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Nick Pinkerton:

Nick Pinkerton: “I have myself been at times a consumer of lists, and like many a compulsive film viewer, I was to some degree raised by them, and got some sense of my bearings through the framework for exploring ‘world cinema’ that they provided. There are principled stances to be taken for and against the list. Representative of the pro- camp is Jonathan Rosenbaum who, in the introduction to his collection ‘Essential Cinema’ proposes the list as a means to speak truth to power, writing that ‘the disinclination of American film academics to offer any alternative canons has continued to give the industry an unchallenged playing field, assisted by such recent promotional campaigns as the American Film Institute’s various polls that list the one hundred greatest American films, stars, comedies, and so on.’ For the anti- party I’ll offer an excerpt from a 2019 piece, “Against Lists,” published in ‘Another Gaze’ by Elena Gorfinkel, a UK academic, who writes: “The impulse to list is allied with collection, a desire to record, to archive, to remember, to preserve experience and the aesthetic feeling of films one might not otherwise recall. These are meaningful, important and historically enshrined activities, on their own terms. But in this hyper-mediated moment, the recirculated compulsory form of the list—list as desiderata of consumption, a grocery receipt of your watching—has become an instrument of commodity fetishism, of algorithmic capture, of priapic, indulgent self-exposure.’”

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