SCREEN-L Archives

June 1998, Week 3


Options: Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Jesse Kalin <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 17 Jun 1998 12:46:16 -0400
text/plain (29 lines)
Unlike Gloria, I thoroughly enjoyed the AFI's "100 Best"--rather against my
expectations.  This doesn't mean I don't think they did a number of things
wrong, including the treatments of race she cites (but "Birth of a Nation"
does belong on the list) or that it's not blatantly directed toward
selling/renting films, as Jessica Rosner has argued (if I caught this
correctly--it was a brief promo toward the end--the AFI is offering all 100
as a video tape subscription series).  I was throughout struck by the power
of the film image--again and again.  This connects with some of the remarks
that Mike Frank makes.  More accurately, the list is the 100 <most popular>
American Films, and I don't mean this in a dismissive way.  It is the list
of films that have enthralled and moved the mainstream American audience,
films that have made an impression on us and that we (want to) see again
and again.  (In this regard, the AFI is a Hollywood institution--not a
surprise.)  This is film as "entertainment," of course, but not just
entertainment--there's a lot of truth (or seriousness, if you prefer) out
there, too (time and again commentators spoke of how these films, when they
were new and they first saw them, spoke to their own experience).  In this
regard, the list is not at all bad.  And, in <this> regard, the way the
final 100 were chosen is understandable--an attempt at some "cross section"
of the American audience (mostly, I suspect, between the ages of 40-70 and
many not in any way professonally involved with film).  The list, then, is
not so much a celebration of the "best" American films but of the ones we
(as a country) "really like the best," and in that regard, a celebration of
the effect and place Movies have in the American psyche.
Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite