By Mark Peranson
Writing in a very hungover state on an unseasonably warm New Year’s Day, the words on the computer screen about as fuzzy as my brain is functioning, I realize more than ever that, sometimes in life, tough choices need to be made. Like, for example, deciding once again not to participate in that famous film poll and doing my best to avoid any discussion of it, though I understand from glancing at the BBC website that some film about a woman cooking potatoes directed by Jeanne Dielman won. Another tough choice: I have gone with the normal formatting of the film Tár, because in all caps it just looks silly.
The toughest choice remains, and I am being honest here and not overdramatic. The current economics for small magazines such as they are (namely, awful), compounded by restrictions on the time of this overworked middle-aged gentleman (which, in turn, has compounded the acceptable amount of disorder that transpires every three months of each year), has made me question the viability of continuing to steer this publication through the troubled waters of the current state of cinema, and the arts in general. I am losing money on each issue, which is acceptable to me up to a point, though a decrease in grant funding for the upcoming year doesn’t help matters. After more than 20 years of doing this—and typing that really does make me feel old—it should be getting easier, but it isn’t. So my resolution for the forthcoming year is to resolve this issue, one way or the other.
Maybe it also has something to do with the feeling, with all of these (inevitable) filmmaker deaths, of reaching a kind of end point—maybe it’s better to be proactive and cut the cord rather than letting things slowly slip away. I have always felt that for an enterprise like this to continue, I would never ask for support from our readers other than the measly price of a yearly subscription, but it turns out that there aren’t nearly enough of these adventure-seekers among the 8 billion people out there, despite our efforts to produce something meaningful and, hopefully at least, well-considered. I would like to think that we have made—and continue to make—a small contribution to the advancement of a certain kind of filmmaking, though I also believe that if we were gone, there would not be so many people who would notice, and, after a while, the remaining few would forget.
I had hoped that we would reach the age of 100, but 93 is pretty damned old. We still might get there, and you might hear more concretely from me in the near future about how you can help, if I can get my act together and get some help from others. (Though if anyone reading this wants to publish a film magazine with an established brand and a stable of brilliant writers, or can just provide some financial support, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m not joking. All you multimillionaire movie stars and directors, trust me: this will look great on your Wikipedia pages.)
So, if this is the last you are going to hear from me, what the hell—here are the ten best films of all time:
And, if I could have an 11, I would add: