Wednesday 15 August 2012

Sight & Sound: A Filmic Re-Education

If you are following my blog, you might have come across the interblogs film challenge I tackled last month, along with Martyn Conterio from Cinemart, where we listed our favourite films of all time. We published it daily, film by film, just as British film magazine Sight & Sound was about to publish it own, as it has done every decade for over fifty years now, having compiled the results from hundreds of critics' lists

Ours were lists of passion, with no snobbery, no showing off, with no other criteria than our love for film in general, and those films we picked in particular. I lamented the lack of classics in mine but I was not going to put some titles just to impress and to give it some credibility, and I still stand by it. Having said that, now that Sight & Sound has published its own list, I do feel a little guilty and inadequate.

Of course some have argued that the S&S list is predictable. The usual suspects figure in it, Citizen Kane, Tokyo Story, Vertigo, Sunrise etc... But as attracted as I am to a more alternative and experimental type of cinema, I feel guilty that I have seen so few films in their list. And while there has been a whole debate as to whether such a list is even relevant, there would almost be a certain arrogance from my part to ignore them.

I have seen my fair share of classics of course and a lot more films made before the 70's than my list might suggest. I even have a couple of older titles coming close to my top 20, Theorem and Le Corbeau to name a few. But still, so much to catch up on!

So I have decided to fill those gaping filmic holes and take you along for the ride! I have filled a separate Lovefilm list with a good selection of not just the films on the list (which is actually a top 100) but also individual suggestions from the critics who contributed, as published in S&S, and from directors also as a whole lot of them were also asked to vote for their favourites, in a separate list. And throughout the next months, I shall review each film as I watch them, with an honest point of view, without being intimidated by their reputation and status.

And to make things a bit more interesting and stick with one of the focus of my blog, I have also created another list based on the 100 Best Horror Films of All Time published by Time Out a few months ago (to which Martyn from Cinemart contributed by the way), to fill some other gaps in my horror culture, which I shall also review.

I will not publish my picks in advance to keep it interesting and there will be no particular order as I shall let Lovefilm decide which films they send me (I have kept yet another list full of more modern films which I do not want to abandon, far from it, so that I can keep my blog varied!). Each post will be labelled A Filmic Re-Education followed by the film title, to make it easier for readers to follow it through.

While it is a shame that most of them will be seen on DVD, the BFI in London has had the great idea to screen the titles in the top 10 over the next month, so if you are in London, make sure to catch them in that lovely venue. I said I would not reveal which films I was going to review but I have left a few clues with stills over this post, and there is one in particular I am intrigued by, Man with a Movie Camera, an experimental Russian film by Dziga Vertov, which will be showing at the BFI.`` It has been described as a cities symphony from the Soviet era, an agit-experiment that sees montage as the means to a revolutionary consciousness. Intriguing or what!

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