The Year the Sight and Sound Poll Died

For over 60 years the British Film Institute (BFI) and Sight & Sound (I subscribe to) have published a list of the top 100 films of all time.  It’s a closed survey – they reach out to over 1000 directors, producers, critics etc. and only do it once every 10 years.  The idea is to not have a survey subject to the whims of the latest hot thing and that only people who should know what they are talking about should vote.

The last one was 2012.  Vertigo and Citizen Kane were #1 and #2.  I have been waiting  anxiously for this years poll.  In the cinema world this is a BIG deal.  It came out this morning.  A 1975 Film called  Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (yup – the whole thing) was voted #1.

A 3 hour movie about a Belgian disaffected part time prostitute female which excruciatingly follows her daily movements and life.  Purpose.  To expose the patriarchy and remind us all how oppressed women are.  A female director of course.  No DW Griffith or others (see below) even in the top 100.

How did this happen.  How did the most revered poll in cinema history come to this.  More female voters this time. Many aching at the chance to jump in and upvote a female director and a female story.  So… a clearly well thought of film that most people never heard of jumped from #35 in 2012 all the way to #1.  Ahead of Citizen Kane and Vertigo.  I’m still stunned.  Was going to post something to Twitter but then noticed that the self-proclaimed cinephiles on there – all of whom are progressives – are falling all over themselves to congratulate themselves and the world that a female directed film made #1.  Not wanting to be flamed I decided not to.

We have a process degraded by the need to make things right and check the boxes and get the “right” result.  Doomed is a strong word but the fellow below says it better than I could.

From a post called “The Year the Sight & Sound Poll Died”

“Earlier this year, I begged voters not to politicize the Sight and Sound poll. I felt like it was not just a possibility, but a potential inevitable, that voters would blur the lines between politics and cinema history.

I wrote: “A shake up is no doubt about to occur due to how hyperpoliticized things have become these last 10 years […] If there’s one thing I can plea for, with voters of this decade’s edition of the poll, is to please keep the woke politics out of it. No, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” and “Moonlight.”

Welcome to my nightmare.”

Indie Wire:

Old masters who once appeared in the Top 10 are gone from the Top 100 altogether: Rene Clair, D.W. Griffith, Robert Flaherty, Erich von Stroheim, Marcel Carne, and David Lean.Drudgery – this is #1 because – wait – it’s a woman’s film by a woman and you know – we all patronize and oppress them to the end of the world.  This poll now has zero meaning or credibility or attachment to the real world.

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