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Vertigo knocks Citizen Kane off critics top spot

Vertigo knocks Citizen Kane off critics top spot

Vertigo knocks Citizen Kane off critics top spot

For the first time in five decades, Citizen Kane has been toppled from the number one spot in Sight & Sound magazine’s ten-yearly critics’ poll of the Greatest Films of All Time.

The Orson Welles 1941 classic, based on the life of the newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst, has been the most popular film among the panel since 1962. But the latest edition of the BFI’s magazine, which considered the views of nearly 850 film experts, has knocked it down to second place.

Sight & Sound’s seventh All Time Greatest list sees Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 psychological thriller Vertigo climb to the top, knocking Citzen Kane into second place. Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story is 3rd on the new list, with Jean Renoir’s La Règle du Jeu in 4th. Two new films in the top ten are the silent documentary Man With a Movie Camera, at number 8, just ahead of The Passion of Joan of Arc, another silent film. The most recent film in the top ten is Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, from 1968.

The only film made since 2000 to make it into the top 25 is Wong Kar-Wai’s In The Mood For Love. The top rated British film is The Third Man, at number 73, followed by Lawrence of Arabia at 81 and A Matter of Life and Death at 90. Only two female directors feature in the Top 100; Belgium’s Chantal Akerman at number 35 with Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles and Claire Denis from France, whose Beau Travail is at 78.

Nearly six times more critics, distributors and academics took part in this latest poll than the previous one, reflecting the increased proliferation of film writing over the past ten years, as a result of the internet. Each submited their individual top ten, with more than 2000 films in total being nominated. The editor of Sight & Sound, Nick James, says the result of the poll reflects changes in the culture of film criticism. “The new cinephilia seems to be not so much about films that strive to be great art, such as Citizen Kane, and that use cinema’s entire arsenal of effects to make a grand statement, but more about works that have personal meaning to the critic. Vertigo is the ultimate critic’s film.”

Vertigo was largely ignored by critics during Hitchcock’s lifetime, making Sight & Sound’s top ten for the first time in 1982, two years after his death. The BFI says its rise to the top is testament to how Hitchcock’s reputation has steadily increased over time, to be seen as a master film-maker, innovator and genius of cinema.

The latest edition of the magazine also carries a separate poll of more than 350 directors from across the world, including Woody Allen, Mike Leigh, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. For them, Vertigo was only the 7th greatest film of all time, but they also replaced Citzen Kane at the top; Tokyo Story knocked it down to second place, alongside 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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