom of the list.

Edited by StephenM
correction

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I'm overdoing it, but I can't stop:  3 votes for Chantal Akerman, 1 for Straub/Huillet, 0 for Lisandro Alonso, 1 for Sion Sono, 2 for Ermanno Olmi, 3 for Eric Rohmer, 2 for Jacques Rivette, 1 for Alain Resnais, 2 for Manoel de Oliveira, 3 for Raul Ruiz, 1 for Thom Andersen, 2 for Hong Sang-Soo, 4 for Hirokazu Koreeda, 4 for Lav Diaz, 4 for Patricio Guzman, 9 for Clint Eastwood--but not one of them made it on the list.  Make of that what you will. (And I might take it as a positive, since most of them did get some votes.)

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The real problem, Stephen, is that the list does not reflect my tastes. 

And I missed those votes for Diaz, all of which were from Philippines, Indonesia, and Cuba! And all three of those critics run closest to my list, interesting. Now that I look at this more, it is interesting to see how critics from places like UAE and India and Chile vote - in that there is not too much variance from that pool of great films appearing in western lists too. I wish someone with more time could write a quick analysis of this to test this whole idea that cinema is a global phenomena, as such correlations seem to imply this is the case.

Perhaps something else to celebrate about the list?

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11 hours ago, StephenM said:

I'm overdoing it, but I can't stop:

Please don't stop. I love this sort of analytical breakdown.

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