Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"Vertigo" is the Greatest Film of All Time (According to Sight & Sound)

It's been something close to common knowledge that the publicly agreed upon "best film of all time" has been "Citizen Kane" for a long time. It takes years of consideration, along with enough sheer will, to change an opinion as public as that, but Sight & Sound made a strong case this year for a little variety. Hell, a lot of variety if we're going to be perfectly honest. Their once-a-decade poll of critics and directors has brought two films to the fore as rockers of "Citizen Kane"s strong, and well earned foundation. On the critics side of things, Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo" supplanted Orson Welles' film for the top spot, with 17 less years on its hands, but still 50+ years old.

Given my recently discovered adoration of Hitchcock's rather unexpected gem of a film, this turn of events struck me as quite pleasant. On the director's side of things, Yasuhiro Ozu's "Tokyo Story", which I have regrettably not found occasion to see, snagged the top spot away from "Kane". The director's branch reads with a lot more recognizable cinematic icons, like "The Godfather" and "Taxi Driver", while the critics list is filled with films of the 20s and 30s, with "2001: A Space Odyssey" the most recent film on the list. Film of the future, indeed.

Of course this is just another step in the direction of yet another decade. In years I feel confident the marination of even more films will lead to a different result. The shifting #1 is more important than anything, to be certain, as films rise and fall in popularity through the years. My list of my personal favorite films of all time will be hitting on Friday, admittedly with a certain skew towards the present than the past. Needless to say I've got some catching up to do, as well as horizons in need of expansion. Of Hitchcock's entire career, I've seen just two. I've seen not a single film from Ingmar Bergman, F.W. Murnau, Jean Renoir, or Federico Fellini. I have, however, seen Dziga Vertov's "Man with a Movie Camera", and couldn't be happier with its placing!

1. "Vertigo" (Alfred Hitchcock; 1958)
2. "Citizen Kane" (Orson Welles; 1941)
3. "Tokyo Story" (Yasujiro Ozu; 1953)
4. "La Regle du jeu" (Jean Renoir; 1939)
5. "Sunrise: A Song for Two Humans" (F.W. Murnau; 1927)
6. "2001: A Space Odyssey" (Stanley Kubrick; 1968)
7. "The Searchers" (John Ford; 1956)
8. "Man with a Movie Camera" (Dziga Vertov; 1929)
9. "The Passion of Joan of Arc" (Carl Theodor Dreyer; 1927)
10. "8 1/2" (Federico Fellini; 1963)

1. "Tokyo Story" (Yasujiro Ozu; 1953)
=2. "Citizen Kane" (Orson Welles; 1941)
=2. "2001: A Space Odyssey" (Stanley Kubrick; 1968)
4. "8 1/2" (Federico Fellini; 1963)
5. "Taxi Driver" (Martin Scorsese; 1976)
6. "Apocalypse Now" (Francis Ford Coppola; 1979)
=7. "The Godfather" (Francis Ford Coppola; 1972)
=7. "Vertigo" (Alfred Hitchcock; 1958)
9. "Mirror" (Andrei Tarkovsky; 1974)
10. "Bicycle Thieves" (Vittorio De Sica; 1948)

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