Experts have ranked the best film made by women as it was directed.
Jeanne Dielman (23 quai de Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles), directed by Chantal Akkerman has been voted top of the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound poll.
This is the first time that a female-directed work has made it to the top ten. This poll is conducted every ten years and has received criticism for not being representative of all possible viewpoints.
Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane held the winning spot for forty years. In 2012, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo took over.
Jeanne Dielman was released in 1975. It tells the story about a Belgian widow, who uses prostitution to help her family, and then kills one of her client. It runs almost three hours.
Although it is not as widely known as the previous winner, its reputation has grown to be a masterpiece and an important piece of feminist filmmaking.
Chantal Akerman (the Belgian director) died at 65 in 2015.
Lillian Crawford (film critic, writer, and poll participant) said that the film is the essential text in feminist cinema and she would recommend it to anyone who is interested in cinema: “I think it would be a good idea to reverse the order of your list and work towards this goal. It’s a lot to ask people to view it.”
This text is essential in academic and historical contexts, as well as thinking about film and encouraging people to look for experimental films, films by women and the history and culture of feminist cinema.
Laura Mulvey from Birkbeck University’s film studies department wrote that the British Film Institute had seen a sudden shake-up in the voting process.
She wrote, “Things won’t be the same again.”
Since 1952, the poll was conducted by Sight and Sound Magazine of British Film Institute.
The film has been criticised in the past because it lacks diversity among the 100 top films and experts.
Jeanne Dielman, a 2012 film directed by Jeanne Dielman, was among the two women films that made it onto this list. The other one, Djibril Mambety’s Touki Bouki, was also by women.
The number of people who are consulted has increased over the years. 1.639 programmers, critics, curators, historians, academics and programmers were asked this year to pick their top ten movies.
Vertigo was last year’s victor, and Citizen Kane came in third.
Yasujiro Oz’s Tokyo Story was fourth and Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love fifth.