Thursday, August 2, 2012


Honestly, I had actually planned on writing on something else today, but that quickly changed when the results of "Sight & Sound"s poll were revealed, and low and behold, for the first time since the fifties, "Citizen Kane," fell off the top of the list. I've discussed this poll before, and while I'm still very annoyed that, as a critic, I wasn't invited to participate for reasons I can't understand-

(Lawyer's note: David Baruffi is being facetious, he knows that he's small a relatively unknown blogger/critic, who writes this blog for free, and has little-to-no name recognition in the movie critic world at large, at least as of the time of the poll)

but the poll, while essentially meaningless like all lists, has had the stature of promince for years in the film world, and to find the list has now dethroned the film that has forever reign on top, is certainly an eye-opener. They formed two lists, the one I'm talking about right now, is the Critic's list, which has been the prominent one for decades, but recently they added a Director's poll, and they have their own list. They're gonna publish the complete results, including what each critic and director voted for personally, in their latest issue, and probably online as well, but here's the top sheet, of the Top Ten, below.

1. Vertigo (Hitchock, 1958)
2. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
3. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
4. The Rules of the Game (Renoir, 1939)
5. Sunrise: A Song for Two Humans (Murnau, 1927)
6. 2001: A Space Odyseey (Kubrick, 1968)
7. The Searchers (Ford, 1956)
8. Man with the Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1929)
10. 8 1/2 (Fellini, 1963)

1. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
3. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
4. 8 1/2 (Fellini, 1963)
5. Taxi Driver (Scorsese, 1975)
6. Apocalypse Now (Coppola, 1979)
7. The Godfather (Coppola, 1972)
8. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
9. The Mirror (Tarkovsky, 1974)
10. Bicycle Thieves (Di Sica, 1948)

Let me first state that the only movie on either list that I haven't seen is F.W. Murnau's "Sunrise". It's on my Netflix, and I can guarantee that it's gonna get moved up significantly in the near future. As to some thought, clearly the critic's mind are deep in the past. Both are actually, no film made even as early as the '80s made either list, "2001...", made in '68, was the latest on the Critic's list, and they even included a record, three silent features on the list. There was never more than 1, on any previous list until now. It's also quite clear that they didn't take much of me, when I offered my Top Ten list, a few months back.

1. Casablanca (Curtiz, 1942 )
2. The Godfather (F. Coppola, 1972)
3. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
5. Wings of Desire (Wenders, 1987)
6. The Maltese Falcon (Huston, 1941)
7. Metropolis (Lang, 1927)
8. Rashomon (Kurosawa, 1950)
9. Pulp Fiction (Tarantino, 1994)
10. Lost in Translation (S. Coppola, 2003)

Only three of the film I would've picked made either of the lists, but I'm talking about their list, and frankly, I got say this, what the hell are they thinking?! I wouldn't rank "Vertigo," on a list of Ten Hitchcock films, much less on this list, and I certianly would never rank it ahead of "Citizen Kane". Yeah, I picked two movies ahead of it, but I made a personal list, as I presume most of the voters did as well, and besides, the poll that's taken isn't ranked, it's chosen by how many votes a movie gets. "Vertigo" got 34 votes, more than "Citizen Kane". I'm seen "Vertigo," at least three times, I think I've seen it five times overall, and I've written on it. In fact, my next post after this, in honor of the list, I'm gonna post a Canon of Film entry on it. I consider it an important and influential film, but not a film of this quality, not by a longshot, and frankly, it's place on this list baffles me. Am I the only one that constantly finds myself asking, throughout the whole film, "How is that even possible?" The plot of the movie, and the actual events, if you follow them closely, are just outlandish to be believed. That's not necessarily a dealbreaker in a movie. In fact, most defenders of the film explain that "Thriller are never meant to be logical", I've heard people like Adrian Lyne says things to that effect. I don't think that's an argument, 'cause I can give you dozens of examples where that's wrong. "Goodfellas," off the top of my head, completely different kind of thriller, but I know what they're talking about. They're saying that it's not really believable that Bruce Willis can hang off the end of a skyscraper on a fireman hose, to avoid being blown up and then do the thousand of other things he does that film. But, I never find myself asking questions like "How can he do that?" in that film. I never ask, "Why did Cary Grant get picked at random in "North By Northwest," or why do those birds go after Tippi Hedren, or even, why did Janet Leigh end up at that Bates Motel? I always find myself asking these questions in "Vertigo", and I'm amazed nobody else seems to do. They obviously mustn't if they rank it higher than "Citizen Kane" now. Also, because the movie is about Stewart's slow descent into obsessiveness. Most of Hitchcock's other characters don't devolved the way they do in "Vertigo", and I think that's appealing, and the strongest aspect of the film, but why did it have to go through such a ridiculous story to make him become obsessed?

I'll discuss my quibbles with "Vertigo," more on my Canon of Film blog, but I strongly disagree with it's ranking, and frankly, the fact that more people are finding "Vertigo" greater than "Citizen Kane," scares me. As for the rest of the lists, I don't have a lot of strong objections. I certainly think "The Searchers," is overrated, but I'm not complain that much about it. I'm also a little baffled by this sudden affection for Dreyer's films, although I do like "The Passion of Joan of Arc". I'm surprised the Director's chose "Taxi Driver," over "Raging Bull" in terms of Scorsese, but I'm glad they placed both "The Godfather" and "Apocalypse Now," on their list. If many of you remember, when I made mine, I consciously chose only "The Godfather," and based on a 1 film/per director theory, chose to not put "Apocalypse Now" on, and I probably shouldn't have. It is a subjective list, of course, like all are. Although the other big one I will not understand is the director's choosing Tarkovsky's "The Mirror". Of all his film "The Mirror"! That's the one that's three hours of boring, personal, autobiographical inconprehensible crap. Why not one of his other films? "Andrei Rublev" made the Top 50, I would've thought "Solaris," if I was going with one of his, but defiinitely not "The Mirror". That one is a big mistake. Maybe bigger than putting "Vertigo" over "Citizen Kane" even. Hopefully, this'll be changed in ten years, when people see the error of their ways, and all will be right with the world then. Still, good list of films to watch if any of you haven't yet, including myself, I'll be doing that as soon as I can.


Andrea Ostrov Letania said...

"Of all his film "The Mirror"! That's the one that's three hours of boring, personal, autobiographical inconprehensible crap."

It's 107 min.

David Baruffi said...

REALLY! That was only 107 minutes of my life! Well it sure as hell felt like at least three hours, but thanks for the correction.