Last February, the magazine The New Republic invited a host of film critics to participate in a new poll, curated by esteemed critic and longtime Film Comment contributor J. Hoberman: a list of the 100 Most Significant Political Films of All Time. Not best or favorite political films, mind you—most significant. The New Republic unveiled the results of the poll on June 22, along with an essay by Hoberman analyzing the results. Topped by The Battle of Algiers, the final list is both a fascinating snapshot of what political cinema means to critics today, and the limits of such exercises in ascertaining consensus. On today’s podcast, we invited Jim for a deep-dive into the impetus behind the poll; the surprises, disappointments, and notable entries in the list, from The Birth of a Nation to La Chinoise to Hour of the Furnaces to All the President’s Men; and how notions of political cinema have changed over time.

Links & Things

The New Republic‘s list of 100 Most Significant Political Films of All Time
J. Hoberman’s essay on the poll
The Birth of a Nation (D.W. Griffith, 1915)
The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966)
Red Dawn (John Milius, 1984)
Triumph of the Will (Leni Riefenstahl, 1935)
La Commune (Paris, 1871) (Peter Watkins, 2000)
The War Game (Peter Watkins, 1966)
No (Pablo Larrain, 2012)
Nightcleaners (Berwick Street Film Collective, 1975)
All the President’s Men (Alan J. Pakula, 1976)
The Film and Photo League
The Black Audio Film Collective
Be Seeing You (A Bientot J’espere) (Chris Marker, 1967)
The Prostitutes of Lyon Speak (Les Insoumuses, 1975)
The Monopoly of Violence (David Dufresne, 2020)
Afrique sur Seine (Mamadou Sarr & Paulin Soumanou Vieyra, 1955)
My Survival as an Aboriginal (Essie Coffey, 1979)
Handsworth Songs (Black Audio Film Collective, 1986)
Hour of the Furnaces (Octavio Getino and Fernando Solanas, 1968)
Toward a Third Cinema,” Octavio Getino and Fernando Solanas, 1970
Dr. Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
The Great Dictator (Charlie Chaplin, 1940)
The Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio de Sica, 1948)
The Breakfast Club (John Hughes, 1985)
Rocky III (Sylvestor Stallone, 1982)
Predator (John McTiernan, 1987)
Sambizanga (Sarah Maldoror, 1972)
Attica (Cinda Firestone, 1974)
Selma (Ava DuVernay, 2014)
Tout va bien (Jean-Luc Godard, 1972)
Weekend (Jean-Luc Godard, 1967)
La Chinoise (Jean-Luc Godard, 1967)
Something Like a War (Deepa Dhanraj, 1991)
Whose History,” Lis Rhodes, 1978
Memories of Underdevelopment (Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, 1968)
The Battle of Chile (Patricio Guzmán, 1975-79)
Los Olvidados (Luis Buñuel, 1950)
Tele-Machine (Takis, 1960) and its removal from the MoMA’s “The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (Laura Poitras, 2022)


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