Once a decade, Sight & Sound conducts a poll of international film critics to compile a list of the greatest films of all time. For the first time in the poll’s 70-year history, a film directed by a woman topped the list. Chantal Ackermann’s “Jean Dielmann, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Brussels” reigns supreme. Released in 1975, the drama tells the story of a middle-aged sex worker.
A press release statement said, “This year’s poll reached a wider and more diverse group than ever before and featured top 10 lists of more than 1,600 participants from all corners of the globe, who combined to receive more than 4,000 votes.” Voted for movies.” “This compares to 846 that were asked 10 years ago and reflects a variety of factors, including a more diverse group of contributors to the poll and the growing influence and reach of film commentators internationally via the Internet. This can also be explained by the explosion of access to a wider selection of movies, thanks to the proliferation of many streamers, boutique Blu-ray and DVD collections available for viewing, the growth of TV channels devoted to movies, and curated film seasons, including All of which has helped create a more cine-literate contributor.
Overall, women directed or co-directed four of the top 20 films. The second-highest ranking title starring a woman is Claire Denis’s “Beau Travail”, a 1998 portrait of an ex-Foreign Legion officer that came in seventh. Agnes Varda’s “Cleo 5 to 7” and Maya Deren and Alexander Hameed’s “Meshes of the Afternoon” came in at number 14 and 16, respectively. The former, released in 1998, follows an hour and a half into the life of a singer awaiting a medical diagnosis, and the latter, released in 1943, is a short experimental film that blurs the line between dreams and reality. Does
BFI Southbank will be screening the complete 100 Greatest Films of All Time in January, February and March. Visit BFI website To see all the movies. Entries include Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” and Julie Dash’s “Daughters of the Dust”.