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Red Planet Films (Essential Cinema/Film Canon) - Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 12:33 am
by Fergenaprido
Hello folks,

This is one of two projects I've been mulling over for about a year now.
Old Project Description
Who: All of us!

What: A list of films that we consider to be essential for every cinephile to see. My intention is to come up with a list about the most essential films, but I'm leaving the definition of "essential" up to the users. The idea, however, is that this is a list of films cinephiles should see at some point in their lifetime, or should see in order to earn their "credentials" as cinephiles. It's not intended to be a list of films for beginners or burgeoning cinephiles. If you want to submit your favourite films, or the ones you think are most influential, or the most critically acclaimed, or the ones I like to call "important, but not necessarily good", then that's fine. People can also decide which genres/directors/countries/themes they want to include, and then pick a representative film for each one, if they want. I don't want to put any restrictions on what is eligible, though I may exclude tv series and installations, or just follow the guidelines of our other polls.

Where: Right here on this forum (probably in this thread, though I make made a new one just for list submissions).

When: I'm thinking of setting the deadline for end of June, but I don't mind it being later if people want more time with everything else going on. No later than the end of July, though, because I'd like to have this wrapped up by the end of August so I can start my other project that I've been wanting to run.

Why: Because it surprised me that the forum had never put together a film canon like many other sites have done, and I think it's time, after 10 years, for us to publish our own.

How: Every user can submit an unranked ballot of 50 films. I may change that to 52, to go along with the idea of one film per week, but I haven't decided one way or the other. Results will be tabulated simply by the number of lists a film appears on, and the final list will be ranked chronologically. I don't have a defined target for the number of films for the final list, as it will depend on how many ballots are submitted and how much agreement there is in those ballots, but I think something around 75-125 films would be sufficient, with all films on the list being mentioned on at least 10-25% of the ballots.

Additional Details: For the title, I'm flirting with the idea of calling it "Pretential Cinema" or Pressential Cinema", ("Pretessential" is too much of a mouthful) combining the words "pretentious" (I think any sort of exercise of determining the "most essential" or the "objectively best" films as pretentious, but I still think it's fun to do) and "essential" into a sly name, but also something that would help distinguish it from other lists generically called "Films You Must See", "Before You Die", "Film Canon", "Essential Films", etc. Additionally, I would love to tie this in to the Website/Magazine that is being setup, and I would ask for volunteers to write a mini-article for each film on the final list, outlining why they think that film is essential and/or important to them. It could be an ongoing series of articles released over a few months after the list is posted here, and could be used as a way to draw in more people to the magazine and then the forum. The list could be updated once or twice a decade.

So, what do y'all think? Is this a good idea, and are you interested in participating?
I've created the Nominations Thread: here

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 1:36 am
by kongs_speech
I'm voting for Clifford (1994) 50 times. Fight me.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 2:10 am
by xianjiro
The concept and presentation seems very sound to me. If nothing else, it will be interesting see how the process goes during the first run, but I agree, there really should be an ICM Forum list of the most essential films for cinephiles. :thumbsup:

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 2:20 am
by sol
My first thought is that the results will probably end up looking almost identical to our favourite movies list.

I wouldn't decline to participate though, especially if the list comes with an addendum in which every film that received at least one vote is mentioned.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 2:29 am
by TraverseTown
I wouldn't know how to respond to this because most of my favorite films are objectively horrible.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 5:56 am
by joachimt
I have added this to the header as a poll. If the title or deadline changes, let me know.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 6:57 am
by beasterne
Definitely interested!

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 7:03 am
by beavis
I think this would be very different to a favorite list because when we are talking essential / influential / of historic importance then a lot of underseen movies drop off, a lot of niche genres, a lot of cult / weird / different and so on. From what remains there is a further cutting down. For very influential directors like Hitchcock and Bergman you could easily include 5 movies or more for instance... or go just with their best or most quoted one.

And then there is the "historic overview of the cinematic art" part. Some periods are more important than others, some where technically more advanced, but by definition the first decades of cinema where the most influential, everything got invented then, so at least a few movies from this period should be included. On the reverse you might have some huge favorites in the last few years, but as these did not have a chance to prove themselves in the flow of time yet, it is kind of pointless to include them already...

Taking all such things into consideration...
Only 50 makes it hard to both cover the entire history and get in the best of the most essential, but this is my first attempt:
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/poll ... 50/beavis/

For a list like this a chronological presentation makes most sense. My list is also chronological. But since it is a poll, there is still that element of competition to it... maybe canons are more of a personal thing... in the making I mean, because the collective experience is also a core element of any cannon... :)

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 7:32 am
by mjf314
If you use that criteria for the poll, I would expect the result to be like a cross between the iCM Forum favorites and S&S (which wouldn't be a very useful list imo).

If you're hoping to make a list with one representative from each genre/director/country/theme, then I don't think a poll will work, but a committee might be able to make a good list.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 7:35 am
by brokenface
How: Every user can submit an unranked ballot of 50 films. I may change that to 52, to go along with the idea of one film per week, but I haven't decided one way or the other. Results will be tabulated simply by the number of lists a film appears on, and the final list will be ranked chronologically. I don't have a defined target for the number of films for the final list, as it will depend on how many ballots are submitted and how much agreement there is in those ballots, but I think something around 75-125 films would be sufficient, with all films on the list being mentioned on at least 10-25% of the ballots
My observation would be that if "It's not intended to be a list of films for beginners or burgeoning cinephiles", I don't see how this method won't end up being a list of the most popular established canon films (Persona, 2001, Breathless, Stalker, Aguirre, etc) which will look very much like a beginner's cinephile list.


Might be interesting to have people submit their list split in two parts: a S+S style ballot of top 12 and then the rest to make up to 50/52. Then you could calculate the S+S version as well from the shorter list just to see how it differs.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 7:41 am
by hurluberlu
This kind of list makes sense when there is some editorial alignment among the voters but our forum’s tastes and understanding of what essential is are so broad and irreconcilable that a list of 50 is only going to end up a starter, consensus list that looks very generic (like an IMDb top 50, a TSPDT top 50 at best).

If you want to give it a chance to be meaningful you need to rethink through the concept (What is a cinephile ? What is essential ? What is the audience ?) and narrow the scope as much as possible.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 7:58 am
by Teproc
I don't think this would add anything beyond what our favorites list is. I'm generally suspicious of people saying "well, I don't like this as much but it's better", because better in this case generally just means more acclaimed/more "important" which are subject to infinite biases. "Favorite" is honest, at least, whereas "best" or "most essential" is cognitive bias masquerading as objectivity.

I agree that something like "choosing one film per movement" would be more interesting than a S&S style exercise.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 8:27 am
by Onderhond
Since this seems to be another poll/popularity-type setup, I don't feel like I could contribute much here.

But just to be clear, it's a list of films every "serious" cinephile should have seen, not a list for "serious" cinephiles, right?

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 11:22 am
by Lonewolf2003
I like the idea. But I’m not sure if a poll is the best way to make such a list. Like hurluberlu I think this subject needs some kind of discussion and agreement about what is “essential”, otherwise I fear the final results will be a disappointing mess. There also should discussion about why a film should be on the list; what makes a film essential, and agreement on its final acceptance on the list. A way to do this could be committees, but than only a small part of the user base would have a big influence. Another idea could be a more DTC style process; that people first nominate movies with argumentation why the movie is essential. Afterward with a voting system everyone can vote if and how essential that nominated movie is.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 11:29 am
by Lonewolf2003
brokenface wrote: May 16th, 2021, 7:35 am
How: Every user can submit an unranked ballot of 50 films. I may change that to 52, to go along with the idea of one film per week, but I haven't decided one way or the other. Results will be tabulated simply by the number of lists a film appears on, and the final list will be ranked chronologically. I don't have a defined target for the number of films for the final list, as it will depend on how many ballots are submitted and how much agreement there is in those ballots, but I think something around 75-125 films would be sufficient, with all films on the list being mentioned on at least 10-25% of the ballots
My observation would be that if "It's not intended to be a list of films for beginners or burgeoning cinephiles", I don't see how this method won't end up being a list of the most popular established canon films (Persona, 2001, Breathless, Stalker, Aguirre, etc) which will look very much like a beginner's cinephile list.
I don’t see either how such a list differs from a list of films for beginning cinephiles. Films that wouldn’t be on such a list I don’t deem essential.

My definition of essential movies are movies that were highly influential/of historic importance in the development of film (history) and/or highly influential in the discussion about films. Star Wars is an example, whatever you think about it, it was highly influential on how films developed since than, plus it’s very difficult to take part in a serious discussion about science fantasy or even blockbusters without having seen that one.

To me there is a difference between a list of essential movies and a film canon, that represents various genres, movements and countries. F.e. Mr. Vampire should/could be on a film canon as representative of the Jiangshi genre, but I wouldn’t consider it an essential movie.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 12:52 pm
by monclivie
So basically you want to make a list of the movies that most often appear on our lists and arrange them chronologically? Um.. how our personal choices say more about how canon is a movie than our carefully picked official lists? ;)

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 1:47 pm
by AB537
I suspect the result of this is likely to closely match our 1001 favourites list and/or TSPDT lists, but would still participate.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 5:02 pm
by Fergenaprido
TraverseTown wrote: May 16th, 2021, 2:29 am I wouldn't know how to respond to this because most of my favorite films are objectively horrible.
I think films can be objectively poorly made, but I don't know if they're objectively horrible.

But either way, sometimes you need to see the bad stuff to appreciate the good stuff, so your favorite films wouldn't necessarily be incompatible with the spirit of the list. :D

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 5:04 pm
by Fergenaprido
mjf314 wrote: May 16th, 2021, 7:32 am If you're hoping to make a list with one representative from each genre/director/country/theme, then I don't think a poll will work, but a committee might be able to make a good list.
No, that's not what I was hoping for. It was just to give people an idea of how they could go about it if they chose to. Perhaps I put too much information in the opening post and should have kept it minimal.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 5:07 pm
by Fergenaprido
hurluberlu wrote: May 16th, 2021, 7:41 am If you want to give it a chance to be meaningful you need to rethink through the concept (What is a cinephile ? What is essential ? What is the audience ?) and narrow the scope as much as possible.
Hmm, I thought I had narrowed the scope, but I see now I was still quite vague. I was trying to find a balance between giving guidance and not being dictatorial. It's a character flaw I have of being too equivocal at times :D

cinephile = someone who enjoys watching films on more than just a casual basis, and isn't afraid to seek out new films that are unfamiliar to them.

essential = something that should be seen to better appreciate cinema as a whole? If I had to put it scientifically, perhaps then something that should be seen in the first 1,000 films and/or first 2 years of delving into cinema?

audience = cinephiles

Does that help, or is it still too muddled?

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 5:11 pm
by Fergenaprido
Teproc wrote: May 16th, 2021, 7:58 am I don't think this would add anything beyond what our favorites list is. I'm generally suspicious of people saying "well, I don't like this as much but it's better", because better in this case generally just means more acclaimed/more "important" which are subject to infinite biases. "Favorite" is honest, at least, whereas "best" or "most essential" is cognitive bias masquerading as objectivity.

I agree that something like "choosing one film per movement" would be more interesting than a S&S style exercise.
Well, the reason that I didn't go for "favourite" is that I wanted something different. I avoided "best" because I agree that's too useless of a term, but I thought "essential" was still quite honest, as in "These are the films that I think everyone should see, for reasons X, Y, and/or Z". I never intended nor expected this to be considered an objective exercise.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 5:12 pm
by Fergenaprido
Onderhond wrote: May 16th, 2021, 8:27 am Since this seems to be another poll/popularity-type setup, I don't feel like I could contribute much here.

But just to be clear, it's a list of films every "serious" cinephile should have seen, not a list for "serious" cinephiles, right?
Your contribution is always welcome, Onderhond.

I don't quite understand the distinction you're making, but I think it's the former, not the latter.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 5:18 pm
by Fergenaprido
I should have used multi-quote and posted once instead of many times. Sorry for the spam!
Lonewolf2003 wrote: May 16th, 2021, 11:22 am I like the idea. But I’m not sure if a poll is the best way to make such a list. Like hurluberlu I think this subject needs some kind of discussion and agreement about what is “essential”, otherwise I fear the final results will be a disappointing mess. There also should discussion about why a film should be on the list; what makes a film essential, and agreement on its final acceptance on the list. A way to do this could be committees, but than only a small part of the user base would have a big influence. Another idea could be a more DTC style process; that people first nominate movies with argumentation why the movie is essential. Afterward with a voting system everyone can vote if and how essential that nominated movie is.
Well, the title of this thread right now end with "Discussion", so we're on the right track ;)

I kind of like that second idea you have, and making this a two-step process. I'll mull over that one some.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 6:21 pm
by brokenface
Fergenaprido wrote: May 16th, 2021, 5:07 pm
hurluberlu wrote: May 16th, 2021, 7:41 am If you want to give it a chance to be meaningful you need to rethink through the concept (What is a cinephile ? What is essential ? What is the audience ?) and narrow the scope as much as possible.
Hmm, I thought I had narrowed the scope, but I see now I was still quite vague. I was trying to find a balance between giving guidance and not being dictatorial. It's a character flaw I have of being too equivocal at times :D

cinephile = someone who enjoys watching films on more than just a casual basis, and isn't afraid to seek out new films that are unfamiliar to them.

essential = something that should be seen to better appreciate cinema as a whole? If I had to put it scientifically, perhaps then something that should be seen in the first 1,000 films and/or first 2 years of delving into cinema?

audience = cinephiles

Does that help, or is it still too muddled?
perhaps you should suggest some films that you would consider fit (or don't fit) this criteria to better explain what you are looking for?

Sounds like you're trying to find a spot somewhere between an all time canon list and a more obscurity-focused list like DtC/500<400?

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 6:41 pm
by hurluberlu
Fergenaprido wrote: May 16th, 2021, 5:07 pm
hurluberlu wrote: May 16th, 2021, 7:41 am If you want to give it a chance to be meaningful you need to rethink through the concept (What is a cinephile ? What is essential ? What is the audience ?) and narrow the scope as much as possible.
Hmm, I thought I had narrowed the scope, but I see now I was still quite vague. I was trying to find a balance between giving guidance and not being dictatorial. It's a character flaw I have of being too equivocal at times :D

cinephile = someone who enjoys watching films on more than just a casual basis, and isn't afraid to seek out new films that are unfamiliar to them.

essential = something that should be seen to better appreciate cinema as a whole? If I had to put it scientifically, perhaps then something that should be seen in the first 1,000 films and/or first 2 years of delving into cinema?

audience = cinephiles

Does that help, or is it still too muddled?
Thanks,
I thought the definitions would help to narrow the purpose but from the above, I still cant figure the below :sweat:

#1: is it a starter list for wannabe cinephiles (as you say stuff to be seen in the first two years of delving into cinema) ?
#2: is it a list for experienced cinephiles and help them to check stuff they might have overlooked or are unaware of but might be of equal quality of classics they surely have seen already ?
#3: is it a list with the 50 films that anyone claiming to be a cinephile must have seen ?
#4: is it a list with the 50 most significant films in the history of cinema (stuff you might want to check to "appreciate cinema as a whole) ?

Except for #1, 100-200 titles will probably make more sense.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 6:46 pm
by AB537
Having read more of the comments, I'm also a little unclear on what the objective of this project is. If the goal is to create something adjacent to an all time canon type list rather than an actual canon, it could be very difficult to reach 75-125 films that more than 10% of participants include on their own ballots - not sure whether that threshold is still in play. I agree with brokenface that some examples of things that could be considered "in" or "out" might be helpful to understand the goal a bit better.

Of the latest collection of four suggestions, #2 looks a lot like DtC to me, whereas #1, #3 and #4 could arguably be accomplished by taking the top 50-200 from the forum's 1001 Favourites list. That being said, a list I'd submit for an "essentials" project would probably differ a bit from my actual top 50/100/200 favourites.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 7:43 pm
by Fergenaprido
hurluberlu wrote: May 16th, 2021, 6:41 pm
Fergenaprido wrote: May 16th, 2021, 5:07 pm
hurluberlu wrote: May 16th, 2021, 7:41 am If you want to give it a chance to be meaningful you need to rethink through the concept (What is a cinephile ? What is essential ? What is the audience ?) and narrow the scope as much as possible.
Hmm, I thought I had narrowed the scope, but I see now I was still quite vague. I was trying to find a balance between giving guidance and not being dictatorial. It's a character flaw I have of being too equivocal at times :D

cinephile = someone who enjoys watching films on more than just a casual basis, and isn't afraid to seek out new films that are unfamiliar to them.

essential = something that should be seen to better appreciate cinema as a whole? If I had to put it scientifically, perhaps then something that should be seen in the first 1,000 films and/or first 2 years of delving into cinema?

audience = cinephiles

Does that help, or is it still too muddled?
Thanks,
I thought the definitions would help to narrow the purpose but from the above, I still cant figure the below :sweat:

#1: is it a starter list for wannabe cinephiles (as you say stuff to be seen in the first two years of delving into cinema) ?
#2: is it a list for experienced cinephiles and help them to check stuff they might have overlooked or are unaware of but might be of equal quality of classics they surely have seen already ?
#3: is it a list with the 50 films that anyone claiming to be a cinephile must have seen ?
#4: is it a list with the 50 most significant films in the history of cinema (stuff you might want to check to "appreciate cinema as a whole) ?

Except for #1, 100-200 titles will probably make more sense.
:lol:

The closest would be #3, then #4. Definitely not #2, and not really #1.

With all the confusion, I suppose it might help if I give an example of what my own probable ballot would look like.

These are the Top films from my ballot for our annual favourites poll (excluding shorts, because I still haven't found a satisfactory way to weave them into the list).
My Top 52 Favourite (Feature-Length) Films
Title A
Amélie 2001
CRAZY 2005
Finding Nemo 2003
Brokeback Mountain 2005
Sound of Music 1965
Fargo 1996
Shawshank Redemption 1994
Schindler's List 1993
Matrix: I 1999
Inception 2010
Weekend 2011
Custody 2017
American Beauty 1999
Bowling for Columbine 2002
Oliver! 1968
Way He Looks 2014
Contact 1997
Milk 2008
Traffic 2000
Get Out 2017
Moonlight Mile 2002
Toy Story: III 2010
Bambi 1942
Twelve Angry Men 1957
Moulin Rouge 2001
Train of Life 1998
All About Eve 1950
Witness for the Prosecution 1957
Summer Storm 2004
I Killed My Mother 2009
Broken Circle Breakdown 2012
Silence of the Lambs 1991
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 1984
Lord of the Rings: I 2001
Lord of the Rings: III 2003
Hero 2002
Frida 2002
Lord of the Rings: II 2002
Billy Elliot 2000
Children of Men 2006
Requiem for a Dream 2000
Favourite 2018
Mary Poppins: I 1964
Philadelphia 1993
Sixth Sense 1999
Seven Samurai 1954
American History X 1998
Coco 2017
Pride 2014
Lion in Winter 1968
Shrek: I 2001
Memento 2000
And this would be some films I would be considering for this poll (a non-exhaustive list).
(Some of) My 50 Essential Films
Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (1896)
Voyage to the Moon (1902)
The General (1926)
Napoleon (1927)
Turksib (1929)
M (1931)
The Thin Man (1934)
The Grand Illusion (1937)
The Lady Vanishes (1938)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
The Great Dictator (1940)
Citizen Kane (1941)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Bambi (1942)
Suspense (1913)
All About Eve (1950)
The Young and the Damned (1950)
Seven Samurai (1954)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
12 Angry Men (1957)
Victim (1961)
Ivan's Childhood (1962)
The Sound of Music (1965)
The Shop on Main Street (1965)
Jaws (1975)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The Boat (1981)
The Man Who Planted Trees (1987)
A Year Along the Abandoned Road (1991)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Schindler's List (1993)
Zero Patience (1993)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Fargo (1996)
Children of Heaven (1997)
The Matrix (1999)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Rejected (2000)
Amélie (2001)
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Finding Nemo (2004)
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005)
Avatar (2009)
Inception (2010)
The Way He Looks (2014)
Piper (2016)
Get Out (2017)
There's a fair bit of overlap between the two for me, but less than half. For me, I'd pick a mix of films that I think showcase what cinema can do or technological advances that have happened, great stories, important subjects well-handled, and a sprinkling of personal favourites that I really think everyone should see. It's more personal than just the most critically-acclaimed films, but less personal than my own favourites. I don't even like all of the films I mentioned, but I can still recognize the importance of the ones I didn't care for, and see how they've impacted the films that came after them. And it's not a representative list that covers every decade/country/genre.

I don't want to tell people what they can and cannot include on their list, but if people need guidelines or restrictions, I suppose I could come up with some.

So, is that any clearer? B)

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 7:51 pm
by xianjiro
Lonewolf2003 wrote: May 16th, 2021, 11:22 am I like the idea. But I’m not sure if a poll is the best way to make such a list. Like hurluberlu I think this subject needs some kind of discussion and agreement about what is “essential”, otherwise I fear the final results will be a disappointing mess. There also should discussion about why a film should be on the list; what makes a film essential, and agreement on its final acceptance on the list. A way to do this could be committees, but than only a small part of the user base would have a big influence. Another idea could be a more DTC style process; that people first nominate movies with argumentation why the movie is essential. Afterward with a voting system everyone can vote if and how essential that nominated movie is.
What if there was a small committee that reviewed, analyzed, and exercised control over the final list, so say five Bergmans are repeated enough times that three might qualify for the final list, the committee could review the three and decide if they are three equals or two represent different periods/movements (though I don't usually think that way with Bergman) etc.

I would hope though that people would put a bit more thought into such a project than lopping off their 50 (or so) favorites from their other list.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 7:59 pm
by xianjiro
Fergenaprido wrote: May 16th, 2021, 5:07 pm
Hmm, I thought I had narrowed the scope, but I see now I was still quite vague. I was trying to find a balance between giving guidance and not being dictatorial. It's a character flaw I have of being too equivocal at times :D

cinephile = someone who enjoys watching films on more than just a casual basis, and isn't afraid to seek out new films that are unfamiliar to them.

essential = something that should be seen to better appreciate cinema as a whole? If I had to put it scientifically, perhaps then something that should be seen in the first 1,000 films and/or first 2 years of delving into cinema?

audience = cinephiles

Does that help, or is it still too muddled?
I get you on wanting to find balance, but I do believe for the project to be meaningful, it has to have a fundamental difference to what we are doing on other projects. You suggestions = :thumbsup:

I was also contemplating a couple other wrinkles: 1) require that films be on X other canonical lists to whittle down the number from 1000s to 50-ish OR 2) require that they not be on other canonical lists. These aren't suggestions, just thought exercises in ways to effect the project's outcome and provide meaning not found elsewhere.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 8:09 pm
by AB537
Fergenaprido wrote: May 16th, 2021, 7:43 pm
The closest would be #3, then #4. Definitely not #2, and not really #1.

With all the confusion, I suppose it might help if I give an example of what my own probable ballot would look like.

These are the Top films from my ballot for our annual favourites poll (excluding shorts, because I still haven't found a satisfactory way to weave them into the list).
My Top 52 Favourite (Feature-Length) Films
Title A
Amélie 2001
CRAZY 2005
Finding Nemo 2003
Brokeback Mountain 2005
Sound of Music 1965
Fargo 1996
Shawshank Redemption 1994
Schindler's List 1993
Matrix: I 1999
Inception 2010
Weekend 2011
Custody 2017
American Beauty 1999
Bowling for Columbine 2002
Oliver! 1968
Way He Looks 2014
Contact 1997
Milk 2008
Traffic 2000
Get Out 2017
Moonlight Mile 2002
Toy Story: III 2010
Bambi 1942
Twelve Angry Men 1957
Moulin Rouge 2001
Train of Life 1998
All About Eve 1950
Witness for the Prosecution 1957
Summer Storm 2004
I Killed My Mother 2009
Broken Circle Breakdown 2012
Silence of the Lambs 1991
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 1984
Lord of the Rings: I 2001
Lord of the Rings: III 2003
Hero 2002
Frida 2002
Lord of the Rings: II 2002
Billy Elliot 2000
Children of Men 2006
Requiem for a Dream 2000
Favourite 2018
Mary Poppins: I 1964
Philadelphia 1993
Sixth Sense 1999
Seven Samurai 1954
American History X 1998
Coco 2017
Pride 2014
Lion in Winter 1968
Shrek: I 2001
Memento 2000
And this would be some films I would be considering for this poll (a non-exhaustive list).
(Some of) My 50 Essential Films
Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (1896)
Voyage to the Moon (1902)
The General (1926)
Napoleon (1927)
Turksib (1929)
M (1931)
The Thin Man (1934)
The Grand Illusion (1937)
The Lady Vanishes (1938)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
The Great Dictator (1940)
Citizen Kane (1941)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Bambi (1942)
Suspense (1913)
All About Eve (1950)
The Young and the Damned (1950)
Seven Samurai (1954)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
12 Angry Men (1957)
Victim (1961)
Ivan's Childhood (1962)
The Sound of Music (1965)
The Shop on Main Street (1965)
Jaws (1975)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The Boat (1981)
The Man Who Planted Trees (1987)
A Year Along the Abandoned Road (1991)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Schindler's List (1993)
Zero Patience (1993)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Fargo (1996)
Children of Heaven (1997)
The Matrix (1999)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Rejected (2000)
Amélie (2001)
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Finding Nemo (2004)
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005)
Avatar (2009)
Inception (2010)
The Way He Looks (2014)
Piper (2016)
Get Out (2017)
There's a fair bit of overlap between the two for me, but less than half. For me, I'd pick a mix of films that I think showcase what cinema can do or technological advances that have happened, great stories, important subjects well-handled, and a sprinkling of personal favourites that I really think everyone should see. It's more personal than just the most critically-acclaimed films, but less personal than my own favourites. I don't even like all of the films I mentioned, but I can still recognize the importance of the ones I didn't care for, and see how they've impacted the films that came after them. And it's not a representative list that covers every decade/country/genre.

I don't want to tell people what they can and cannot include on their list, but if people need guidelines or restrictions, I suppose I could come up with some.

So, is that any clearer? B)
Thanks for the tangible example! Your approach is quite similar to how I'd envisioned doing this myself - and we'd almost certainly have a bit of overlap in our lists - so this now makes a lot more sense to me, and would be relatively easy to compile.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 10:32 pm
by Dolwphin
Moderators Note: This seems as doable as solving the Israel-Palestine conflict. *Thread closed*

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 10:42 pm
by Torgo
Fergenaprido wrote: May 16th, 2021, 5:07 pm essential = something that should be seen to better appreciate cinema as a whole? If I had to put it scientifically, perhaps then something that should be seen in the first 1,000 films and/or first 2 years of delving into cinema?
Interesting definition there. I think I would have become a very sad film buff if I sticked to only essential / important / relevant films in my first 1000 viewings and didn't sidetrack so much and amuse myself with mediocrity and trash. :$

I can see the worth of the project, but there's a high risk it will resemble something like TSPDT. Hm.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 11:07 pm
by 3eyes
Dolwphin wrote: May 16th, 2021, 10:32 pm Moderators Note: This seems as doable as solving the Israel-Palestine conflict. *Thread closed*
Aw, c'mon. Most of our discussions are like this, and some may stalk out in high dudgeon but we leave the guns and bombs at home. What's the point of discussing anything if you can't argue and nitpick to your heart's content?

I thought I added my 2 cents worth but either it didn't compute or was deemed too frivolous for such a serious matter, which of course it was --- viz, my approach to movies is too subjective and influenced by my state of mind at the time of watching for me to pontificate on essentiality.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 11:33 pm
by mjf314
Fergenaprido wrote: May 16th, 2021, 5:07 pm essential = something that should be seen to better appreciate cinema as a whole? If I had to put it scientifically, perhaps then something that should be seen in the first 1,000 films and/or first 2 years of delving into cinema?
I think the optimal strategy is to watch a variety of films at first, and then start watching more of the stuff that you like.

If I wanted to make a list of films that everyone should watch in their first 1000 films, it would contain at most 100 films. And I think it would only be a good list if it had enough variety, which is difficult to do with a poll.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 16th, 2021, 11:42 pm
by VincentPrice
Dead Alive should be on every single list, I will be taking names of those who do not include it.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 17th, 2021, 2:21 am
by Ivan0716
What makes us qualified to determine what's essential? Because some of us burn through 1000+ films a year to climb a leaderboard no one outside of this site cares about? I don't think it really matters how many films we've seen(and how many of those are official checks) when at the end of the day most of us are just amateur viewers who can't say anything about a film beyond how it "makes us feel". If anyone thinks they can approach this "objectively" without simply echoing the consensus, well good for you.

Is this a good idea? As a fun exercise why not? As something with any degree of credibility: nope.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 17th, 2021, 2:44 am
by WalterNeff
Just Google 100 essential films, combine all the lists, make sure they are on Roger Ebert's Great Movies list, and you're done.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 17th, 2021, 4:45 am
by mjf314
Ivan0716 wrote: May 17th, 2021, 2:21 am What makes us qualified to determine what's essential?
Until we have a clear definition, I don't think you can say that we're less qualified than experts.

If essential means "subjectively good", then everyone is equally qualified.

If essential means "good according to critical consensus", all you have to do is copy/paste S&S, so everyone is equally qualified.

If essential means "objectively good", then no one is qualified, because there's no such thing.

If essential means influential, then a film historian would be the most qualified, but it wouldn't be very hard to make a good list with some research. Actually there are people on this forum who have taken courses in film history, so they're somewhat qualified, but perhaps not as qualified as an expert.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 17th, 2021, 5:35 am
by beavis
when watching a lot of movies and reading a lot about them people do get a clear sense of the stuff they should know about right?
obvious examples:
you want to know about German expressionism to see its influence on what is called the noir esthetic from the late 30's going forward on horror and crime cinema
you want to know about Italian neo-realism to see its influence on auteurs moving away from the studio system from the late 40's going forward
you want to get an idea of what is meant by Lynchean, Felliniesque, the Lubitsch touch, and so on
you need to check out at least "something" from maverick original voices (with huge influence) like Bresson

the fact that it is similar to canons created by others is precisely because it is canon material. There is a large part to this that is objective and scientific, based on historical fact, which is not the same as biases, bubbles and echo chambers. Something is influential because it has had influence, period. Some influences can get forgotten and this board might pick a different set of preferences from a large pool of history than others, but other than that I do expect this to be similar to other canons indeed. The discussions about it could and should be fun though. I am sure I am forgetting tons of stuff myself (to make a list of 50, I deleted about 200 titles from my initial short-list...) and what I think is the most important would vary a lot compared to others I think.

Re: ICM Forum's Essential Cinema/Film Canon: Discussion

Posted: May 17th, 2021, 10:23 am
by cinewest
The arguments being advanced by Beavis and Hurlurberlu are both on point.

If you don’t want a boring mess, clarify the objective.

I think that an ICM canon could be interesting if it is approached the way the S & S poll is, though I imagine the result would look something like a hybrid of the IMDb top 250 and the TSP list.

Personal favorites shouldn’t be confused with “essential cinema,” which tells the the story of how cinema has evolved by touching on the various benchmarks and breakthroughs throughout cinematic history.

Personally, I think that the number of films by the same director, from the same decade, and same genre should be limited in accordance with the term “essential,” but Perhaps that opens other cans of worms....