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The list is out. Yes, that one--the list. I recounted my own history with Sight & Soundís once-a-decade survey of the greatest films ever made when the 2002 list came out. (In a weird way, one of my favourite things Iíve ever partici- pated in; the whole thing was set up by Scott Woods, and I didnít know until the very last e-mail exchange that the guy Iíd been sparring with, Andrew LaPointe, was 17. Still makes me laugh.) As indicated by the title of our exchange, 2002ís list represented something of a holding pattern. This yearís, less so--because the thing that many people thought might come to pass actually did, the 2012 list will make some news. Iím basically indifferent to Vertigoís ascension to #1. Given the choice between the two leading contenders, Iíd much rather Citizen Kane had held down the top spot once again--for one thing, Iíd still be able to announce to my students with a great dramatic flourish Kaneís half-century domination of the poll when I talk about Welles on his birthday next year--but seeing as Iíve made up many favourite-film lists of varying lengths over the years and not once put Kane on any of them, itíd be silly to get indignant. Iíve come to think of Vertigo as the On the Beach (Neil Young version) of the film canon; Iím convinced its stature owes at least something to the fact that it was long out of circulation, but I can also appreciate why its particular mood connects with people so deeply, even if I donít share that connection myself. The Godfather(s), which last time looked like they might make a bid for #1, are out (say the beginning and end of that sentence in your best Michael Corleone voice). Mostly thatís due to an accounting decision: last time, votes for the first two were added together, this time I and II were counted as separate films. If theyíd stayed with their initial decision, the combined vote total for the two would have grazed the lower reaches of the Top 10, down from #4 in 2002. I started out very much in favour of treating the first two as a single film (which is how they come together in my own head), but now Iím closer to being on the fence. I can easily explain why I think it makes much more sense to combine votes for the first two Godfathers than for Kieślowskiís Three Colors Trilogy. Iíd have a much tougher time trying to rationalize why it makes any more sense than to combine votes for all three Apu films, something I wouldnít agree with. So what makes me happy about this yearís results? I like that most--most, not all--of the hal- lowed names going back to when I was a film student 30 years ago still find their way into the Top 50 with at least one film. Iím like John McGiver in Breakfast at Tiffanyís: even though there are films on there I donít personally get much out of (8-1/2 is always the first example I point to), it gives one a feeling of solidarity, almost of continuity with the past, that sort of thing. I like that The 400 Blows, which has become one of my favourite films the past few years, still does pretty well (33 votes, good for 39th), and that Persona is still hanging on. Taxi Driver tied for 31st (with Godfather II, coincidentally)--if I had to settle on one of the core Scorsese films to push ahead of the others, thatíd be the one. And I like seeing films like Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles, Histoire(s) du cinema, and Andrei Rublev on there--strange films I would have once brushed aside with jokes and exasperation, but that now interest me a great deal. I still have a few more of those to catch up with. (Stalker, at #29, still inspires jokes and exasperation.) My biggest disappointment would be the absence of Nashville in the Top 50. Altmanís the kind of director who splits votes among a few films, and my guess is that, in total, he exceeded the 29 votes necessary to finish 50th. But Iím surprised that Nashville still hasnít emerged as the consensus choice, and surprised that Altmanís death, as death sometimes seems to, didnít give it a little extra push. And, in keeping with my great interest in documentaries the past few years (on the wane somewhat), I guess I would have liked to have seen one or two of my favourites show up somewhere towards the bottom of the Top 50...well, that just wasnít going to happen; thinking about the ones that mean the most to me, Iíd be surprised if any of them got a single vote. I may have some more to say when individual lists are printed (not until the print issue in September, it appears). Iíve refrained thus far from saying anything about Mulholland Dr. at #28. Letís keep it that way. Here's an ILX thread devoted to the poll, and also another. Elsewhere (not sure how long these links will remain valid): Scott Tobias, Ebert, David Edelstein, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Dana Stevens, Armond White, Richard Brody, James Wolcott, Peter Bogdanovich, Owen Gleiberman, Steven Rubio.

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