Wednesday 30 May 2018 2.40am
‘Coming to terms with the 100 Greatest Films’ 2018
Now that I’m done with the 3h30m La maman et la putain (1973) I have to revise my schedule.
I had twenty films left to see in thirty-three days. I’ve watched (I think) twenty-five films (a quarter of the one-hundred films) in twenty-eight days. That’s an amazing effort given I was facing 43 films in 62 days at one stage (before I added Chinatown, Andalou, Potemkin & Movie Camera back-in to make it 47 films).
I have eight planned to watch with other people before June 30th, which means I have eleven or twelve to watch by myself. Historie[s] du cinema is one of the long films. So, is Satantango (7-hours). The finer details are beginning to elude me at this point in time.
Once Upon a Time in the West
A Brighter Summer Day
Yi Yi: A One and a Two
La maman et la putain
Man With a Movie Camera
La maman et la putain
Although I’ve made a start with the Godard eight-part film and knocked off The Mother and the Whore (1973), leaving 19 or 20 in 32 days, I feel an urgency which is running through my veins every single day as I head towards 30 June, 2018.
The mathematics of the events of films I’m watching with other people, the plan to watch more than 100 films, and what I have to watch by myself – or with my wife – don’t add up no matter how I try to crunch the numbers. My brain is frazzled. The films left to see and the days and the people are like a blur even as I try to make sense of them as arithmetic – numbers on a page.
One of the overwhelming thoughts, hanging over my head like Damocles’ sword, was getting through the film I watched last night directed by Jean Eustache film in 1973. It could have unravelled and spewed me out with a set goal which is now unreachable – out of control. But, now, that that film is done, I see that I have eight events planned, leaving me eleven or twelve films to watch in my own time in thirty-two days.
Collins online dictionary [https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/sword-of-damocles] defines sword of Damocles phrase as meaning:
‘If you say that someone has the Sword of Damocles hanging over their head, you mean that they are in a situation in which something very bad could happen to them at any time.’
“That’s exactly the feeling I’ve been living with for about six weeks: the fear of letting my foot off the accelrator to take time to think and to write and let a day pass without viewing.”
– Philip Powers, May 2018
Five people have suggested to me that I don’t need to complete the original goal which was to watch 100 films in 365 days – 52 weeks – one year. “What does it matter?” they say. “You just extend it.” My psychiatrist was one of them, my wife was one of them, my psychologist was one of them, Daneel was one of them, as was Kate.
It’s as much a matter of honour as it is of pride that I finish the bare minimum. That goal was to watch the BFI Sight & Sound 2012 Poll of critics, academics and film historians. Then I added the 2012 Directors Poll. Then I added some films from the TIME magazine list because they related to other films I was watching. Then I added the TIME OUT list of 100 films.
I was always going to watch other highly-regarded films by directors who had two or more films on that Top 100 list. I hadn’t planned to watch more than three of four by any director but found that I needed to in order to understand more about their style and obsessions.
Now that I’ve watched an insane number of films on that list in six or seven weeks, for the first time in sixty or seventy days I’m calculating what I have left to do to achieve the most basic goal in the remaining 32 or 33 days.
Last night’s film was one of those films which gave me too much information to process in twenty hours. I spent yesterday afternoon going through the dialogue and monologues and writing them down in my text file on La maman et la putain. I hadn’t finished with Greed, or Chinatown or Some Like it Hot, before I had to move on without processing the content – and my considered response – to those films.
I feel comfortable with the fact that I’ve started watching Historie(s) du cinéma and can watch it in episodes. I’ve watched one out of eight episodes and I know what I’m in for – a completely weird history of Cinema from a seriously weird mind – Godard.
I’ve got Yi Yi now, so I can complete the original scope. I’ve got Satantango on order from Amazon, so I should be able to watch that. The rest are all waiting for me to press OPEN/CLOSE, insert the disc, press PLAY, negotiate the menu, and start watching the films. So, I’ve spent hours writing about The Mother and the Whore. I analysed specific sequences of dialogue for about four hours yesterday. I’ve written something comprehensible. I’ve tried to understand where Godard’s Histor(y)ies of Cinema is coming from and I’m satisfied that I’m now in the ballpark of what he intended (even though I have seven episodes to go).
Here’s the rest of the list of events I’ve tried to organise after nailing:
[19 May 2018 Singin’ in the Rain Robards’ clan
25 May 2018 Raging Bull Daneel]
2 June 2018 Sunset Boulevard Alicia
4 June 2018 Rio Bravo SZ3R
13 June 2018 Touch of Evil BWP
14 June 2018 The Leopard James
16 June 2018 Apocalypse Now (no-one signed up yet)
23 June 2018 Lawrence of Arabia Lib & co.
30 June 2018 Citizen Kane & The Bicycle Thieves Grumlevel & co.