Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Apologies, Hopefully Normal Service Shall Resume Hereafter

Many apologies for the unscheduled hiatus.  

I was briefly transported back to the dark ages of the 20th century when a rogue boat anchor tore up communication cables near my suburb, leaving 100 homes without Internet or telephone capabilities for three weeks (and that is not counting the one week earlier in November). It also doesn't help that I live in a beautiful but slightly isolated part of Australia, a part that is known for its poor mobile phone (cell phone) coverage as well.

Essentially, we were more cut off from civilisation than usual.

On the plus side, the television still worked and I was able to watch a ton of films during the period. I saw thirty films in the month of November (thank you local library!), and knocked off a few of my blind spots: Reservoir Dogs, Avatar, Melancholia, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan to name a few.

Having started the year having only seen around 600 films in my lifetime (according to my memory) I have, as of this date, got that number to 896, meaning I will easily reach my target of seeing 900 by 31st December. (I keep a spreadsheet, hence the exactness of my figures).

Since this time of the year lends itself to reflection, I thought I would bore you with some of my thoughts about my film watching over the year. I have learnt a lot. I have immersed myself in film history, adding phrases like 'French New Wave,' 'Social Realism,' and 'agitprop' to my vocabulary. I learnt to appreciate and love people like Stanley Kubrick, Jane Campion, Ang Lee, and Ingmar Bergman and discovered previously unknown delights in Andrei Tarkovsky and Krzysztof Kieslowski.

Having begun a personal course of study into the art of screenwriting, I have a much greater depth of understanding in regards to story. You would think that this might lead to cynicism and snobbiness, but thankfully its effect has been to sharpen my appreciation of a well-written story, to inwardly gasp at the mastery of Charlie Kaufman's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Nora Ephron's When Harry Met Sally and Fritz Lang's M amongst others.

Though the title of favourite film/s has not changed hands, a huge number have been added to the mental list this year: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Psycho, Trois Coleurs: Bleu, Deliverance, Rosemary's Baby, Alien, Aliens, Klute, Volver.

But my recommendation from this year is not a film but a film history documentary and companion book. If you can, grab/ borrow a copy of Mark Cousins' The Story of Film. I read the book first, which was a great initiation into film history. The documentary, however, was fabulous; 15 one hour episodes taking us from the invention of cameras, to musings on the future of the film industry. I was educated and inspired.

So, dear reader, what were the standouts of your year of viewing?

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