Robert Graves, programmer of films at the Grand Illusion, wanted to celebrate the millennium via film: Choose 10 local filmmakers/film critics and have them choose the 10 best films of the last 10 decades. Which he did. Once the lists came in, he processed the information and figured out a favorite film for each decade. Over the next nine weeks at the Grand Illusion, Graves will present the top vote-getters, Saturdays and Sundays at noon. (It's only nine weeks because between 1900-1909 they only made short films, so The Great Train Robbery will play with the winner of 1910-1919, D.W. Griffith's Intolerance.)
Along with The Great Train Robbery (1903) and Intolerance (1916), the series will include F.W. Murnau's Sunrise (1927), Fritz Lang's M (1932), Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941), John Ford's The Searchers (1956), Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960), Robert Altman's Nashville (1975), David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986), and Abbas Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry (1997). It's a good list, full of standards and a few surprises. What's even better, and the reason you should attend the series even if you've seen these movies before, is the accompanying program. Beyond this simple list of 10, each decade is given a top 10, and beyond that is a list of all the runners-up and sundry personal favorites. That's why I chose to be a part of this: Not only did the small size of the committee enable some interesting classics to survive the process, but -- even better -- all of the individual choices, no matter how quirky or misguided, are being included.