The alternative greatest films ever: The Sight & Sound and student poll

Course Dates: 22/04/24 - 15/07/24
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Location: Keeley Street
This is a stand-alone companion course to the Autumn ’23 course on the Sight and Sound Poll of the Greatest Films of All Time. The first reactions to the Sight and Sound Poll 2022 were divisive, as completely expected, when certain 21st-century films made the list and other venerated classics were dropped (see topics below for the list). As interesting as the top 100 was to discuss, we wanted to look a bit deeper to see how the reception of certain films shifted over the last decade, with a rundown of the films that were added and those removed. Be assured, they are as enjoyable as the Top 100—perhaps even more so. In addition to viewing the films that were added or dropped, students will conduct their own poll of the Greatest Films of All Time. Enjoy either or both of these complementary courses.
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The alternative greatest films ever: The Sight & Sound and student poll
  • Course Code: HF013
  • Dates: 22/04/24 - 15/07/24
  • Time: 18:00 - 19:30
  • Taught: Mon, Evening
  • Duration: 11 sessions (over 13 weeks)
  • Location: Keeley Street
  • Tutor: John Wischmeyer

Course Code: HF013

Choose a start date  

Mon, eve, 22 Apr - 15 Jul '24

Duration: 11 sessions (over 13 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Centre for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

As you can see below, about a quarter of the list switched up this time: Wong Kar-wai, Charles Burnett, Spike Lee, Jordan Peele, Barry Jenkins, and Bong Joon-ho were more represented, as well as major showings for a number of women filmmakers—Agnès Varda, Chantal Akerman, Céline Sciamma, and Maya Daren. The films that were dropped represent some odd dichotomies: Goodfellas made its way onto the list, Raging Bull fell off. The Godfather leaped forward, while its sequel left—alongside Lawrence of Arabia, Chinatown, The Magnificent Ambersons, Fanny and Alexander, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, The Seventh Seal, L’eclisse, The Mother and the Whore (though the new 2023 restoration could mean its return). Looking deeper into the lists, it’s fascinating to see which films had major leaps forward: Claire Denis’ Beau travail went from #78 in 2012 to #7 this year, while In the Mood for Love (2000 Wong Kar-Wei) and Mulholland Dr. (2001 David Lynch) (the top 10’s only 21st-century titles) jumped around twenty spots, respectively. Jeanne Dielman (1975 Chantal Akerman), 2022’s #1 pick, vaulted from #36 a decade prior.

What will we cover?

We will consider, explore and analyse those films that have been added to the list as well as those that have been dropped from it. This includes films such as:

New Additions
=95. Get Out
=90. Parasite
=88. Chungking Express
=88. The Shining
=78. Céline and Julie Go Boating
=72. My Neighbour Totoro
=67. The Gleaners and I
=67. The Red Shoes
30. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
24. Do the Right Thing
16. Meshes of the Afternoon
14. Cléo from 5 to 7
=93. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
=93. Un chien andalou
=93. Intolerance
=84. The Wild Bunch
=81. Lawrence of Arabia
=78. Chinatown
=73. Le grande illusion
=73. Les enfants du paradise
=57. Touch of Evil
=53. Raging Bull
=21. The Godfather Part II.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Define and evaluate critically what constitutes a good or great film
• Display a knowledge of a diverse range of films world-wide across the history of cinema.
• Describe and evaluate critically individual films that are your favourites and create your personal top ten.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is a course for those interested in cinema. No previous experience or film study is necessary.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Opening lecture illustrated by film clips followed by group discussions and screenings. No outside work.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

No other costs. Tutor will screen extracts of films or supply links to online viewing. Bring notepad or tablet.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Look for other courses in Film Studies under, culture and writing/film studies.

John Wischmeyer

John Wischmeyer (MA in Film Theory) set up, ran and programmed his own cinema in West London and has since taught film studies at the former Gainsborough studio, the BFI and City Lit since 1999, Hitchcock’s centenary year. John has covered a wide range film topics under the banner ‘Cinema Investigates America’ and has a particular interest in and considerable knowledge of Hitchcock, Hollywood studios, American independent cinema and film noir, film technique and style.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.