Exploring Sight & Sound Poll of 2022

I have bad news for you… Just sit down and take a deep breath. Ready? Okay.

I found a way in which Tilda Swinton is kind of boring.

No, no, no. Don’t panic. Nothing major here.

So, why is she boring? Because I have already seen all the films she voted for in the Sight & Sound 2022 poll.

  1. A Matter of Life and Death
  2. Vertigo
  3. Les Vacances de M. Hulot
  4. To Be or Not to Be
  5. Walkabout
  6. Journey to Italy
  7. Pickpocket
  8. Jeanne Dielman 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles
  9. My Neighbour Totoro
  10. La dolce vita

None of these are bad or anything like that. While you can get a little insight into her, I just can’t go on IMDb and add anything new to explore onto my Watchlist, because, again, I have seen all of these movies.

Lynne Ramsay did the same thing:

  1. Persona
  2. Full Metal Jacket
  3. Mulholland Dr.
  4. Stalker
  5. The Wizard of Oz
  6. The Passion of Joan of Arc
  7. Killer of Sheep 1977
  8. Jeanne Dielman 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles
  9. Don’t Look Now

On the other hand, Ramsay did write comments, which makes her votes more interesting.

Don Hertzfeldt went weirdly generic with his choices, considering how idiosyncratic his work has always been:

  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  2. Citizen Kane
  3. The Godfather
  4. The Pianist
  5. Harold and Maude
  6. Monty Python’s Life of Brian
  7. The Act of Killing
  8. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  9. Gates of Heaven
  10. GoodFellas

Robert Eggers follows similar thinking.

  1. Andrei Rublev
  2. The Elephant Man
  3. Seven Samurai
  4. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  5. Apocalypse Now
  6. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  7. Nosferatu
  8. Fitzcarraldo
  9. The Passion of Joan of Arc
  10. Persona

Honestly, I’m not really criticizing them. They can’t help it that great movies are great and will command votes. What can you do? Even Ari Aster and Peter Greenaway didn’t manage to list anything I hadn’t seen. Both Nicolas Winding Refn and Bela Tarr managed all of two and Roy Andersson managed one (which I have already had in my watchlist for a while, but just haven’t been able to find). I was actually kind of disappointed when I saw that George Miller had actually not found any additions to my watchlist, but had for some reason voted for the biggest disappointment of our generation: Boyhood.

Compare these to Peter Strickland’s list:

  1. Allures
  2. Spalovac mrtvol
  3. Jeanne Dielman 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles
  4. Sátántangó
  5. Tini zabutykh predkiv
  6. Street of Crocodiles
  7. Raging Bull
  8. Trash
  9. Viridiana
  10. Kyriakatiko xypnima

Now we’re talking. I’ve only see five of these (the ones I have not seen are bolded).

Guy Maddin did even better at seven I hadn’t seen.

  1. Pinocchio
  2. Wagon Master
  3. Hands across the Table
  4. The Other Side of the Wind
  5. Man’s Castle
  7. Reap the Wild Wind
  8. Desire Me
  9. A New Leaf
  10. Female Trouble

There’s a surprising amount of Finnish voters and they have the weirdest takes. Here’s Antti Saunio’s.

  1. Witchfinder General
  2. Legendary Curse of Lemora
  3. The Holy Mountain
  4. Kanashimi no Beradonna
  5. The Wicker Man
  6. Carrie
  7. Suspiria
  8. The Warriors
  10. Watchmen

In general Finnish voters seemed to really enjoy Roy Andersson’s Songs from the Second Floor (as did Ari Aster), which is understandable, as it captures Nordic melancholy in an incredible way, even if I enjoy Andersson’s next movie, You, the Living more. I guess Songs has the benefit of being the first in this quadrology of movies (which may or may not be ongoing series).

I mean… While I was being somewhat snarky above, this is just wonderful, cruising through the thoughts of these people. Where do their roots lie, what inspires them, or what inspired them to become a filmmaker, in the case of the directors, in the first place? There’s just so, so much to discover. What do critics in Africa like? Turns out, pretty much the same thing as everyone else. Who actually voted for Jeanne Dielman? Or did you know that the director of Uncle Boonmee voted for Texas Chain Saw Massacre (which made it into shared 118th place on the critics poll, with only two votes less than Wizard of Oz and only five votes away from the top 100).

It would seem in general, that critics have wilder and more interesting takes than the directors. Which is kind of understandable. The critics see a lot of movies. I remember one mentioning off-handedly that he saw 5 to 10 a week. The directors can’t do this, because their job has a very different focus. While on set their days are taken over by the shooting and going through dailies, while their lives outside of that is probably prepping for the next project. They just don’t have the time. I would also assume that you would see very different selection of movies in Uni depending on what you are studying for. Something like Wavelength is not going to be very informative, if you are looking to become a director, although five directors did actually vote for it (it’s roughly forty minutes of speeded up footage from around two months of shooting from one static camera, except that it zooms in slowly, and the colors are distorted, so pure avant garde).

I wish these were available in some form I could use for exploring these myself in Excel or something. Are there blocks of movies a lot of people liked? Did people from certain countries really like certain movies or, vice versa, did a specific movie find votes from specific countries? Data is just fun.

EDIT: Forgot to actually link to the list of voters: https://www.bfi.org.uk/sight-and-sound/greatest-films-all-time/all-voters

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