Why Lists?


‘Woman in the Dunes’

[Editor’s note: Keyframe commences fifty days of lists today. Look to this space for continued aggregation of those creations as the year closes, but/and fear not: Along with lists, we will continue to offer features, breaking news and more.]

1. It is suspected (and evidence seems to support) that written language was developed initially for the purpose of making lists. Our innate inclination toward taxonomy permeates every aspect of human existence.

2. The item above is not a fact. It is a fabrication for the purpose of demonstrating that things appearing in the form of a list are often accepted as true with little need for verification. Lists, then, presuppose a certain certitude that the author of the list knows something about the subject upon which the list was created. Maybe they do. Maybe they don’t. However, it might merely represent an opinion.

3. Lists have a certain ubiquity (particularly around the end of a year). The need to classify an individual’s annual experiences can bring either delight or despair for the reader.

4. While the overwhelming majority of lists are a plague upon humankind, not all are a nuisance. Some are even helpful for the purposes of discovery. If I were to tell you that Andrei Tarkovsky made a list* in the 1970s of what he believed to be the ten greatest films ever made, you might be inclined to seek a few of them out? Conversely, Wikipedia has a category devoted to lists (of course). The first subcategory of “lists” is “lists of lists.” And the first subcategory of “lists of lists” is “lists of lists of lists.” [“Lists of lists of lists” has no subcategories, unfortunately.]

5. Three years ago, we began our modest contribution to list-making efforts by serially republishing Scott Smith’s “Film 100” (which we endeavored fully knowing that there would be discord and disagreement amongst our readers, another certainty whenever and wherever lists are involved). Last year, we expanded on the practice by debuting a new list every day for the month of December. Not to be outdone, this time around this monstrosity has grown and begins even earlier: fifty lists in fifty days. Film-related lists of every shape, sort and permutation. Welcome to a bounty of hierarchical ponderings from many of our finest contributors!

Enjoy! Or let the kvetching begin…

* Tarkovsky’s list:
1. Diary of a Country Priest [dir. Robert Bresson]
2. Winter Light [dir. Ingmar Bergman]
3. Nazarin [dir. Luis Buñuel]
4. Wild Strawberries [dir. Ingmar Bergman]
5. City Lights [dir. Charles Chaplin]
6. Ugetsu monogatari [dir. Kenji Mizoguchi]
7. Seven Samurai [dir. Akira Kurosawa]
8. Persona [dir. Ingmar Bergman]
9. Mouchette [dir. Robert Bresson]
10. Woman in the Dunes [dir. Hiroshi Teshigahara]



The Lists of 2014: Fifty Days, Fifty Lists

1. November 12, “Film 101: Part One,” Dennis Harvey
2. November 13, “This Is What Protest Look Like,” Alece Oxendine
3. November 14, “Yes, No and an Occasional Maybe,” Lynne Sachs
4. November 15, “The Post-Gay Way,” David Ehrenstein
5. November 16, “Frederick Wiseman’s Top 4 Documentaries,” Samuel Fragoso
6. November 17, “Top 10 Docs“, Steven Erickson
7. November 18, “Cinema for a Desert Island,” Max Goldberg
8. November 19, Film 101: Part Two, Dennis Harvey
9. November 20, “Into the Wild,” Dennis Harvey
10. November 21, “That’s not Art, That’s Smut,” Sean Axmaker
11. November 22, “Table Manners,” Susan Gerhard
12. November 23, “Restorations, Revelations and Debuts of 2014,” Sean Axmaker
13. November 24, “Ten Films About Food,” Anna Tatarska
14. November 25, “Silver Lining,” Nathan Silver
15. November 26, “Film 101: Part Three,” Dennis Harvey
16. November 27, “Five Haunted Cities,” Cristina Alvarez Lopez
17. November 28, “Ten Great Long Takes,” Michael Pattison
18. November 29, “Journeys: On the Road,” Sean Axmaker
19. November 30, “Best First Feature Films,” Kevin B. Lee
20. December 1, “Five Great Soundtracks,” Adrian Martin
21. December 2, “Ten Really Bad Things in Film Biz 2014,” Ted Hope
22. December 3, “Ten Really Good Things in Film Biz 2014,” Ted Hope
23. December 4, “Film 101: Part Four,” Dennis Harvey
24. December 5, “Ten Films that Succeed in Capturing the Drug Experience,” Caveh Zahedi
25. December 6, “The Space Race,” Pam Grady
26. December 7, “Ten Silent Movies to Entertain,” Sean Axmaker
27. December 8, “The Ten Best Coming-of-Age Movies that Aren’t BOYHOOD,” Tomas Hachard
28. December 9, “Style Is Substance,” Chuck Bowen
29. December 10, “Top 25 Feature Films of 2014,” Susan Gerhard
30. December 11, “Top 20 Performances of 2014,” Susan Gerhard
31. December 11, “Film 101: Part Five,” Dennis Harvey
32. December 12, “Top 10 Documentaries of 2014,” Susan Gerhard
33. December 13, “Better than BOYHOOD? Ten Best Films of 2014,” Kevin B. Lee
34. December 14, “3 Reasons THE 3 ROOMS OF MELANCHOLIA Is Necessary Viewing,” Anthony Kaufman
35. December 15, “Great Expectations: Reconsiderations 2014,” Calum Marsh
36. December 16, “Top 5 Experimental Films of 2014,” Michael Sicinski
37. December 17, “Best of the Avant-Garde 2014,” Jordan Cronk
38. December 18, “Best Pop Music Cues of 2014,” Adam Nayman
39. December 19, “Christopher Coppola’s Year in Review,” Michael Fox
40. December 20, “Best First Features of 2014,” Susan Gerhard
41. December 21, “Best Films Not Yet at a Theater Near You,” Susan Gerhard
42. December 25, “The Year in Cats,” Calum Marsh
43. December 27, “10 Best Twosomes,” Tomas Hachard
44. December 28, “Keyframe’s Year in Video Essays,” Kevin B. Lee
45. December 29, “The Best Video Essays of 2014,” Kevin B. Lee
46. December 30, “Anatomy of a Filmmaker, Four Filmmakers at Work,” Sarah Ginsburg
47. December 30, “Best Documentaries of 2014” [Critics’ Lists], Susan Gerhard
48. December 31, “Best Features of 2014” [Critics’ Lists], Susan Gerhard
49. December 31, “Frame by Frame 2014,” Susan Gerhard
50. December 31, “The Assortment Pack: A Year in Review,” Jonathan Marlow

Did you like this article?
Give it a vote for a Golden Bowtie


Keyframe is always looking for contributors.

"Writer? Video Essayist? Movie Fan Extraordinaire?

Fandor is streaming on Amazon Prime

Love to discover new films? Browse our exceptional library of hand-picked cinema on the Fandor Amazon Prime Channel.