Well, hey. Here we are in a new day. It has been so here in the uk for an hour and 53 minutes, probably more by the time this is posted, and i think to myself “Geez Adam” (cuz that is my name. As much as i wish i’d been christened Either/Or/Bored. Can you imagine that on a birth certificate? How cool would that be?) “it’s been a while since you’ve posted anything filmy.” So, i shuffle over to the sight & sound website and lo-and-behold if they don’t have an article from their feburary issue all up online. It’s good, it has depth, it is interesting. so here it is. in part. you got to click the click for the rest. I read this in the magazine itself, because a subscription to it was one i desperately wanted for a christmas present.
One aspect of the phrase “a camel is a horse designed by committee” is that no one knows who said it first (apparently it was either Vogue magazine, Sir Alec Issigonis or philosophy professor Lester Hunt – I like to think they came up with it together). When it comes, however, to the list of 30 films of the 21st century published here, I can name the guilty parties.
Having recently polled the critical world for the most impressive films of 2009, the S&S editorial team decided, as far as the past decade was concerned, to tether our own camel to the masthead. Kieron Corless, James Bell, Isabel Stevens, Nick Bradshaw and myself met, having each first selected our own ‘top 20’. Yet the debate we had led to a list that we feel reflects the cultural significance of the films better than our own subjective tastes; it took 30 titles to satisfy us that we’d touched on the important themes of the decade.
The list’s conception was, in any case, supplementary to our desire to publish a collection of articles about those themes, and to pick out the decade’s six most influential directors. Overleaf you’ll find Shane Danielsen’s overview of the significant national cinemas of the past ten years – particularly those of Romania, Argentina, Korea and Mexico. Further on, Mark Cousins revels in the new, addictive ways of consuming films that developed over the decade; Michael Atkinson is sceptical about the potential deterioration of American cinema; Hannah McGill charts the decline of the movie star; Jonathan Romney considers the peculiar aesthetic dominance of ‘Slow Cinema’; and Nick Roddick argues for the noughties as the decade of the digital revolution. What I want to do here is to show how those trends are reflected in the 30 films and six key directors we have chosen.
Certain restrictions were put on the list. First, you won’t find any television drama series – The Sopranos, The Wire and the like. It’s a partisan gesture on our part, because we think that 2010 may be the last significant moment at which one can still argue for the complete distinction of the feature film. Second, a half-dozen of the most important directors have each been allotted only one representative film. So Jia Zhangke’s Platform also represents Unknown Pleasures and Still Life, Michael Haneke’s Hidden counts for Code Unknown et al, Claire Denis’ 35 Shots of Rum for White Material, The Son for the Dardennes’ equally excellent The Child, Talk to Her for the whole golden run of Almodóvar’s noughties films, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Tropical Malady stands also for Syndromes and a Century (2006).