• [The Daily] Lists and Awards: S&S, Cahiers, NYT

    By David Hudson

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    David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks: The Return has not only been voted up to the #2 slot in Sight & Sound’s “best films of 2017” poll of 188 international critics and curators, it’s also come out on the very top of Cahiers du Cinéma’s list of ten. And this has sparked the debate many have seen coming since this summer, when Lynch kept saying—to Kory Grow in Rolling Stone, for example—that “I see it as a film—so it's an eighteen-hour film. It's like directing anything in cinema. It's exactly like working on a film.”

    “I’m always up for an endless debate that paralyzes my Twitter feed into repetitive stasis for twelve-plus hours at a time,” writes Vadim Rizov, diving in at Filmmaker, even though “I can’t imagine a topic to get less exercised about than whether a TV series is illegitimately occupying a slot that should belong to a Real Movie.” Still, he does lay out the argument that “it’s ridiculous to pretend that the new Twin Peaks is primarily, to the point of exclusivity, interested in Peak TV concerns. The series, in fact, does not conform to any previous models of TV either, and I don’t expect what follows in the American sector to build upon it in any meaningful way.”

    Reviewing the new Blu-ray set Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series for The Verge, Noel Murray adds that “saying ‘Twin Peaks isn’t just television’ doesn’t mean it’s better . . . only that it’s different. And in some significant ways, it isn’t that different. In the original 1990–91 ABC series, Lynch and Frost borrowed elements from serialized TV, like daytime soaps and police procedurals, and classic Hollywood, like film noir and lurid melodramas.”

    Back to the lists. It’s likely that we’ll soon be able to browse all 188 Sight & Sound ballots, but in the meantime, we’ve got a top twenty-six titles to consider. The top ten:

    And #9’s a tie, bringing us to ten: Sean Baker’s The Florida Project and David Lowery’s A Ghost Story.

    The Cahiers du Cinéma top ten:

    Before rolling out her top ten in the New York Times alongside A. O. Scott’s, Manohla Dargis argues that “the allegations leveled against” Harvey Weinstein, Brett Ratner, and “other influential men in the entertainment industry and outside it are the cultural story of 2017.” Hours later, Time would name “The Silence Breakers” Person of the Year. In a separate piece, Dargis writes that she yearns “to believe that both these accusations and the anger that’s surged in their wake will make a difference. But I wonder how this anger can be directed to effect real change, specifically in an institution that’s been as historically rigged against women as the American movie industry. Because anger alone isn’t enough.”

    Again, back to the lists. Dargis on her #1: “Most war movies are about winning. Dunkirk is about surviving. With peerless craft and technique, Mr. Nolan puts you in the air, on the sea and on the ground during a World War II rescue mission and, once the rescue is over, makes it harrowingly clear that the fight goes on.”

    The Florida Project tops Scott’s list: “The promise of an independent, socially conscious, aesthetically adventurous homegrown cinema is spectacularly redeemed in Sean Baker’s latest feature, which managed to be both the most joyful and the most heartbreaking movie of the year.”

    Also in the NYT, and also all on one page, James Poniewozik, Mike Hale, and Margaret Lyons write about their favorite television shows of 2017. Poniewozik’s list is alphabetical, and yes, Twin Peaks is in there. Hale focuses on international TV, while Lyons looks back in the “10 Best Shows That Ended in 2017.” Her #1: The Leftovers.

    “What a great year for TV,” writes Rob Sheffield in Rolling Stone, “as opposed to pretty much any other aspect of life in America during 2017.” Topping his list of twenty is, of course, Twin Peaks. His #2: Paolo Sorrentino’s The Young Pope.

    Twin Peaks comes in at #3 on IndieWire’s top ten. It’s The Leftovers at #1, followed by Pamela Adlon’s Better Things at #2.

    Big Little Lies, written by David E. Kelley and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, is #1 for Lara Zarum in the Village Voice. No mention in this top ten of Twin Peaks, by the way.

    “For well over two decades, Björk has redefined the limits of what a music video can be, creating a continuous arc of boundary-smashing visions,” writes Marc Hogan. You can watch it along with the nineteen other music videos on Pitchfork’s list.

    Back in the NYT, Ben Brantley and Jesse Green look back on the best of the year in theater.

    To the tunes. Year-End Lists has The Wire’s “Top 50 Releases of 2017,” and contributors to Slant and Vulture write about the best singles.

    AWARDS

    Lion picked up a further five prizes at the Australian Academy of Cinematic and Television Arts Awards,” reports Patrick Frater for Variety. “Its haul included best picture, and best director for Garth Davis. . . . Earlier in the week at a prize-giving lunch, Lion made a clean sweep of the technical awards, winning in all seven categories for which it was nominated. . . . Nicole Kidman was named best supporting actress, Dev Patel was named best supporting actor, and child star Sunny Pawar was named best actor, becoming the youngest ever recipient. Kidman won a second acting prize, best guest or supporting actress in a TV drama, with Top of the Lake: China Girl.

    For news and items of interest throughout the day, every day, follow @CriterionDaily.

4 comments

  • By Chris L.
    December 06, 2017
    02:50 PM

    Possibly of interest for list nerds like myself: Manohla Dargis' list is in alphabetical order as well as numbered, so we can't be sure which way she meant it to be read. (Most previous years, she's made it clearly unranked.) It does seem unlikely that she would place Nolan above all those other titles, but who knows?
    Reply
  • By Jeremy C.
    December 07, 2017
    08:05 PM

    I'm opposed to putting TV shows on best films lists not because TV shows aren't "Real Movies," but because they're not in fair competition with movies due to how they are both distributed. A single movie can't be much longer than 3 1/2 hours if audiences are going to be willing to sit through it in one sitting, but a TV show can be dozens of hours long and maintain an audience by being serialized in convenient seasons consisting of (half-)hour-long installments. All things being equal - and they mostly are, though films this year like "Dunkirk" and "Blade Runner 2049" would lose some epicness if they were on the small screen, and half the fun of "Raw" was watching half of the audience walk out in disgust before the ending - the TV show will be superior by virtue of its greater length. With it, a show can weave more complex plots and characters, and go into its themes with greater depth than any movie that is only a few hours long can ever hope to.
    Reply
    • By Jeremy C.
      December 07, 2017
      08:28 PM

      Perhaps an analogy could be made comparing short films with short stories, films with novellas, and TV shows (of at least 5-6 hours) with novels (or a series of novels). The first is good for expressing great, original ideas for the sake of expressing them, the second is good for fleshing that idea out a bit without having to worry about the minutiae, and third is where we can really go in depth into things.