Nolte: Woketardery Destroys Sight & Sound’s List of 100 Greatest Films

LOS ANGELES - MARCH 15: Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone in 'The Godfather, ' the movie based on the novel by Mario Puzo and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Initial theatrical release on March 15, 1972. Screen capture. Paramount Pictures. (CBS via Getty Images)
CBS via Getty Images

Since 1952, the British Film Institute has published a once-a-decade poll of the greatest films of all time. The Woke Gestapo just turned this once respected and anticipated list into a joke.

Like all lists (including mine), it’s subjective, says more about those polled than anything else, but can also call attention to little-known gems that deserve more attention. I’ve always used these lists that way, as a chance to see great movies I might not have otherwise.

Unfortunately, 2022’s Sight & Sound poll is tainted. As we all know, the arts, and most especially movies and television, are suffering through another era of McCarthyism, a reign of terror manned by Woke Brownshirts desperate to destroy anyone or any institution that does not show 100 percent fealty.

To avoid being burnt at the social media stake, Sight & Sound doubled — doubled! — those asked to participate in the poll. So what was around 800 in 2012 is now closer to 1,600, and we all know what that means… Affirmative action. Say goodbye to merit and hello to identity box-checking, which must include countless inexperienced young people whose knowledge of movies stops somewhere between Jaws and Star Wars.

The results are not pretty:

1. “Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxel” (Chantal Akerman, 1975)
2. “Vertigo” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
3. “Citizen Kane” (Orson Welles, 1941)
4. “Tokyo Story” (Ozu Yasujiro, 1953)
5. “In the Mood for Love, Wong Kar-wai, 2001)
6. “2001: A Space Odyssey” (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
7. “Beau travail” (Claire Denis, 1998)
8. “Mulholland Dr.” (David Lynch, 2001)
9. “Man with a Movie Camera” (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
10. “Singin’ in the Rain” (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1951)
11. “Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans” (F.W. Murnau, 1927)
12. “The Godfather” (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
13. “La Règle du Jeu” (Jean Renoir, 1939)
14. “Cléo from 5 to 7” (Agnès Varda, 1962)
15. “The Searchers” (John Ford, 1956)
16. “Meshes of the Afternoon” (Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid, 1943)
17. “Close-Up” (Abbas Kiarostami, 1989)
18. “Persona” (Ingmar Bergman, 1966)
19. “Apocalypse Now” (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
20. “Seven Samurai” (Akira Kurosawa, 1954)
21. (TIE) “The Passion of Joan of Arc” (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1927)
21. (TIE) “Late Spring” (Ozu Yasujiro, 1949)
23. “Playtime” (Jacques Tati, 1967)
24. “Do the Right Thing” (Spike Lee, 1989)
25. “Au Hasard Balthazar” (Robert Bresson, 1966)
25. The Night of the Hunter” (Charles Laughton, 1955)
27. “Shoah” (Claude Lanzmann, 1985)
28. “Daisies” (Věra Chytilová, 1966)
29. “Taxi Driver” (Martin Scorsese, 1976)
30. “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (Céline Sciamma, 2019)
31. “Mirror” (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975)
31. “8½” (Federico Fellini, 1963)
31. “Psycho” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
34. “L’Atalante” (Jean Vigo, 1934)
35. “Pather Panchali” (Satyajit Ray, 1955)
36. “City Lights” (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)
36. “M” (Fritz Lang, 1931)
38. “À bout de souffle” (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960)
38. “Some Like It Hot” (Billy Wilder, 1959)
38. “Rear Window” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)
41. “Bicycle Thieves” (Vittorio De Sica, 1948)
41. “Rashomon” (Akira Kurosawa, 1950)
43. “Stalker” (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979)
43. “Killer of Sheep” (Charles Burnett, 1977)
45. “North by Northwest” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)
45. “The Battle of Algiers” (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966)
45. “Barry Lyndon” (Stanley Kubrick, 1975)
48. “Wanda” (Barbara Loden, 1970)
48. “Ordet” (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1955)
50. “The 400 Blows” (François Truffaut, 1959)
50. “The Piano” (Jane Campion, 1992)
52. “News from Home” (Chantal Akerman, 1976)
52. “Fear Eats the Soul” (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974)
54. “The Apartment” (Billy Wilder, 1960)
54. “Battleship Potemkin” (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925)
54. “Sherlock Jr.” (Buster Keaton, 1924)
54. “Le Mépris” (Jean-Luc Godard 1963)
54. “Blade Runner” (Ridley Scott 1982)
59. “Sans soleil” (Chris Marker 1982)
60. “Daughters of the Dust” (Julie Dash 1991)
60. “La dolce vita” (Federico Fellini 1960)
60. “Moonlight” (Barry Jenkins 2016)
63. “Casablanca” (Michael Curtiz 1942)
63. “GoodFellas” (Martin Scorsese 1990)
63. “The Third Man” (Carol Reed 1949)
66. “Touki Bouki (Djibril Diop Mambéty 1973)
67. “The Gleaners and I” (Agnès Varda 2000)
67. “Metropolis” (Fritz Lang 1927)
67. “Andrei Rublev” (Andrei Tarkovsky 1966)
67. “The Red Shoes” (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger 1948)
67. “La Jetée” (Chris Marker 1962)
72. “My Neighbour Totoro” (Miyazaki Hayao 1988)
72. “Journey to Italy” (Roberto Rossellini 1954)
72. “L’avventura” (Michelangelo Antonioni 1960)
75. “Imitation of Life” (Douglas Sirk 1959)
75. “Sansho the Bailiff” (Mizoguchi Kenji 1954)
75. “Spirited Away” (Miyazaki Hayao 2001)
78. “A Brighter Summer Day” (Edward Yang 1991)
78. “Sátántangó” (Béla Tarr 1994)
78. “Céline and Julie Go Boating” (Jacques Rivette 1974)
78. “Modern Times “(Charlie Chaplin 1936)
78. “Sunset Blvd.” (Billy Wilder 1950)
78. “A Matter of Life and Death” (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger 1946)
84. “Blue Velvet” (David Lynch 1986)
84. “Pierrot le fou” (Jean-Luc Godard 1965)
84. “Histoire(s) du cinéma” (Jean-Luc Godard 1988-1998)
84. “The Spirit of the Beehive” (Victor Erice, 1973)
88. “The Shining” (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
88. “Chungking Express” (Wong Kar Wai, 1994)
90. “Madame de…” (Max Ophüls, 1953)
90. “The Leopard” (Luchino Visconti, 1962)
90. “Ugetsu” (Mizoguchi Kenji, 1953)
90. “Parasite” (Bong Joon Ho, 2019)
90. “Yi Yi” (Edward Yang, 1999)
95. “A Man Escaped” (Robert Bresson, 1956)
95. “The General” (Buster Keaton, 1926)
95. “Once upon a Time in the West” (Sergio Leone, 1968)
95. “Get Out” (Jordan Peele, 2017)
95. “Black Girl” (Ousmane Sembène, 1965)
95. “Tropical Malady” (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004)

According to this list, Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) is superior to 70 other movies on this list.

According to this list, Get Out (2017) is superior to a whole host of titles that didn’t even make the list —Godfather II, Chinatown, Red River, Double Indemnity, Wizard of Oz,  Gone with the Wind, Easy Rider, Midnight Cowboy, Maltese Falcon, French Connection, Make Way for Tomorrow, Unforgiven, His Girl Friday, Raging Bull, Malcolm X, Touch of Evil, Ben-Hur, and Schindler’s List.

According to this list, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is superior to every single movie directed by Howard Hawks, Woody Allen, David Lean, Quentin Tarantino, Hal Ashby, Robert Altman, Oliver Stone, Kathryn Bigelow, John Huston, Roman Polanski, Sam Peckinpah, William Wyler, Frank Capra, Josef von Sternberg, Steven Spielberg, D.W. Griffith, Cecil B. DeMille, Clint Eastwood, Terence Malick, Leo McCarey, and Werner Herzog, as well as every Ingmar Bergman film not named Persona and every John Ford film not named The Searchers.

Regarding the new number one, Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxel (1975), let’s not play games… It’s there because a woman directed it. That’s not merit. That’s identity. Jeanne Dielman is an intriguing movie. It does cast a spell, but it’s a rough sit and every bit as long (200 minutes) as its title. We spend nearly four hours watching a prostitute go through a handful of mundane days (cooking, cleaning, etc.) until she snaps. I get the point, but I could have gotten the point in half the time. If Sight & Sound’s film illiterates insisted on having a woman at the top, I can think of five superior Kathryn Bigelow movies.

I have more complaints, but my point is made. Other titles some are balking over I’ve not seen. But what a terrible message to send to filmmakers: Identity beats quality.

I’m embarrassed for Sight & Sound.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.

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