July 31st, 2011

The Sight & Sound Top 10 list

Every 10 years, the British Film Institute's film journal, Sight and Sound, does something really cool. They poll a selection of prestigious international critics and directors and ask them all for their top 10 films. Then they tally the films with the most votes and release the lists: the Directors' Top 10 films of all time, the Critics' Top 10 films of all time, the Directors' Top 10 Directors of all time, the Critics' Top 10 Directors, and the list of all films voted for, along with who voted for each one.

("Top 10" is deliberately left subjective. It can be top 10 favorites, top 10 "best", top 10 whatever. E.G. if you're Tim Robbins, it's an opportunity to include random films you just love a lot. If you're Anurag Mehta, it's an excuse to celebrate mainstream American blockbusters. If you're Yiwen Chen, it's a chance to make sure Asian film directors don't get erased in the wash of European film influences.)

For a long time --5 or 6 years-- I've had a goal to watch all the films on the list (874 in all, if you combine series) before the new list comes out in 2012. I even have a spreadsheet wherein I track my progress. But sadly, up til this year, despite saying forever I was going to do it, I had only seen a handful of films on the list. At the beginning of 2011, I'd seen only 166 films, barely 18% of the list, and most of those I'd seen before I ever heard of S&S. I basically just hadn't done much with the list besides stare at it a lot.

So I thought, oops, I only have a year to watch 700 films, I BETTER GET BUSY. So I did. Since January 1, I've watched 52 films, or 2 films a week, which isn't bad. More importantly, I've seen some amazing films that I probably would never even have heard of were it not for this list, because, let's face it, there aren't a lot of film aficionados in my life. Will I be able to finish the whole list before the new one comes out next year? Not a chance. But it won't stop me from trying. :D

I've really been enjoying it, so to commemorate having passed the 50-film mark for 2011, I thought I'd share images from my favorites of the films I've seen this year.

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