William Ahearn

As much as I'm flattered by your invitation, I find that I just can't become involved in "Beyond the Canon" for several reasons. The first is that movies are stagnant and we aren't. I was kicking myself for not including the Korda production of "The Thief of Baghdad" in the "50 Favorite" or whatever list of last time. Just the other day I watched "Thief" and I don't think it's a particularly brilliant film. It's the "Star Wars" of its day and just as forgettable once one moves past sentiment and nostaglia.

The second reason is that I can't take myself that seriously. My view of film is from a very personal and sometimes political place. Not political in terms of a particular dogma but with a view of whether the film is supporting beliefs that I do not hold. So most love stories and message films make me want to watch "A Clockwork Orange" again. To form a transgressive list is to fall into the same silliness as a list with or without the blessing of a canon. One is asking films to play a role they were never intended to play.

They're just movies and to imbue them with importance is an exercise in personal egoism. Yes, I like this one more than that one and can create a coherent explanation as to why. I had written an impassioned critique of Chantal Akerman and in the end it's just smoke. While I love film and various and sundry expressions on film I truly lack the evangelist spirit in thinking that I can sway anyone in what is essentially a game of one-up-manship.

The last reason is perhaps the most succinct. I rarely read the lists of others whether it be Scorsese or Ebert and just don't have the sensibility to forge one of my own.

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