Admitting I’m a Babe in the Woods by Trying to do it All in 52 Weeks.
I was far out of my depth and I realised it tonight as I handed out a piece of paper (to fellow film students) about my experience of the last eight months, while trying to view too many films in far too short a time. I was bold and stupid in equal parts.
I also had one year of leave to see everything important before getting back to work again in July, 2018.
I know that I’m setting myself up for a lot of criticism for wrong dates, misspelled names and bad grammar but I am literally viewing, writing and posting, and I’m not setting myself up to be someone who even has time to run a spellcheck before I post. I’m eight months into a failed experiment where I’ve tried to take on a century of film in fifty-two weeks. The folly is apparent now more than ever.
I’m experiencing the process of unfolding the feelings and thoughts as it happens while negotiating everything else in life. It’s a journey for me and the experience, the day-to-day understanding of watching new films multiple times, and my sense of discovery, hopefully makes up for all the errors a fifth-class ten-year old student should had weeded out in their sentences before submitting and committing anything to the page or the web.
Wiser people have taken to looking at twenty-four films from a period of four years, one year at a time. They take ten years to assimilate forty years of world cinema.
Nevertheless, I’m on a journey, blogging and posting thoughts on the films I’ve never seen before which are new and exciting. As I experience new films from new cultures my only hope was that some other people – people I know and other people who think The Dark Knight (2008) is the greatest film ever made – would do what the people in David Stratton’s course are already doing: go and see a film not in English, or a film from a culture that is completely foreign to you.
All of that being a given, I hope there are some things that everyone can take from these posts without too much judgment and a whole lot of compassion.
‘Explaining the 100’
Woman of the Dunes (1964) is one of the films I was trying to track down to watch as part of this list I’ve developed from multiple sources of great films I must see. It was the second last film in the 100 to watch section of Time Out (2006) by virtue of it starting with W, the last film starting with Z (Costa-Gavras’s 1968 film Z).
Naturally, there is no such thing as the 100 Greatest Films Ever Made and to some people it almost offensive to try and reduce all of cinema to just 100 titles. It would be just as bad if I was gin a list of the 100 Greatest Classical Music Works as voted by conductors, musicians and critics. You can’t reduce twenty-centuries of composition to just 100 titles, nor even the last six centuries of music to 100 titles. The same goes for drawings (paintings), sculptures, inventions and buildings.
However, they can serve a purpose beyond whatever the person who initiated the list had in mind.
If I’m going to give a year of my life to seeing dozens, or hundreds, of films I’ve never even heard of, then I’m happy to allow my guide to be Sight & Sound’s 2012 poll of critics, academics and filmmakers.
Because of this poll I’ve now seen Hour of the Wolf, Cries and Whispers, The Silence, Fanny and Alexander, Wild Strawberries, Ugetsu monogatari, Sansho dayu, Chungking Express, 2046, Late spring, Late autumn, Tokyo Story, Berlin Alexanderplatz, Ali: Fear eats the soul, Pickpocket, Mouchette, A Man Escaped, Les quarter cents coups, Jules et Jim, L’avventura, L’eclisse, Zabriskie Point, Nuit et brouillard, The Wind Will Carry Us, Shunpu den, Yojimbo, Sanjuro, The Hidden Fortress, Ivan the Terrible Part I, Ivan the Terrible Part 2, Sunrise, A Woman of Paris and Jour de fête and a hundred more.
Everything is to a certain degree a matter of opinion although there are ten thousand films that we can rule out from being on the Top 100, or the Top 200, which allows us to start to narrow down what we think is truly great.
I’m not interested in creating my own list of what I agree with and what I disagree with: just viewing.