I wanted to catch up on the recap posts before I started this new film-watching project. I don’t really know why, because they’re mostly unrelated. But ah well. Goals don’t have to have extrinsic meaning to be useful. Anyway, now I have caught up, so here’s my project. A few months ago, I linked to a list of 100 favorite non-English language films chosen by lots of film bloggers, coordinated by Edward Copeland. Now, this list isn’t definitive, and several people in the comments have mentioned films that do seem to me like they should’ve been on it. Still, I’ve only seen about half of the films on the list, so I figure it’s as good a place to start giving some direction to my viewing as anywhere else.
So I’m going to watch it. All of it. Even the ones I’ve seen before, because these are the sort of films that richly reward rewatching (try saying that three times fast–without sounding like you haven’t learned to pronounce your “r”s yet), and several of them I saw when I probably lacked the maturity and cinematic knowledge to really get them. Then I’m going to post a review of each one, telling my preconceptions, my original reaction if I’ve seen it before, initial post-watching thoughts, and then my thoughts after a few days of thinking about it. There are multiple reasons for this way of going about it; I want to see how my reactions have changed over the years on films I’ve seen before, I want to see the differences between gut reactions and reflective ones (although a few days may not be long enough), and I want to see how preconceptions play into my reactions. These are things that are always in my mind when I watch and write about film, but I want to make them explicit. For the recaps, my usual procedure is to write a sentence or two right after I see a movie, then refer back to that when I write the recap; sometimes, depending on how long the entire recap takes to write, I go through three or four mental drafts, sometimes drastically changing my entire evaluation of the film–but the final recap is an amalgamation. I want to see what it looks like if I keep the drafts separate. This is as much a writing exercise for me–encouraged by the rhetoric and composition class I’m taking right now, no doubt–as anything else, but maybe someone else will find the process interesting as well.
The biggest question is, can I keep it up for 100 films, which will likely take me multiple years to get through? My previous track record with projects like this would suggest no, but hey. Best way to fail is to never start, right? I’ll keep a list of films and review links here.
Since I’m going in reverse order, the first film up is The Cranes are Flying, which I’ve had from Netflix for like three weeks, waiting until I was ready to embark. I watched it last night, so I’ll probably finish up the post about it tomorrow. The only exceptions to the list order will be when reverse-watching the list places series films out of order (I’ll decide how to do those when I get to them–if I’ve already seen them, I may stick with list order rather than film order) or if the film isn’t easily obtained; several of the films on the list are out of print or have never been released on DVD. I’ll try to get them, but there are sure to be some that I can’t.
(Filmbo/Eric, I know you mentioned you didn’t agree with a lot of the list; do you disagree with what’s included or the order? Or both? I’m just curious.)