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kenmorefield

Top 100 for 2020 -- Organization

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21 minutes ago, Darren H said:

Another way the world has changed a lot since our last list is that I'm more conscious this time of how white and male the list is, which isn't surprising given the voters.

I was very conscious of this when making my list, at times choosing one filmmaker over another based on ethnicity, country of origin, or gender. And yet, mine is still a strikingly Western English-speaking male-directed list.

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On 3/30/2020 at 5:03 PM, kenmorefield said:

I sent e-mails to Brian and Ed, but in general I don't want my job as admin to be to nag people. 

Thank you for doing that Ken and for your help to get logged in again. I needed a nudge, since I haven't had time to be on here for ages. Social distancing changes that a little. This new means of nominating worked for my circumstance. I was very excited about the possibility of a top 100 when we finished the last top 25, and I had made a potential list at that time. So, once I got the email, I could get the list off right away with only a couple minor adjustments. And Brian, it's good to see you were able to finish a list too.

My nominations by the decade:
1920s: 5
1930s: 0 (Though I regret one I left off.)
1940: 3
1950s: 4
1960s: 4
1970s: 0
1980s: 3
1990s: 3
2000s: 0
2010s: 3

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I'll probably wait a day or two to see if any more lists come in before posting the full list of nominations. (I'm still not finished my own.) Fwiw, I've been copying/pasting the top 25s as they come in and removing duplicates without looking closely at any individual list. But I have a general sense of the nominations, and I don't think anyone will be disappointed by any notable absences. The canon is the canon for a reason!

And on that subject . . .

I began grad school in the mid-'90s and have read broadly in art history and theory in the years since, so I understood that mid-century Modernist cinema, especially in Europe, Russia, and Japan, grew out of the trauma of WWII. But revisiting some of the canonical films -- most recently, Late Spring, Night and Fog, and The Flowers of St. Francis -- has been more intense than I'd anticipated. Remember when we used to talk about rubble films? I'm really feeling that idea these days.

Edited by Darren H

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19 hours ago, Darren H said:

Another way the world has changed a lot since our last list is that I'm more conscious this time of how white and male the list is, which isn't surprising given the voters.

I was struck by this in my own list-making, too.  My list has two films by a woman filmmaker and one by a black Caribbean-born filmmaker.  In hindsight, I wish I'd gone back and rewatched Moonlight for possible inclusion, and considered one of the docs that has emerged from Syria in the past few years.  I won't be surprised if future film studies classes esteem those works as humanist treasures on a par with the Italian neo-realist classics.  Perhaps this'll be an exercise worth doing again in 3-5 years, with a stronger thrust towards inclusion of perspectives of people of color, woman, and the LGBT community.

Edited by Andrew

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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4 hours ago, Andrew said:

 I won't be surprised if future film studies classes esteem those works as humanist treasures on a par with the Italian neo-realist classics. 

Kind of stunned at this comment. In a good way.

In contrast, I had a hard time squaring contemplative, transcendent, slow, etc... as (personally) treasured qualifiers for this list in light of a proliferation of other forms over the past 20 years. I do have a lot of slow cinema on my list, but I wonder how such films will register generations from now when the films you are alluding to are canonized as the great humanist films of this era.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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It's sure been a fun distraction to agonize over something as low-stakes as a list of films that mean a lot to me! My nominations breakdown:

  • 1940s: 1
  • 1950s: 3
  • 1960s: 2
  • 1970s: 1
  • 1980s: 8
  • 1990s: 3
  • 2000s: 3
  • 2010s: 4

 

  • USA 5
  • USSR/Russia 4
  • Denmark 3
  • UK 3
  • Canada 2
  • Italy 2
  • Japan 2
  • Sweden 1
  • France 1
  • Iran 1
  • Ireland 1

The other thing about my list that I found noteworthy is that 12 were on the 2011 list. Would have been more but I left off a half dozen in my 15-25 ranking that I figured were either sure to be nominated by someone elseor that were by a director who had a film I loved more. When it came down to it, MY list of spiritually significant films (both construed subjectively or objectively) has a lot of overlap with the 2011 list. I included a few more recent ones but left off others I deem worthy of consideration simply because they haven't been as meaningful to me as some of the older, canonical ones.

My list is also not that diverse. I was moved by the recent conversation in this thread to include another film by a woman of color (in addition to another one) that had made my "long list" of about 90 films. The film it replaced is one I'm guessing might not be nominated by anyone else, but my last few inclusions felt pretty arbitrary among the riches of cinema to be considered.

 

Edited by Rob Z

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Whoever does the intro/write up for the list as a whole will need to address the fact that we had no female participants. 

I am technically Hispanic and I believe Joel identifies as well. Do we have any other voters who identify as non-white?

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On 3/30/2020 at 5:03 PM, kenmorefield said:

I sent e-mails to Brian and Ed, but in general I don't want my job as admin to be to nag people. 

I am not sure what kind of exception you mean, Rob. I would probably be okay with allowing some members to vote even if they didn't nominate. If you mean pushing back the nominations deadline, that might warrant a broader discussion. (I might be persuaded if there are specific individuals who request a finite amount of additional time but I am dubious about simply extending the deadline to see if more people show up. 

Anyone else want to offer up an opinion?

I missed the deadline. I know I'm not a semi-professional critic like most of you, but I have been a member of this board for eons and have participated in nominating and voting for every list since the beginning. But these are difficult times.


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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Thanks, Darren. Email sent. The list will now have one female participant. My work here is now half done!


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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Thanks, Beth. I've added it to the master list. We're definitely reaching some consensus. On average, each person has contributed 16 films (272 films divided by 17 voters). Last week the average was 21. I still haven't added mine, but more than half of my choices have already been nominated.

By the way, my career has transitioned over the past few years into business intelligence, so I've begun thinking about weighting models that might help in the final scoring. For example:

  • Film 1 receives 20 votes with an average score of 4.5.
  • Film 2 receives 3 votes (because the other 17 voters haven't seen it) averaging 4.67.

Do we all agree that film 1 should rank higher than film 2?

Edited by Darren H

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1 minute ago, Darren H said:

Thanks, Beth. I've added it to the master list. We're definitely reaching some consensus. On average, each person has contributed 16 films (272 films divided by 17 voters). Last week the average was 21. I still haven't added mine, but more than half of my choices have already been nominated.

By the way, my career has transitioned over the past few years into business intelligence, so I've begun thinking about scoring models that might help in the final scoring. For example:

  • Film 1 receives 20 votes with an average score of 4.5.
  • Film 2 receives 3 votes (because the other 17 voters haven't seen it) averaging 4.67.

Do we all agree that film 1 should rank higher than film 2?

Yes, I agree that film 1 should rank higher. Should be like voting for sports awards.


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Reviews and essays at Three Brothers Film.

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I'm also curious about a scenario like this:

  • Voter 1 has seen 275 of the 300 nominated films and gives Star Wars a 5.
  • Voter 2 has seen 115 of the 300 nominated films and gives Star Wars a 1.

Voter 1 will exercise more influence on the list by getting to vote more than twice as often, but should voter 1's score for Star Wars also be weighted more heavily than voter 2's? I'm pretty sure that if we get the weighting of score averages right, we shouldn't have to worry about weighting voters. It's an interesting data question, though.

* No one has nominated Star Wars. :)

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2 hours ago, BethR said:

I missed the deadline. I know I'm not a semi-professional critic like most of you, but I have been a member of this board for eons and have participated in nominating and voting for every list since the beginning. But these are difficult times.

What Darren said. Sorry Beth, I saw you had posted in other threads, so I assumed your decision not to participate was intentional. Glad to know I was wrong. 

Quote

By the way, my career has transitioned over the past few years into business intelligence, so I've begun thinking about weighting models that might help in the final scoring. 

This is an issue we've had to wrestle with for the Ecumenical Jury. In general, my principles are:

  • I'm strongly against weighting votes. 
  • Discrepancies that are pronounced should be handled by a threshold for the *film* being eligible. (For example, in EJ we had a threshold of around 40-50% of the eligible voters had to have seen the film for it to be eligible. 

I'm in favor of a second ranking poll, even if just for the Top 20. 

We should have 2-3 weeks once nominations are announced for people to lobby and for voters to check out films. One issue that's come up in the past, though, for both the first two bullets is that no matter how we organize it, there will end up being some incentive to watch a film one knows one won't score highly so that one can vote for it. (Example: Do I really need to watch all of the Phantom Thread if I've watched every other PTA film and not liked any of them? Most of the time in EJ the answer has been, "yes, because you never know if/when a movie will change your mind.) The flip side of that argument is that if a voter is secure enough in his or her own judgment, he may forego seeing some film and, by not voting at all, allow that film to rise higher than it otherwise would. (This is why a ranking ballot helps, in my opinion.) Example: Let's imagine somebody nominates God's Not Dead 3. All the people who would vote it low don't bother to watch it. A small but enthusiastic minority all rate it fives....and Bella wins the People's Choice Award at TIFF! The likelihood of this happening is very low based on the people who are still here, but if we welcome new voters and don't have any restrictions on who can participate, what's to keep a church or studio or publicist from telling people to cram the ballot box? 

Just my thoughts, not directions. Most of those potential problems have never and will never materials because of size, but it's worth giving them a passing thought so that if they do we have anticipated how we might respond. 

Passing thought in reviewing this thread...has anyone heard from Russ? he's not a frequent poster, but he did participate in the Top 25 last year.

 

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1 hour ago, Darren H said:
  • Film 1 receives 20 votes with an average score of 4.5.
  • Film 2 receives 3 votes (because the other 17 voters haven't seen it) averaging 4.67.

Do we all agree that film 1 should rank higher than film 2?

Yep. I'd vote Film 1 over Film 2 as it better reflects our wider community consensus. And as Ken said, for the EJ we've had the minimum of 50% of voters had to have seen a film for it to be eligible. Which left off some great films, to be honest, i.e. those which were more obscure or difficult to find but which were very highly rated by the few who had seen them.

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3 hours ago, BethR said:

Thanks, Darren. Email sent. The list will now have one female participant. My work here is now half done!

This is the best news I’ve read today. Thank you, Beth!


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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3 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

Example: Let's imagine somebody nominates God's Not Dead 3. All the people who would vote it low don't bother to watch it. A small but enthusiastic minority all rate it fives....and Bella wins the People's Choice Award at TIFF! The likelihood of this happening is very low based on the people who are still here, but if we welcome new voters and don't have any restrictions on who can participate, what's to keep a church or studio or publicist from telling people to cram the ballot box? 

My concentration isn't at its sharpest today, so I'll only hone in on this issue for now.  Are we still saying that only Top 25 list-makers are eligible to vote for the Top 100?  If so, that'll eliminate the potential for ballot box stuffing.


To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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For this particular iteration, yes.

I am speaking more broadly of the issues involved with voting (how to weigh voters, how to compare films that *everyone* votes on against films that have a small but enthusiastic bloc of voters.)

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5 hours ago, Darren H said:
  • Film 1 receives 20 votes with an average score of 4.5.
  • Film 2 receives 3 votes (because the other 17 voters haven't seen it) averaging 4.67.

Do we all agree that film 1 should rank higher than film 2?

I agree that film 1 deserves to be ranked higher, but I don't think that a model that weights votes and/or voters is the way to determine the ranking. 

 

4 hours ago, kenmorefield said:
  • I'm strongly against weighting votes. 
  • Discrepancies that are pronounced should be handled by a threshold for the *film* being eligible. (For example, in EJ we had a threshold of around 40-50% of the eligible voters had to have seen the film for it to be eligible. 

I'm in favor of a second ranking poll, even if just for the Top 20. 

I agree with Ken. A cutoff for films shouldn't be too high though. I think 50% or even 40% is too high, but 3 out of 20 seems too few to warrant a place in the Top 100. I don't know what a fair cutoff is, but if 7 out of 20 people have seen a film and are passionate about it enough to put it in the list, I think that warrants inclusion.

It seemed like the consensus earlier was for a second round to rank the results. I favor having a second poll for ranking all the results. That is, the 1-5 rating determines which films are in the Top 100 (but not their final ranking), and the second round determines the ordering of those 100 films.

The second round could involve submitting a ranked list of films (I'd say 25 is the right number, not fewer) from the unranked 100 and if someone ranked a film #1, it would get 25 points. If a film was ranked # 24, if would get 2 points.  The films that weren't ranked would get 0. All the results would get averaged then. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is how the second round of the most recent Top 25 worked.

If someone had only seen, say, 18 of the list of 100 films, they could just rank those 18. Or if someone had seen, say, 30, but only liked 21 of those (or thought only 21 of the ones they'd seen were worthy of inclusion on the list), they'd only have to rank 21. I think most of us will have seen many more of the final list of 100 films than that, but my point is that using the second round to rank all the films wouldn't necessarily force people to rank a film (and thus move it higher) if they'd seen it but didn't want to give it that support.

If only a handful of people had seen a film that still made it into the Top 100, and only a couple of them put it in their Top 25, it would receive fewer points than a widely liked but slightly less intensely loved film (like in Darren's scenario). If no one put a film in their top 25 (though every nominated film was in someone's original top 25...), then the ranking based on the 1-5 votes could determine the ranking of the bottom of the Top 100.

The other purpose of the second round would be just to determine that ranking of the Top 25 by submitting a list of 25 films (or Top 20 with 20 films or whatever). But I'd favor the second round being used to rank all the films in the second round. Then the 1-5 scale can truly be about how deserving a film is to be included on the Top 100, and not that but also its rank (which I think the 1-5 scale is poorly suited to determine).

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 I don't know what a fair cutoff is, but if 7 out of 20 people have seen a film and are passionate about it enough to put it in the list, I think that warrants inclusion.

This is one of those cases where our votes (the data) can tell us where the cutoff should be, if anyone is interested in pursuing that approach.

But, more importantly, can someone remind me what the final goal is? Ken, do you still have a book contract associated with this project? If so, what is your goal as an editor? Is it "The Top 100 Films" (which implies 100-1 ranking) or "100 Great Films" (which could be organized chronologically or thematically)? I'd find the latter more interesting to read, but it wouldn't be as click-baity/provocative.

One reason I ask is because I've been struck how my own top 25 films seem to fall into certain categories (post-war Modernism, the question of personhood, contemplative form, the problem of evil, etc.) that, frankly, would be more fun to write about than individual films.

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