Here’s a pair of just-released Top 10 lists that make Quentin Tarantino’s favorite films of 2013 look downright pedestrian. Over in the UK, Sight & Sound Magazine picks Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing the best picture of the year while cult filmmaker John Waters names Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers #1. With the onslaught of end-of-year Top 10s yet to come, could this year’s crop of critical picks be leaning arthouse just as Oscar trends toward indie? See how yours stack up:
Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’ The Greatest Movie Of All Time? And The Director Could Have New Oscar And Emmy Contenders
Alfred Hitchcock has been dead for 32 years. The last film he made, Family Plot, was released in 1976 yet his popularity among movie fans and cineastes alike has never seemed to wane. To put it bluntly, Hitch has never been hotter. This week proof of that was offered by the ascension of his 1958 classic Vertigo to the No. 1 spot on the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound survey of the so-called 50 Greatest Films Of All Time as selected this year by 846 critics, film scholars and historians, the largest sampling ever in the once a decade list that has been compiled every 10 years since 1962. Ever since the inception of the esteemed poll the British international film journal has named Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane as the Number 1 greatest film of all time — until 2012 when suddenly Hitchcock vaulted to the top after a slow, steady ascent since first appearing on the list of the Top 10 films in 1982. It is certainly interesting that this particular Hitchcock film starring James Stewart and Kim Novak, not even a huge hit in 1958 and recipient of only two minor Oscar nominations, for Color Art Direction and Sound, has become the master’s masterpiece in the eyes of the world’s top film writers and scholars. The only other Hitchcock film on the list is Psycho at number 35, although I personally count numerous others including North By Northwest, Rear Window, Notorious, even The Birds as equally deserving. I’m not at all sure Vertigo, great as it is, is the greatest of all time. Really? David Lean who directed such immortal greats as Lawrence Of Arabia and The Bridge On The River Kwai doesn’t have a single film in the top 50 and you could argue all day about other omissions and inclusions (there’s no DAVID Lean but there is DAVID Lynch at No. 28 with Mulholland Drive. Hmmm).
Alfred Hitchcock‘s 45th film has moved ahead of Orson Welles’ 1941 classic — at least according to the latest Sight & Sound poll conducted once a decade for the British Film Institute. Citizen Kane, which Hitchcock’s 1958 thriller surpassed by 34 votes out of 846 cast, is No. 2 on the list of 50 posted today (more will be posted in the weeks ahead). A decade ago Kane and Vertigo were separated by only 5 votes. Even so, Kane‘s total tally this time was three times as large as the number of votes it received last time so Welles wasn’t exactly snubbed. Out of more than 1,000 critics, programmers, academics, distributors, writers and other cinephiles contacted for the survey, Sight & Sound received 846 Top 10 lists that among them mention 2,045 different films. The new survey also enjoyed greater participation than its six predecessors. The remaining movies in order of the BFI’s Top 10 are Ozu Yasujiro’s Tokyo Story (1953), Jean Renoir’s La Regle Du Jeu (1939) and F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise (1927), Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), John Ford’s The Searchers (1956), Dziga Vertov’s Man With A Movie Camera (1939), Carl Dreyer’s The Passion Of Joan Of Arc (1927) and Federico Fellini’s 8½ (1963).