The Internet is often characterized as being an ethereal jumble of opinion and interaction without consensus. And while this can be true–particularly in chat rooms or Usenet free-for-alls–I’ve enjoyed consistent interaction with people across the country and the globe over the past few years whose tastes in film are remarkably similar to my own, and who continue to suggest new films to discover with a genuine degree of certainty regarding shared cinematic values. Whether we all have similar tastes because we’ve spent so much time interacting online or whether we’ve spent so much time interacting online that our tastes have converged is anybody’s guess, but it’s encouraging to see universal acclaim for films like Carl Dreyer’s Ordet (1955)– a movie bypassed by the ’60s cinephilia “mainstream”–coming from today’s Internet cinephiles. In contrast to the idea that the Web is a hodgepodge of random opinion, I can attest to having experienced a genuine sense of community.
The Ymdb.com website has either been offline or difficult to access for the past few months, but it seems to be up and running again these days. It allows users to rank their Top 20 movies of all time, discuss the films with others, and as a bonus, tells you which user’s lists are closest to your own. In light of this, it invariably amuses me to see how many of the users most closely ranked to my list are people I already know out of the nearly 14,000 registered users at Ymdb.com, including Filmjourney discussion participants Acquarello and Jonathan Takagi, Masters of Cinema colleagues Nick Wrigley and Trond S. Trondsen, and friends like Darren Hughes and Melissa Hoftstetter. I warmly recommend jotting down the titles of the films on any of their pages and taking the list with you the next time you visit the video store.
In addition, Gary Tooze of DVDBeaver.com, whose Yahoogroups listerv has provided a wonderful forum for bringing many of us together, offers a <a href="collective list averaged from his forum’s participants. Unlike many other critical lists, it’s one I’m proud to be associated with.
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Updates have been slow at Filmjourney of late because I’ve got three essays to complete by the end of the week, two for robert-bresson.com and one for the liner notes of Eureka Video’s first release in their Masters of Cinema Series, Arnold Fanck’s The Holy Mountain (1926). The latter essay has necessitated a bit of research on my part…so if anyone has any bergfilme opinions they’d like to get off their chest, I’d be delighted to chat.