Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sight and Sound's Top 10 Greatest Films

While I'm still composing my thoughts about the films of the 2012 San Francisco Silent Film Festival, I wanted to write a little about Sight and Sound's Greatest Film survey.  Published by the British Film Institute (BFI), Sight and Sound conducts a survey of critics, academics, etc. regarding the greatest films.   The survey is conducted every decade (2012, 2002, 1992, etc.).  I won't comment on the films which made the list or their relative ranking or even the films omitted.  Instead, I was amazed at how many of the top 10 films are available for viewing in the near future or have been screened in the recent past.

The Top 10 Greatest Films according to Sight and Sound are:

 9.   The Passion of Joan of Arc
 8.   Man With a Movie Camera
 7.   The Searchers
 6.   2001: A Space Odyssey
 5.   Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
 4.   The Rules of the Game
 3.   Tokyo Story
 2.   Citizen Kane
 1.   Vertigo

At the Castro Theater alone, you can see four of the top 10 this month!  Citizen Kane screens tonight at 8 PM.  Sunrise plays next Sunday (August 12) at 3:20 PM and 7 PM.  2001 has a two day run on August 26 and 27.  Vertigo plays over the Labor Day Weekend in 70 mm.

The Rules of the Game screens November 27 at the PFA as part of their Grand Illusions series.

I saw The Searchers last summer at the Castro.  I saw Tokyo Story two summers ago at the Viz.  I've seen The Passion of Joan of Arc twice in the past few years, most recently in December 2010 at the Paramount Theater in Oakland.

Man With a Movie Camera was accompanied by the Alloy Orchestra at the 2010 SF Silent Film Festival. I can still remember that memorable performance as the frenetic pace of the music perfectly matched Vertov's quick editing technique.

I seem to recall playing at the Castro in the last year or so.  If there was a screening at the Castro, I didn't attend it nor a 2009 screening at the PFA.

I've seen all 10 of the films; 6 of them since I started this blog.  I know I've seen Vertigo & Citizen Kane on the big screen prior to starting the blog.  The two films I have not seen on the big screen are 2001 and 8½.  I remember 2001 as one of the first films I watched when my family got a VCR in the 1980s.  I was fascinated by it and have watched it several times since then.  I can't recall when I saw ; I suspect it was on television.  

The entire Top 50 film list can be seen here as well as the Top 10 list from a survey of 358 directors including "Woody Allen, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Quentin Tarantino, the Dardenne brothers, Terence Davies, Guillermo del Toro, Martin Scorsese, Olivier Assayas, Michael Mann, Guy Maddin, Francis Ford Coppola, Mike Leigh, Aki Kaurismäki..."

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