The 30 Best Movies Ever Made: Video Essays
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The 30 Best Movies Ever Made: Video Essays

Last week, we featured the decade’s results Sight and Sound poll to determine the greatest film of all time. No one might agree with every one of his ratings, but then, some of the fun of cinephilia lies in disagreeing – and even more in doing some of the ratings themselves. Such is Lewis Bond’s video essay project in the video directly above from his Youtube channel The Cinema Cartography. It presents a list of the thirty greatest films, starting at number thirty and ending at number one, across various time periods, cultures, and aesthetics.

We expect nothing less from The Cinema Cartography, previously featured here at Open Culture for videos on subjects such as cities and places in film, cinematography, and animation, as well as on select auteurs such as David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino, and Andrei Tarkovsky. None of Tarantino’s films make the top thirty here, although they do face stiff competition, including Lynch’s film. Mulholland dr. and both Andrei Rublev and Mirror by Tarkovskynot to mention works from the likes of Stanley Kubrick, Orson Welles, Ingmar Bergman, Peter Greenaway, Martin Scorsese, Ozu Yasujirō, and Francis Ford Coppola.

“The idea of ​​a canon, or any form of list, is an obsessive, hopeless endeavor,” Lewis Bond says in the video’s introduction. “Whatever the thought process, this is a film that clearly, somewhere, resonated with me at my deepest levels. For all I know, I can manage the exact same list in a year’s time, and every entry can be different. No matter what you dedicate your cultural life to, you know the feeling, but you also know the value of seeing someone else’s set of preferences clearly defined and articulated justified.

You might not feel exactly the same way Bond feels about these two My dinner with Andre and Lord of the Rings trilogy (in any case, rare double enthusiasm), but seeing where he places them in relation to other films can help give you a sense of whether and how they might fit into your personal canon—as well as the kind of context a film needs to have its place. It’s easy to get too obsessive about this sort of thing, which at some level just boils down to ordering and re-ordering tons of movies on an endless list. But as cinephiles know, our canon is who we are: complex, idiosyncratic, subject to endless change, and — so we hope, at least — coherent.

Related content:

The Ten Greatest Films of All Time According to 846 Film Critics

The Top Ten Films of All Time According to 358 Filmmakers

The Nine Greatest Movies You’ve Never Seen

The 100 Best Films of All Time According to 1,639 Film Critics & 480 Directors: See a Decade’s Results Sight and Sound Election

Quentin Tarantino Names His 20 Favorite Movies, Spanning Two Decades

How Filmmakers Tell Their Stories: Three Insightful Video Essays Reveal the Art of Editing, Composition & Colour

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcastst about the city, language and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter book about cities, book The City Without a State: A Journey through 21st Century Los Angeles and video series City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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