Saturday, August 11, 2012

If I Had a Sight & Sound Film Ballot

For film critics, Top Ten lists are a fact of life. Yet, despite frequent complaints that Top Tens are a bore to compose at the end of each year, the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound poll is one of those rare lists to which most critics would love to be asked to contribute. It’s the Top Ten. The lists themselves tend to represent each critic’s best effort to express the knowledge and creativity that the invitation supposes. You can imagine the arduousness, then, of limiting one’s selections of the greatest movies of all time to just ten entries.
Given that my role in the larger critical dialogue is minute as compared to those participating in this year’s Sight & Sound poll, I took to the challenge of a personal Top Ten more in the spirit of fun than soul-searching. Indeed, I’ve spent a good deal of time thinking about all of the below films in various capacities and stages of my life. Some meant more to me years ago than they do now, while others have lingered in my thoughts and memories beyond what seemed like an ordinary experience of watching them. Some are predictable, others perhaps na├»ve. But they each played an important part in my own development as a film lover, a writer, and a person.
So while individual Top Ten lists represent an opportunity for us all to showcase our film knowledge, I see them more as a reflection of who we are as people. They are all unique, interesting, and flawed, both in concept and execution, which also makes them less significant than their epic design would suggest. That’s why I have opted for simplicity in deciding on the films for my list. While a certain amount of self-reflection is essential, some things are better felt than pondered. The following list is no doubt an expression of my personal tastes and knowledge about film and perhaps even a statement about how I approach life. Then again, it is also a fairly arbitrary ordering of 10 films that mean a great deal to me.

Click here to see my list of Top Ten Films of All Time at Slant Magazine's blog The House Next Door.

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