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The Reeler Blog

More Lists: Women Film Journalists Speak

This is interesting: As promised, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists weighed in on this whole 100 best/greatest/superest movies list phenomenon, and while it's technically cosmopolitan apples to AFI's dodgy domestic oranges, the key is AWFJ's recognition of both women in cinema and the value in challenging Hollywood orthodoxy. It's not a perfect list (really though, none are, right?), but its motivation and surprises deserve a lot of credit:

The 10th Anniversary of AFI’s 100 Greatest Movies List got us to thinking, especially when we noticed that of 400 films nominated for AFI’s list, only 4.5 were directed by women. Without knowing who’d been on AFI’s nominating committee nor what instructions they were given, we thought it would be interesting and fun to see whether AWFJ members -– a diverse group of strongly opinionated and outspoken professional women film journalists who care passionately about the movies and industry they cover– would develop a list substantially different AFI‘s. Without issuing directives nor suggesting that only films made by and/or about women be eligible, we asked members to suggest titles they’d like to see on AWFJ’s Top 100 Films List. ... It’s neither politically nor academically correct, and it’s far from definitive. But it can be said to reflect our women’s perspective, and we’ve annotated each title, indicating why it’s favored.

Fair enough. Moreover, it's alphabetical; none of this The Searchers-gets-the-bends-shooting-from-bottom-to-top, Titanic-is-better-than-The Last Picture Show bullshit that people actually pretend to think twice about. It's basically saying, "Hey, here are some movies we think are really good; have you seen them?" I can't vouch for the selections of, say, Rabbit Proof Fence or Water, nor the continued exclusion of Cassavetes (and Gena Rowlands) benchmarks like A Woman Under the Influence or Opening Night in favor of, ahem, Million Dollar Baby, but at least I'm going to see something here I haven't seen before on every critics' poll during my lifetime. Nowhere in Africa? All About my Mother? For what my hat tip is worth, it's off to this gang. And now I promise I'll shut up about the whole thing.

Posted at June 26, 2007 10:35 AM

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