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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.


Play it As It Lays

Maria: I know something Carter never knew, or Helene, or maybe you. I know what “nothing” means, and keep on playing. BZ: Why? Maria: Why not, I say.

I almost fell over when I saw this smile in the closing seconds of “Play it as It Lays.” In my mind it ranked up there with Garbo on the bow of the ship in Queen Christina.

It’s Tuesday Weld in the 1972 film from the book with the same name by Joan Didion with Anthony Perkins. The film has been virtually lost. It’s not on streaming and unavailable as a DVD. It can be viewed on youtube thankfully.

I’ve been on a Joan Didion voyage the past week since her passing. It’s a hard film to watch and would have been better to read the book first.

It’s a cynical and acerbic story of a burned out B-Movie Actress that jumps and spins so rapidly it’s hard to follow. And that is intentional. The editing sets the pace and the emotional state of Maria (played by Tuesday Weld.) Rotten Tomatoes calls this: “an astringent, cynical movie that ultimately manages to spin one single timid thread of hope.”

In many ways it’s a precursor to Mulholland Drive. The abortion scene is one no one will forget. Too many memorable lines to quote here. This is my favorite: “Existentially, I’m getting a hamburger.”

Joan Didion on being an actress: “I wrote stories from the time I was a little girl, but I didn’t want to be a writer. I wanted to be an actress. I didn’t realize then that it’s the same impulse. It’s make-believe. It’s performance. The only difference being that a writer can do it all alone. I was struck a few years ago when a friend of ours – an actress – was having dinner here with us and a couple of other writers. It suddenly occurred to me that she was the only person in the room who couldn’t plan what she was going to do. She had to wait for someone to ask her, which is a strange way to live.

Too Many Kisses

For what it’s worth, Father Kinsella taught us Catholic boys to be careful and keep our hands to ourselves and never to make a female uncomfortable. I’ve done the best I can to comport myself accordingly.

However, at the risk of making a controversial statement, I do not want to live in a 1984 world where people are walled off from each other and human contact is closely monitored and regulated. We all need touch. Any reasonable emotionally mature adult, male or female, can immediately sense the difference between abusive and dangerous behavior, creepy or mildly inappropriate behavior, or simple acts of affection.

Things are getting out of hand.

Can the Sony Hack Save Blackberry – From pc Magazine


Photo and link from pc Magazine article.

From “Inside Blackberry” :

When its corporate e-mail servers were taken down by hackers last month, Sony Pictures was able to rebuild mobile e-mail access for its executives only via BlackBerry devices, reported The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times on Tuesday.

Sony “unearthed a cache of BlackBerrys, which still worked because they send and receive email via their own servers,” reported the Journal. The BlackBerry devices, along with other tactics, were key to the efforts of Sony’s IT department to keep its 6,000 employees productive in the aftermath of the cyberattack, which took down computers and landline phones during Thanksgiving week, as well as resulted in the temporary halting of the distribution of the movie,

Sitting Is the Smoking of Our Generation by Nilofer Merchant

Sitting Is the Smoking of Our Generation by Nilofer Merchant

My sports therapist at Performance Sports Chiropractic brought this up to me last week and I was horrified. The research shows that almost no amount of exercise can overcome extended sitting. We were not intended to sit!

” After 1 hour of sitting, the production of enzymes that burn fat declines by as much as 90%. Extended sitting slows the body’s metabolism affecting things like (good cholesterol) HDL levels in our bodies. Research shows that this lack of physical activity is directly tied to 6% of the impact for heart diseases, 7% for type 2 diabetes, and 10% for breast cancer, or colon cancer. ”

Read the article or watch his TED talk and stand up and move about more