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They Make Lists of Movies, Don’t They?

Posted by martinteller on February 12, 2013

It’s that time of year, when the “They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They?” list has been updated.  I love making lists, something about organizing things and putting them in their place appeals to the little OCD monster in me.  As far as completing other lists, though, TSPDT is the only one I really care about.  It appeals to me because 1) it’s a long list and 2) it’s an aggregate.  No one person decides what goes on the list or what position to put each movie in.  It’s just math, taking all the other lists out there and smooshing them together.  Granted, there are some subjective measures… which lists to include, how to weigh old lists vs. new lists, and so forth.  But it’s about as “objective” a canon there can be.

This year’s update was highly anticipated because it comes after the Sight & Sound poll of 2012.  This resulted in the biggest shakeup of the TSPDT list to date, with lots of films moving up and down, and 124 replacements in all.  As I’ve done the past two years, I will be watching all the films I haven’t seen yet.  These are:

279. OUT 1, NOLI ME TANGERE (Jacques Rivette / 1971 / France / 729m / Col-BW)
436. NOUVELLE VAGUE (Jean-Luc Godard / 1990 / France, Switzerland / 88m / Col)
540. SICILIA! (Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet / 1999 / Italy, France, Switzerland / 76m / BW)
562. NUMÉRO DEUX (Jean-Luc Godard / 1975 / France / 88m / Col)
601. BLACK GIRL (Ousmane Sembene / 1966 / France, Senegal / 65m / Col-BW)
610. IN VANDA’S ROOM (Pedro Costa / 2000 / Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Italy / 170m / Col)
619. EMPIRE (Andy Warhol / 1964 / USA / 485m / BW)
628. CODE UNKNOWN (Michael Haneke / 2000 / France, Germany, Romania / 116m / Col)
638. FROM THE CLOUDS TO THE RESISTANCE (Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet / 1979 / Italy, West Germany, UK, France / 104m / Col)
652. LAST BOLSHEVIK, THE (Chris Marker / 1993 / France, Finland / 120m / Col)
691. OUTER SPACE (Peter Tscherkassky / 1999 / Austria / 10m / BW)
713. SEASONS, THE (Artavazd Peleshian / 1975 / USSR / 29m / BW)
733. CIÉNAGA, LA (Lucrecia Martel / 2001 / Argentina, USA, Japan, France, Switzerland, Spain, Brazil / 99m / Col)
734. COLOSSAL YOUTH (Pedro Costa / 2006 / Portugal, France, Switzerland / 155m / Col)
741. TALE OF THE WIND, A (Joris Ivens / 1988 / France / 80m / Col)
753. TIE XI QU: WEST OF THE TRACKS (Wang Bing / 2003 / China / 551m / Col)
778. NUIT DU CARREFOUR, LA (Jean Renoir / 1932 / France / 73m / BW)
779. UNSERE AFRIKAREISE (Peter Kubelka / 1966 / Austria / 13m / Col)
782. INDIA: MATRI BHUMI (Roberto Rossellini / 1959 / Italy, France / 90m / Col)
800. GRIN WITHOUT A CAT (Chris Marker / 1977 / France / 240m / Col-BW)
806. EXOTICA (Atom Egoyan / 1994 / Canada / 104m / Col)
812. LATE CHRYSANTHEMUMS (Mikio Naruse / 1954 / Japan / 101m / BW)
813. D’EST (Chantal Akerman / 1993 / Belgium, France, Portugal / 107m / Col)
814. DEATH OF MARIA MALIBRAN, THE (Werner Schroeter / 1972 / West Germany / 104m / Col)
822. SILENT LIGHT (Carlos Reygadas / 2007 / Mexico, France, Netherlands / 136m / Col)
869. MAN’S CASTLE (Frank Borzage / 1933 / USA / 66m / BW)
871. ARNULF RAINER (Peter Kubelka / 1960 / Austria / 7m / BW)
878. MOVIE, A (Bruce Conner / 1958 / USA / 12m / BW)
880. AS I WAS MOVING AHEAD OCCASIONALLY I SAW BRIEF GLIMPSES OF BEAUTY (Jonas Mekas / 2000 / USA / 288m / Col)
887. DOOMED LOVE (Manoel de Oliveira / 1978 / Portugal / 260m / Col)
931. ART OF VISION, THE (Stan Brakhage / 1965 / USA / 250m / Col)
964. INTRUDER, THE (Claire Denis / 2004 / France, Korea / 130m / Col)
968. FANTOMAS (Louis Feuillade / 1913 / France / 314m / BW)

That’s 33 in all.  However, I refuse to watch Out 1: noli me tangere since I’ve already seen Out 1: Spectre, which was long enough, thank you very much.  If the longer version happens to come out on DVD, I’ll check it out.  Otherwise I’m not going to bother.  My sense of completism only runs so deep.  Also, I don’t expect to be able to find The Art of Vision, but as always, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for it.

I’ll watch all the other ones, though.  It was suggested that I could watch the hour-long version of Empire and that would be good enough.  I’m undecided, and will probably research it a bit before choosing.  There’s an awful lot of incredibly long films here… I haven’t looked into it yet, but I suspect that TSPDT added a couple of “very long movies” lists to their formula.  I’m also greatly annoyed that I have to watch two more by Godard and two more by Huillet/Straub, but I’ll try to be a good sport about it.  As for the others, several were already on my watchlist and there’s a few I’ve never heard of.

Now for some lists of my own.  First, my 10 favorite new additions to the list.  By new, I mean movies that have never appeared on the TSPDT list before.

1. The Tree of Life
2. The Turin Horse
3. Syndromes and a Century
4. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
5. Cairo Station
6. Hoop Dreams
7. The Match Factory Girl
8. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
9. Rosetta
10. Le bonheur

Half of these are in my top 100 list.  How has Woolf never been on the list until now?  As for my least favorite new additions, I’m not very fond of A nos amours, Stardust Memories and especially Possession.

And now, the “We’ll Meet Again” list… 10 movies I’m sad to see fall off the list:

1. An Actor’s Revenge (Revenge of a Kabuki Actor)
2. Limite
3. Murder By Contract
4. Sleeper
5. The Heiress
6. Kanal
7. Babe
8. The Organizer
9. Night and the City
10. Gold Diggers of 1933

Especially downtrodden about the Ichikawa, which is one of my top 20 of all time.  Murder By Contract was the movie that sparked my film noir obsession.  And Babe is one that took me completely by surprise, I probably would not have watched it if it hadn’t been on this list.

Lastly, the “Good Riddance Club”… 10 movies I won’t miss at all:

1. The Age of the Earth
2. The War of the Worlds
3. Dead Poets Society
4. The Bridges of Madison County
5. In Praise of Love
6. They Died With Their Boots On
7. Samson and Delilah
8. A Man for All Seasons
9. The Unknown
10. Gunga Din

Some of these I would have never sat through if they hadn’t been here.  There are still some real stinkers on the list, but that’s the beauty of TSPDT… it doesn’t reflect any one person’s tastes.  It’s an excellent place for any budding cinephile to jump in and make some exciting discoveries.  Hopefully I’ll find some gems among the new additions I haven’t seen yet.  Watching of those should start in the next week or so.

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3 Responses to “They Make Lists of Movies, Don’t They?”

  1. JamDenTel said

    I hope you get to watch the 8-hour version of EMPIRE, just to see what kind of review you write for it.

  2. JC said

    Fantastic I’m glad you posted this or I wouldn’t have even known about this! Thank you.

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