Sight & Sound's Greatest Films of All Time: HIFF's Take

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Behold, the film list to end all film lists!

So long as humans have 10 fingers and toes, and that infinite library known as IMDb.com (@IMDB) right at their finger tips, Sight & Sound Magazine (@SightSoundMag) will continue their once-a-decade survey of the greatest films of all time.

Sight & Sound unveiled this decade’s list last week with arguably the biggest shake-up to the list since the poll first hit newsstands in 1952. After a nearly 50-year reign as the consensus “Greatest Film Ever Made”, Orson WellesCitizen Kane cedes the number one spot to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

Considered by many scholars and cinephiles alike to be the definite canonical list, Sight & Sound’s poll queried a total of 846 critics and 358 directors on their choices for cinema’s most outstanding achievements.

The full list of the Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time selections can be found at the British Film Institute.

While we’re in the midst of whittling down our lists of films to be screened at the 20th anniversary edition of Hamptons International Film Festival, the HIFF team took a breather and selected their favorite films from Sight & Sound’s Top 50 list.

Moved by City Lights and Tokyo Story? Blown away by 2001: A Space Odyssey and Apocalypse Now? Share your lists!  Below, HIFF programmers pick their top ten favorites.

JEFFREY BOWERS
Assistant Programmer

(in preferential order)
1. La Règle du jeu (Rules of the Game)
2. Le Mépris (Contempt) /// Pierrot le Fou
3. L’avventura
4. Stalker /// Mirror
5. Some Like It Hot
6. La Jetée
7. Au hazard Balthazar
8. Satantango
9. The General
10. Vertigo

GIANNA CHACHERE
Festival Producer

(in no particular order)
1. Vertigo
2. Citizen Kane
3. 8 ½
4. Persona
5. Mirror
6. In the Mood for Love
7. Rashomon
8. Taxi Driver
9. Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles
10. Journey to Italy
11. Some Like It Hot

BILL CURRAN
Assistant Programmer

(in chronological order)
1. Sunrise: A Song for Two Humans
2. Citizen Kane
3. Singin’ in the Rain
4. Ugestu monogatari
5. The Searchers
6. 8 ½
7. Pierrot le fou
8. Au hasard Balthazar
9. Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles
10. Close-Up

 

DAVID NUGENT
Director of Programming

(in no particular order)
1. Vertigo
2. Citizen Kane
3. Man with a Movie Camera
4. The Passion of Joan of Arc
5. Apocalypse Now
6. Andrei Rublev
7. Bicycle Thieves
8. The General
9. Metropolis
10. City Lights

 

GENEVIEVE VILLAFLOR
Programmer and Program Manager

(in preferential order)
1. Tokyo Story
2. L’avventura
3. In the Mood for Love
4. Satantango
5. Man With a Movie Camera
6. La jetee
7. 400 Blows
8. Playtime
9. Sunrise: A Song for Two Humans
10. Histoire(s) du cinema

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Free August Screenings at the Westhampton Jewish Film Festival

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This year, The Hampton Synagogue Jewish Film Festival celebrates its 10th year. Bringing Jewish history and culture to the Eastern Long Island Jewish community through film in today’s modern day and age has been a crucial component of the many cultural and religious programs that The Hampton Synagogue offers.

Every Monday evening in the month of August at 7:30pm, The Hampton Synagogue, in partnership with the Hamptons International Film Festival, will be presenting the Westhampton Jewish Film Festival located at Hampton Arts Cinema 2 Brook Road, Westhampton Beach, NY.

Admission is complimentary.

Please, RSVP to 631.288.0534 ext. 10 as limited seating is available.

The range of award winning and critically acclaimed films presented for the remainder of August includes:

Monday, August 13th
LEA & DARIJA

It’s inspiring true story about two thirteen-year-old girls who were, on the eve of World War II, great dancing and acting stars in Zagreb. Selling out theatre venues, they were praised in the most superb headlines by the Croatian and European press. They were filmed by Parisian Pathe and Berlin’s UFA.

During the Nazi persecution of Jews and the later German nationals’ flight from communists, a dramatic friendship was born through entertainment, dance, but also anxiety. This led towards an unexpected end.

Monday, August 20th
TORN

Twelve years after he was ordained as a priest Romuald Waszkinel found out that he was born to Jewish parents, that his name was Jakub Weksler. Torn between two worlds, a priest in the Polish Catholic church, and an observant Jew. Two conflicting identities that cannot co-exist, but Weksler/Waszkinel is unable to give up either one, each of which demands that he decide who he is.

Torn follows his amazing journey from conducting mass in a church in Poland to life as an observant Jew in a religious kibbutz in Israel.

Monday, August 27th
A BEAUTIFUL VALLEY

Winner of the Best Full-Length Debut Film Award at the Jerusalem International Film Festival .

Hanna Medelssohn is an 80 year old widow and a proud member of the kibbutz she helped to establish. She strongly believes in the values of social equality and cooperation on which the kibbutz was created.

Hannah’s world disintegrates as the privatization of the Kibbutz forces her into retirement and, after years of hard work and devotion, she finds herself useless. In addition she has to watch the Kibbutz turn into a community in which everyone is mainly concerned for his or her own well-being.

After all her hopes are dashed Hanna realizes that friendship still exists on the Kibbutz and that though things will never be the same, something new can flourish.

We hope to see you at the screenings!

Behind the Scenes: How to Survive a Plague Screening

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Thanks to everyone who came out for Saturday’s screening of IFC‘s How to Survive A Plague (@SurviveAPlague). The film and Q & A felt extremely important and prescient with the current state of affairs. AIDS is still very much a problem as illuminated by the films director David France, CEO of (RED) Charity (@joinred) Deborah Dugan (@debdugan), and the surprise guest Peter Staley (@PeterStaley), who was a main subject in the film and a founding member of ACT UP (@actuporg) in 1987. The film will be released limited starting September 21, 2012.

If you’re interested in more information on either (RED) or ACT UP and how you can help please visit the links below.

www.joinred.com
www.actupny.org

Also, please visit How to Survive A Plague’s website for an in-depth and informative timeline on the AIDS movement and other ways to help.

www.surviveaplague.com

More great photos from the screening below.

How to Survive a Plague Screening (HIFF)

How to Survive a Plague Screening (HIFF)

How to Survive a Plague Screening (HIFF)

 

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HIFF Interview: How to Survive a Plague director David France

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HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE is the story of two coalitions—ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group)—whose activism turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition. Faced with their own mortality, a group of mostly HIV-positive men and women broke the mold as radical warriors taking on Washington and the medical establishment.

First-time director and award-winning journalist David France has covered the AIDS crisis for 30 years. In HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGE, France culls a vast array of archival footage to create not just a historical document, but also a visceral recreation of the period through the personal stories of some of movement’s leading participants. HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE captures the epic day-by-day battles that finally made AIDS survival possible.

How do you view activism and its effectiveness in today’s culture compared with that of the ‘80s? You’ve mentioned that the AIDS movement was “the first kind of self-documented movement.” ACT UP utilized every type of media outlet available at the time (Public Access TV, Street Theater, Teach-Ins, rally’s, etc.), what sort of difference do you think the Internet and connectivity that exists today could have made?

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and smartphones make organizing a
demonstration easy. They drove tens of thousands of people into the Arab
Spring movement, and filled plazas for Occupy Wall Street. They’re the
powerful tools behind the pro-democracy movement in Moscow and the
anti-austerity grassroots protests in Buenos Aires, Athens, Madrid, and
elsewhere. But for lasting impact, none of those organizing efforts has
yet proved as effective as ACT UP, which operated at the early dawn of
modern connectivity. The people in ACT UP prefigured much of the coming
social network revolution. Their camcorders were the early version of
flip phone cameras. Instead of texting, they pulled together flash mobs
(though they called them “zaps”) via the Phone Tree: Peter calls 10
people, who in turn call 10 people, an so on. Public Access TV was the
early YouTube equivalent. And cell phones did exist then — they were
the size of a loaf of bread, and were prohibitively expensive to own,
but ACT UP rented them regularly so that they could the alert the press
after chaining themselves to some bureaucrat’s ankles, something you
might announce with a Facebook post today. So they weren’t operating in
a totally primitive time, technologically speaking. But lacking
hyper-connectivity had its advantages back then. ACT UP members carried
on all their discussions and strategy sessions face-to-face. They met
every Monday, and in committees even more often. They worked out
disputes and encouraged a kind of creativity and boldness that we
haven’t seen yet in the current movements. It makes me wonder if
Facebook might have hindered the work back then. Unplugging can be its
own powerful social networking tool.

You and your team are creating a new timeline featuring activism on and for AIDS. Could you explain what role you hope this film and timeline will play in the ongoing AIDS crisis?

The online timeline we launched last week is essentially an interactive
version of the events in the film. It’s the brainchild of Tricia
Finneran, who with her team at Veritas is enacting our engagement
campaign around the film. We’re tweeting and Facebooking on the
milestones of the epidemic domestically and globally, with an emphasis
on the role of activism. By the time HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE hit
theaters on September 21, the timeline will be fully populated for the
years 1981 to 1996, when effective AIDS drugs finally changed the
disease prognosis. We want the public to share their experiences in that
time period, with pictures and videos and recollections. And as the film
rolls out and takes a life of its own following September, we want to
see the timeline build into the present and the future. Our underhanded
goal of course is to enthrall people with the history and power of
activism to the point where they want to sign up and take activism into
the future. There’s plenty of work on the ground for contemporary AIDS
advocates. For one thing, the lifesaving drugs aren’t reaching 28
million people in the developing world, for whom surviving the plague is
still only a dream. Think what ACT UP-style activism might do to address
that crisis!

The AIDS movement had pointed and specific goals in regards to the results it wanted, whereas Occupy Wall Street has a breadth of issues it wants to address. Do you feel this umbrella activism is useful or is it holding it back?

Actually, ACT UP was also engaged in “umbrella activism,” to use your
term. As an organization, under the mandate of fighting AIDS, it had a
massive agenda: Convince society of the humanity of gays and IV-drug
users; change news coverage of the epidemic; promote condom us and
needle exchange; make hospitals into safe places for the sick; force Big
Pharma to invest in AIDS research; change the way the NIH investigates
basic science and the FDA regulates drugs (reorganize both agencies);
incorporate women and people of color into trials; build housing for
homeless people with HIV; transform how insurance deals with the disease
and how lawmakers criminalize the afflicted; win a place for patients at
the table; and liberate government funding for all of the above. It
succeeded spectacularly in most of these areas — and remember, they
were in the trenches for most of a decade doing this work. What they
didn’t accomplish, to the lasting disappointment of many members, was
the ultimate goal of nationalizing health care in America, which is as
huge a goal as anything the Occupy people have envisioned and a debate
that burns as hotly today as it did then.

Behind the Scenes: Babette's Feast

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This past weekend, the Hamptons International Film Festival (@hamptonsfilm) and Film Society of Lincoln Center (@FilmLinc) hosted a 25th anniversary screening of the Academy Award winning Danish film, Babette’s Feast , in honor of the ongoing celebration of 50 years of The New York Film Festival. Keeping with the film’s culinary theme, the evening kicked off with a cocktail reception at The Maidstone and was concluded by a lively discussion with Bob Giraldi (co-owner, Jean Georges; director, Dinner Rush), Bob Spitz and Fern Berman (publicist, Julia Child), moderated by Geoffrey Drummond producer, My Dinner With Andre and Eric Ripert’s Avec Eric about the current state of “foodie films.” As moviegoers exited Guild Hall, they were treated to slices of truly mouthwatering vegan Carrot Cake, courtesy of East Hamptons restaurant Babette’s, which takes it’s name from the film.

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