let's get the seven lines. (bookshop) wrote,
let's get the seven lines.
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Top 10 lists.

I promised myself that when I reached the milestone of having watched 100 films this year on the Sight & Sound top 10 list (not counting rewatches), I would celebrate by making my own top 10 list.

It just so happens that I am due to see my 100th film later today - To Sleep With Anger by Charles Burnett. And since today also happens to be my birthday, I figure I would jump the gun a bit, and make my list now.

If the gods of cinema were to send me my Hogwarts Sight & Sound letter right now, saying, 'OH, GREAT AND WISE CRITIC, SHARE WITH US YOUR TOP 10 GREATEST MOVIES,' I would flail a lot and drive myself into fits, much as it seems a bunch of the actual voters did :D

In my head, right now, there are two lists.

First, the, 'Fuck This Noise, I'm Really Not In the Mood To Contribute to the Further Eulogizing of The Straight Euro Dude And His Emo Pain' list, which basically looks like this:

  • Cries and Whispers / The Silence - Bergman <-- i realize this is cheating but i can't help but feel like Cries & Whispers is actually the prequel to The Silence, and so in my head they have kind of become two halves of the same movie. The same gorgeously tragic and beautifully incestuous movie. sdf;jka.
  • The Last Picture Show - Bogdanovitch
  • Killer of Sheep - Burnett
  • Daisies - Chytilová
  • Chungking Express - Wong
  • The Conformist - Bertolucci
  • Winter's Bone - Granik
  • Volver - Almodovar
  • Mulholland Drive - Lynch
  • Ten - Kiarastomi

    ETA: I want to say that I feel like this list is cheating in some ways, because there are straight white male directors on it, and I don't necessarily know that there should be. But to my shame, I don't feel qualified, or, still just haven't seen enough films yet, which could make this list. I would also tentatively put Meek's Crossing on this list, which is an excellent film--but it's a very new film, and like Winter's Bone I feel a bit hesitant in putting newer films on the list and claiming their "greatness" when I'm still kind of parsing out for myself what I think "greatness" even is or entails. It's not the directors; it's me. I haven't watched enough films that successfully subvert the canon, and that is my fault.

    And, wait, actually, I lied, because there's a third list: the Gay Serial Killer/Repressed Homicidal Derangee List. Which, quite honestly, I could totally just pass off as the real list, because every movie on here is amazing:

  • Strangers on a Train - Hitchcock
  • There Will Be Blood - Anderson
  • Cruising <-- no one on the planet loves this movie except for me and William Friedkin; I think it's honest-to-god brilliant. asdfk;as.
  • Vengeance is Mine - Imamura
  • Heavenly Creatures - Jackson
  • The Hour of the Wolf - Bergman
  • Night of the Hunter - Laughton
  • Audition - Miike
  • Vertigo - Hitchcock
  • Page of Madness - Kinugasa

    Which brings me to the 'Fuck it, i just really love this movie okay :((((' list, which, after forcing myself to make very painful omissions like La Regle du Jeu and Seven Samurai and Modern Times, and leaving out movies that probably can't hold their own in this list but which I love and admire beyond all reason like Hot Fuzz and The Princess Bride and L.A. Confidential and The Exorcist and Midnight Run and Suspiria and every Billy Wilder film and Back to the Future, and--and--ughhhh-- looks like this:

  • Andrei Rublev - Tarkovsky
  • Stalker - Tarkovsky
  • Talk to Her - Almodovar
  • Sweet Smell of Success - McKendrick
  • Winter Light - Bergman
  • The General - Keaton
  • Ordet - Dryer
  • The Third Man - Reed
  • Birth - Glazer
  • The Philadelphia Story</i> - Cukor. <-- this probably shouldn't be on here but it's my favorite film and I love it, so there.

    (I have no Fellini or French New Wave cinema anywhere on these lists, because as much as I really admire (and mostly really enjoy) all of their films, I can't help but resent and want to steer clear of lauding the, like, lost-genki-eurodude-struggling-to-understand-his-manic-pixie-anti-muse thing they all seem to have going. I finally, finally watched 8 1/2 and was just totally nonplussed the whole time. Maybe that was the point. Mostly I just wanted to bang my head against something. I feel like I've now watched the same Franco-Italian film about a wastrel 30-something and the sexually wanton but distantly unknowable woman-and-or-women who loves him, and who will probably end up killing herself later and giving him more to be emo and lost about, over a dozen times. THROW IN REWATCHES OF INCEPTION AND IT'S LIKE EIGHTY TIMES. Argh.

    And I have no Neorealism or Bresson because they depress me too much. Well. Bresson simultaneously depresses and makes me laugh in helpless despair. BRESSON IS NOT MY FRIEND.)

    And actually, once I spell it all out like this, coming up with the final list isn't that hard, because from each list, the movies that I can't live without are pretty clear:

    My Top Ten list:
  • Andrei Rublev - Tarkovsky - I have so many feelings about this film. I mean. He fucking murdered a horse, this is not an easy film to cope with, but I love it, I love it, I want to talk about it all the time. D:
  • Stalker - Tarkovsky <-- same with Stalker. I think this film actually broke something in my brain, I can't even quite express what it did to me. YOU CAN FILM ALL THE EMPTY BUILDINGS WITH LEAKY ROOFS, TARKOVSKY. ♥
  • Talk to Her - Almodovar
  • Cries and Whispers - Bergman
  • Strangers on a Train - Hitchcock
  • There Will Be Blood - Anderson
  • Last Picture Show - Bogdanovitch
  • Sweet Smell of Success - McKendrick
  • The Conformist - Bertolucci
  • Birth - Glazer

    And I would just like to state, for the record, that not having any Asian films or female directors on this list just so that I could include both Tarkovsky films is killing me. KILLING ME. But what killed me even worse was the thought of leaving off Last Picture Show or Sweet Smell of Success, which were the two that I would have ceded place to Chungking Express and Winter's Bone, except I just couldn't bring myself to do it. NEVER YOU MIND, NEVER YOU MIND. And having to choose between Cries and Whispers and Winter Light and Ordet was physically painful, omg. THIS LIST IS A NIGHTMARE I HAVE NOW BEEN WORKING ON IT FOR LIKE TWO HOURS, WHAT WAS I THINKING WHEN I STARTED THIS. HOW CAN I DEFEND HAVING A FILM WHERE SOMEONE SHOOTS A HORSE ON HERE BUT NO NON-WESTERN DIRECTORS, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME I HAVE TO START ALL OVER AGAIN. BUT UGHHHHH I CAN'T NOT PUT TARKOVSKY ON HERE, I MEAN, STALKER GAVE HIM THE CANCER AND KILLED HIM AND NO ONE'S EVEN WATCHED IT WHEREAS EVERYONE'S WATCHED WONG KAR WAI AND KUROSAWA AND WINTER'S BONE IS TOO NEW AND OH MY GOD I NEED TO WATCH MORE FILM I AM CLEARLY NOT QUALIFIED TO MAKE THIS LIST.

    um. Ahem. Yes. As I was saying. Behold my top ten list. ....maybe consider it a work in progress.

    eta: I would like to make it clear that making this list made me very aware of the privilege involved in my choices and my favorites. This final list is intended to blend the ideas of "greatness" and "favorites" into a list that I'm proud to present as a Top Ten. But I struggled a lot, much more than the previous paragraph implies, with the implications of what I was leaving out--and I'm not, ultimately, certain that I can be proud to present a Top Ten list that has no women and non-western directors on it. This is not my final Top Ten, though, for the moment, it is my list of the films that I feel most emotionally connected to, and with. (See, I already feel like I should have just chucked it and put Winter's Bone on here.)

    I am emphatically not claiming that directors missing from this list, aren't good enough to make it on to this list; I'm trying to be honest about privileging the films that blew my mind, even though they don't subvert the canon in progressive ways. That's why the first list I made on this post is so important to me, because I want to continue to be aware that there are two lists in my head, one that tries to combat the privilege bubble, and one made within it--which is an act of privilege, but one I choose to exercise for the sake of also honoring my own basic preferences. For example, I could and should put any Almodovar film on this list--Almodovar, a gay director who makes stories about women look so easy and effortless and necessary; but I love Talk to Her the most, despite the fact that it is about male bonding and vehemently passive women, perhaps because I saw it first and there's that sense of discovery associated with it, this feeling that a film *got* me and that I got it--that moment of connection that will never leave me.

    I question my own selections (especially including Birth over any of the non-Western films). I struggled with them before I made the final list, and am still struggling. The list will evolve and it will change, and I hope that the next update will prove my commitment to being more proactive about seeking out diversity of director and filmic experiences. I am working on it, but I acknowledge--and I hope these lists all contain the implicit acknowledgement--that I need to work much harder.

    P.S. Inception types! There is another round of last year's fluff meme which I have barely gotten to stick my nose into, but it is beautiful and gloriously fluffy, and I would like to thank Bina for hosting it for me. Go there and enjoy!

    You can also read this entry on Dreamwidth, where there are currently comment count unavailablecomments!
  • Tags: 2011, film, gay serial killers, inception, life, me
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