The British Film Institute’s “Sight & Sound” list of great films has been refreshed. This is generally considered to be the most prestigious such list: it is compiled only every ten years, and the voters are a hand-picked crowd of eminent critics and directors.
Coverage of the new list is focusing on the fact that, for the first time in 50 years, Citizen Kane is not the number one film; that honour has now been granted to Hitchcock’s Vertigo. I regard such lists as providing recommendations for good films, but personally I don’t much care about the specific rankings.
Not that I have consulted such lists much. The proof is in the pudding: I have seen five of the new list’s top ten films, but only thirteen of the top fifty. Of those, there are really only two for which I have any particular affection: Singin’ in the Rain (#20) and Mulholland Drive (#28) — for very different reasons, obviously! How The Searchers landed so high on the list (#7) is incomprehensible to me. Evidently when it comes to great films I just don’t get it.
Roger Ebert is, as usual, pretty sensible in his commentary. Judging from what he says, the list published this week is the “Critic’s List”, and a separate “Director’s List” is still forthcoming.