Sight and Sound greatest films poll

This year, quite to my excitement, I was asked to participate in Sight and Sound magazine’s once-per-decade poll of film critics to determine “The Ten Greatest Films of All Time.” (Previous decades’ results can be found here).

Making lists of this sort is always somewhat arbitrary. I added to the arbitrariness by saying only one film per director. In any case, six months from now the list I would make might well be quite different. Also, when I make a list like this, I inevitably forget and leave something out; there are always omissions that I later regret. Nonetheless, here is the list that I sent in this week:

  1. Vertigo (Hitchcock)
  2. Sansho the Bailiff (Mizoguchi)
  3. The Nutty Professor (Jerry Lewis)
  4. Rules of the Game (Renoir)
  5. Two or Three Things I Know About Her (Godard)
  6. Ordet (Dreyer)
  7. Red Desert (Antonioni)
  8. Golden Eighties (Akerman)
  9. Imitation of Life (Sirk)
  10. Mouchette (Bresson)

Notes: Fassbinder is my all-time favorite director, but I couldn’t decide on a particular single film. Probably I should have included Berlin Alexanderplatz, but since it is a long TV miniseries, I am not sure that it would count. — I also hesitated over which Bresson film to include; I could see voting instead for A Man Escaped or Au Hazard Balthasar or The Devil Probably or L’argent.– I also regret the non-inclusion of a few runner-ups (runners-up?): Andrei Rublev (or maybe Stalker), Playtime, Celine and Julie Go Boating, India Song, The Devil is a Woman, Shock Corridor, Beau Travail, Daisies, WR:Mysteries of the Organism, Three Crowns of the Sailor, Teorema.

Just Out: Jerry Lewis in La furia umana

The new issue (#12) of the film journal La Furia Umana is out; it’s a special issue on Jerry Lewis! There are 23 articles (!!!) on Jerry, including my new piece on his late masterpiece Smorgasbord (aka Cracking Up). (Besides the Jerry Lewis material, the issue also contains, among other goodies¬†Kim Nicolini on Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, and something I haven’t read yet by the great film critic Nicole Brenez).

UPDATE: Since the pdf available from the Furia Umana site has formatting problems, a  cleaner pdf of my article on Smorgasbord is available here.

In other news, my web posting about “work for hire” has been translated into Haitian Creole by John Obri — for which much thanks.