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Top 100 Recommendations and Lobbying


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5 minutes ago, Rob Z said:

Thanks for clarifying, Ken. I will still be voting for Red Beard.

YW. I think it was somewhere in the process discussion. To summarize, my thoughts were:

  • The Top 25 may be reshuffled slightly anyway.
  • While differences in ordinals may seem broad, differences in the voting scores themselves were negligible. (I believe the difference in adjusted scores between Pather Pachali and The Music Room was 0.08. 
  • The raw voting score seemed more reflective of what we think than the ordinals, and some of the lower ranking films were depressed in score because people assigned scores to them based on the assumption (valid at the time) that it would be the 2nd film on the list and not the only one.
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I'm going to make a pitch for Faust over Sunrise and Through a Glass Darkly over The Seventh Seal, partially because they're both lesser known than the other films, and consequently I believe should be championed more so. But more importantly, I think they're both better fits for the list, which is no doubt influenced by both of them being my favorite Murnau and Bergman films. I think the list needs one cosmic wager between God and Satan, a la Job, and Murnau's visually stunning depiction is still one of the most beautiful things every captured on film. The build to the end that God is Love, and is a love that can work with any imperfect human love for their salvation makes this one of the more overtly spiritual films that I think the list needs.

Through a Glass Darkly is more subtle in its spirituality than The Seventh Seal, but it holds onto hope extremely faintly, and its balance of that hope and despair in the midst of a crisis of faith makes it the richer choice, imo. And it frankly wrestles with the notion that God may not be all good, and while we have films about God's silence or doubts of his existence, I think one that questions his goodness should be included too.

The hardest choice for me is the Rosellinis. I'll probably go with Rome, Open City, if only because for a life of a saint film, I'm picking Joan over Ordet, mostly because Maria Falconetti. And I should be able to watch A Tale of Winter by Wednesday at the latest.

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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4 hours ago, Joel Mayward said:

The Kid with a Bike makes me cry every single time, because Samantha is one of the strongest embodiments of human goodness I have ever witnessed. And I agree with Darren's observation that The Son is one of the only films—if not the only film—the brother have made without a strong female character at the center of the narrative. So, I'm torn...but I'm leaning toward The Kid with a Bike.

Also, while I love both Malick films, I will advocate for The Tree of Life here. A Hidden Life is definitely the most overtly religious (i.e. Christian) of Malick's films (which is saying something!), but The Tree of Life is, I would argue, the most spiritually significant, both in the way that we've defined it here, and in a wider sense for whatever audience reads the list.

Very well said on both films, Joel. I've already voted, but I broke both for The Kid With a Bike and The Tree of Life (as I stated earlier I would). I said elsewhere on the board (why do I always put such posts in the wrong place?) that the Miyazakis were by far the most difficult choice for me.

"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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I'm hoping The Tree of Life wins out over A Hidden Life. I certainly have my personal bias here, since Tree of Life has been on my personal top 5 for years and I didn't really connect with A Hidden Life, and maybe it's just that when I saw Tree of Life at an impressionable age I was subconsciously ready for a rhapsodic Malick phase which is unrepeatable nine years later. It still seems to me that Tree of Life is a film of unfathomable depth and spiritual power, a film bursting with variety that can be explored endlessly and always remains surprising. A Hidden Life, beautiful as it is, seemed to exist in a space of lower dimensionality. I'm not sure I was surprised at any point or saw anything I haven't seen before. I don't like saying this about what I'm sure is a heartfelt tribute to a Catholic saint, but I felt like all the events were distant and ethereal, seen through a sort of spiritual haze, to the degree that it seems to show a narrower universe than Tree of Life, despite the relentlessly wide-angle cinematography. I have personal preferences about some of the other choices, but this is the one where I feel prepared to say that one film is really better and more profound than the other.

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