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Delphine Seyrig in Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)

In the long run-up to Thursday’s presentation of the results of Sight and Sound’s decennial Greatest Films of All Time poll, there was a lot speculation focused on the weathered champions. Would Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane (1941) reclaim the top spot it had held for fifty years until Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) staged an upset in 2012? Would another high-scoring favorite such as Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)—which is now #1 in the separately conducted poll of 480 directors—take us by surprise? The surprise in 2022, it turns out, is more momentous. 1,639 critics, programmers, and scholars have voted Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975) to the top of the list of one hundred all-timers.

Made when Akerman was only twenty-five, Jeanne Dielman gives us Delphine Seyrig as a seemingly unremarkable widow tending to her daily chores—making beds, scrubbing the bath, preparing a meatloaf dinner—over a period of three days. Each afternoon, though, she turns a trick to pay for the oppressively quiet existence she shares with her son. As Ivone Margulies, the author of Nothing Happens: Chantal Akerman’s Hyperrealist Everyday,points out, “more than a corrective to traditional cinema, Jeanne Dielman is a lesson in structural economy: the full visibility given to daily tasks exacts, as its cost, the more sensational scenes of Jeanne’s prostitution.”

In a succinct primer on Jeanne Dielman for the New York Times, Stephanie Goodman points us to further reading from Manohla Dargis, who writes that Akerman “gave an old-fashioned women’s picture an avant-garde makeover to create a slow-boiling masterpiece,” and from J. Hoberman, who observes that the film is “also an exercise in narrative suspense. The ordinary becomes supercharged, and the protagonist’s routine so familiar that the viewer senses something amiss when she forgets to place the cover on the soup tureen where she keeps her earnings.”

The NYT’s Reggie Ugwu has some slightly encouraging but ultimately sobering numbers. Only eleven films directed by women have made the 2022 one hundred, but that’s up from just two in 2012. Seven films by Black directors? Up from one, Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Touki Bouki (1973), which rises from sharing the #93 slot with eight other films to holding #66 on its own. We’ve now got ten years to open the gates at least a little bit wider. Maybe a lot wider? In the meantime, you can be sure that we’re going to mention that you can watch more than fifty films on the 2022 list right now on the Criterion Channel.

Before bullet-pointing a few recent highlights, let’s note that the new Artforum is out with best-of-2022 lists from John Waters, Amy Taubin, James Quandt, and Erika Balsom. Cahiers du cinéma editors have voted Pacifiction to the top of their ten, and Albert Serra’s latest is sharing this year’s Louis Delluc Prize with Alice Diop’s Saint Omer. The staff at IndieWire have put Charlotte Wells’s Aftersun at the top of their annotated list of twenty-five films, while contributors to Alt/Kino look back on their favorite cinematic experiences of the year. Stephanie Zacharek, who recently profiled Steven Spielberg for a Time cover story, names The Fabelmans the best film of 2022, while both Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson and Vox’s Alissa Wilkinson are going for Todd Field’s Tár.

  • In the Neighborhood: The Films of Paweł Łoziński opens today at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image and runs through the weekend. The Polish documentary filmmaker spent two and a half years interviewing random passersby from his Warsaw apartment for The Balcony Movie (2021), which has picked up awards in Locarno and Leipzig. “Each of Paweł Łoziński’s films is an earnest endeavor to activate the dormant emotional potency of everyday life,” writes Julia Gunnison for Screen Slate. “His nonfiction works express an insistence, or perhaps a hope, that the mundanity of existence is masking something more—something easily discoverable if one has the discipline to look long and hard enough, or to ask the right questions.”

  • In a piece for the Baffler on independent Black British filmmaking in Thatcher’s England, Yasmina Price zeroes in on the Sankofa Film and Video Collective and, more specifically, on Sankofa’s newly restored first feature, The Passion of Remembrance (1986), cowritten and codirected by Maureen Blackwood and Isaac Julien. “This singular film resurfaces at a time when the poignancy of its political interventions is grimly confirmed, just as the longevity of its daring aesthetics is beautifully asserted,” writes Price. “Sankofa’s transformative approach and diasporic sensibility challenged the Eurocentrism of the cinematic avant-garde and the terms of power that dictate the terms of remembrance and representation.”

  • Novelist Rachel Kushner sets two road movies next to each other in an evocative essay for Harper’s. America is seen through the eyes of a Swiss photographer and a gaggle of British rock stars in Robert Frank’s Cocksucker Blues (1972), the famously revealing document of the Rolling Stone’s Exile on Main Street tour, and through the lens of Italian director Luca Guadagnino in Bones and All. When Kushner walked out of the theater at Telluride after seeing the latter for the first time, she thought to herself, “If anyone from anywhere wants to understand this country as a concept, a people, a landscape, a special kind of vast beauty, a host of curses and blights, they can watch this movie.”

  • For nearly ten years, writer, researcher, and filmmaker Irfan Shah has opened talks and articles with a variation on this grabber: “In October 1888, the French inventor Louis Le Prince shot what many people now consider to be the world’s first true films. However, he never got to show the world what he had achieved, for on 16 September 1890, and just before he was expected to sail to New York to demonstrate his films in public for the first time, he boarded the Dijon to Paris train and was never seen again.” Launching a new three-part series at the Optilogue, Shah explains that, while the gist here is essentially true, some of these claims need to be tweaked.

  • If you caught the trailer for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny when Lucasfilm released it yesterday, you’ll have noticed that this fifth Indy movie is the first not to be directed by Steven Spielberg. James Mangold, the director of Cop Land (1997), Walk the Line (2005), 3:10 to Yuma (2007), Ford v Ferrari (2019), and of course, two Marvel movies, The Wolverine (2013) and Logan (2017), has taken the helm. Ian Scott and Terence McSweeney profile Mangold in the new Cineaste and find him “surprisingly forthcoming about the vicissitudes of Hollywood filmmaking.” Also in the new issue: David Sterritt on three films from the Czechoslovak New Wave, Sam Girgus’s interview with Barry Levinson, and a preview of Stuart Liebman’s article on Nuri Bilge Ceylon.

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