The Best Film Of All Time Is . . .Roger Ebert
In the insular world of cineastes there is no more momentous event than the list of the best films of all time, which is curated every 10 years by the redoubtable Sight & Sound magazine of the British Film Institute. This year's list, released in the August issue, represents a seismic shift. After occupying the No. 1 position since 1962, Orson Welles' 'Citizen Kane' (1941) was demoted to second place by Alfred Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' (1958).
For decades 'Citizen Kane' seemed to reign by default. Then a challenger appeared on the horizon. 'Vertigo' made the list for the first time in 1982 and kept climbing.
Movie critics are constantly asked, 'What's your favorite film?' I found it easy to reply 'Citizen Kane,' hoping that my questioner's eyes would glaze over and I could avoid a debate. Now I can say 'Vertigo.' When I am told, 'I've never seen what's so great about it,' I can reply: 'That's fascinating from an autobiographical point of view.'
Actually, I'm not sure either one is my 'favorite' film, but that's not what the poll asks for. I'm perfectly happy with 'Citizen Kane,' 'Vertigo' or a number of other films topping the list. My personal 'favorites' might also include 'Singin' in the Rain,' 'The Third Man,' 'Casablanca,' or Ozu's 'Floating Weeds,' which I love more than his 'Tokyo Story,' which is third on the Sight & Sound list.
What is so great about 'Vertigo' and 'Citizen Kane?' To set aside matters of technique and artistry, which would keep us here all day, what fascinates me is that both films are intensely personal and autobiographical. Welles gives us a portrait of a gargantuan man of unlimited ambitions and appetites, whose excesses outran his resources. Hitchcock gives us a man obsessed with control, who had a fetish not simply for blondes in general but for the specific features of a specific blonde. Consider the fascination of Hitchcock's camera with the coil of hair at the back of Madeleine's head.
Both plots are labyrinthine. Even if you've seen 'Citizen Kane' 50 times, when you come across it while channel-surfing, you might be hard-pressed to name the scenes on either side of the one you've stumbled on. The plot of 'Vertigo' makes perfect sense, but many viewers find themselves adrift. Scottie, the James Stewart character, is obsessed not with a person but by her image. When he meets the real person, he seeks to convert her into the one who never existed.
The character Madeleine, played in the movie by Judy (and both played by Kim Novak), represents the emotional heart of the film. When 'Madeleine' jumps into San Francisco Bay and Scottie pulls her out and brings her unconscious to his apartment, is she really unconscious, or is Judy just pretending to be? And when he warms her and puts her gently to bed, is that when she begins to pity him for the deception that she has committed?
Hitchcock invites us to follow Scottie's time line, but the film's emotional depths are hidden in Judy's version of events. Scottie is the butt of the joke. Judy is the victim.
In 'Citizen Kane,' we see a similar psychological dynamic in how Charles Foster Kane grows consumed with his idea of Susan Alexander. Not the real Susan, a sweet, ordinary young woman, but his reinvention of Susan as an opera diva who would reflect greatness on him.
Kane as a character turned out to be uncannily prophetic of Welles's own life. Scottie as a character reflected not only Hitchcock's fetishes but his fears. The films originated in the self-knowledge of their makers (and in Welles's case, perhaps, the even greater knowledge about him of Herman Mankiewicz, the writer).
After I am cornered and asked to supply my 'favorite film,' I am sometimes quizzed about the 'auteur theory' by people who 'loved,' let's say, Michael Bay's 'Transformers' movies. A whiz-bang director like Mr. Bay invites us to gaze in awe at his frantic cutting, bright lights and loud noises. An auteur director like Welles or Hitchcock guides our eyes: 'Look here . . . now there. . .focus on this . . . now that . . . make this connection . . . feel this absence. That is the best I can say about what it is like to be me.'
Mr. Ebert has been the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967.
影 迷圈中﹐沒有什麼比史上最佳電影榜單更重大的事件了﹐該榜單每10年由英國電影協會（British Film Institute）旗下的權威雜志《視與聽》（Sight & Sound）評選一次。今年的榜單在8月刊上發佈﹐它代表了一個巨變。從1962年起一直佔據榜首的奧森‧威爾斯（Orson Welles）的《公民凱恩》（Citizen Kane﹐1941）被阿爾弗雷德‧希區柯克（Alfred Hitchcock）的《迷魂記》（Vertigo﹐1958）取代﹐降至第二位。
《迷 魂記》和《公民凱恩》有何偉大之處？撇開會讓我們爭論一整天的技術和藝術問題﹐真正吸引我的是﹐這兩部電影都具有強烈的個人性和自傳性。威爾斯為我們塑造 了一個擁有無盡野心和欲望的巨人形象﹐他所揮霍的遠超過他所擁有的。希區柯克則為我們塑造了一個痴迷於控制的人﹐他並不只是泛泛地迷戀金發女郎﹐而是迷戀 某位金色女郎的某個特徵。想想希區柯克攝影機下瑪德琳（Madeleine）腦後金色發卷的魅力吧。
兩部戲的劇情都很錯綜複雜。即使你已 經看過50次《公民凱恩》﹐當你換台時偶然看到它時﹐可能也很難根據你看到的任何一方說出這是什麼場景。《迷魂記》的情節很合情理﹐但許多觀眾發現自己摸 不著頭腦。詹姆斯‧斯圖爾特（James Stewart）扮演的角色斯考蒂（Scottie）不是迷戀於一個人﹐而是她的形象。當他遇到真人時﹐就試圖將她變為一個從不存在的人。
在 電影中朱迪（Judy）假扮的角色瑪德琳（兩人均由金‧諾瓦克（Kim Novak）扮演）代表了電影感性的核心。當“瑪德琳”跳入舊金山灣（San Francisco Bay）時﹐斯考蒂把她救上來﹐並把不省人事的她帶回自己的公寓﹐她是真的失去意識﹐還是只是朱迪裝成這樣？當他溫暖她的身體﹐並溫柔地將她抱到床上時﹐ 她是否開始因為自己的欺騙而開始同情他？
當 我被逼問到我“最喜歡的電影”時﹐我有時會被“喜愛”邁克爾‧貝（Michael Bay）的《變形金剛》（Transformers）電影的人問到“導演主創論”。像貝這樣的傑出導演會邀請我們敬畏地觀看他眩目的剪輯、明亮的燈光和巨 大的音效。像威爾斯或希區柯克這樣的主創型導演則會引領我們的目光：“看這裡……現在集中看這個……現在看那個……聯繫起來……感受這種缺失。關於我是什 麼樣子﹐這是我能說出的最好答案。”