Just Watching A Film

Fabulous, a new year and a new list of film classics to keep me on my viewing toes. As before the list has been put together for me bearing in mind that 12A is my preferred classification – or so I thought, as I got closer to the end I began to think they had forgotten their audience . . .

January: Magnolia (USA, 1999)
Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson this psychological drama is about a group of interrelated characters in search of happiness, forgiveness and meaning.

February: Wings of Desire (Germany, 1987)
A romantic fantasy directed by Wim Wenders

March: Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France, 2019)
A forbidden affair between an aristocrat and her portrait painter is the subject of this historical romance written and directed by Céline Sciamma

April: Sweet Bean (Japan, 2015)
Directed by Naomi Kawase, the manager of a pancake stall is confronted by an elderly women looking for work!

May: Theorem (Italy, 1968)
Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian calls this ‘bizarre, playful and mysterious, exhilarating and gloriously experimental’. A fable of ideas fusing the sexual and political revolutions of the time.

June: Velvet Goldmine (UK/USA, 1998)
A musical drama set in Britain in the glam rock days of the early ’70’s directed by Todd Haynes

July: Daisies (Czeck Republic, 1966)
An absurdist farce that follows two teenage girls and their strange pranks as they rebel against the excesses of our materialistic society.

August: The Watermelon Women (USA, 1996)
Romantic comedy-drama written, directed and edited by Cheryl Dunye who also plays the protagonist this is a classic of black lesbian cinema.

September: Don’t Look Now (UK, 1973)
An adaptation of Daphne duMaurier’s short story, directed by Nicolas Roeg and starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland. The grief of losing a child and the supernatural.

October: Vampyr (Germany, 1932)
Deemed by Alfred Hitchcock ‘the only film worth watching… twice‘, the influence of this chilling ’30’s horror is said to be immeasurable.

November: Fear Eats the Soul (Germany, 1974)
Written and directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder using the emotional power of classic Hollywood melodrama to expose the racial tensions underlying contemporary German culture.

December: When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Japan, 1960)
Keiko, a young widow, becomes a nightclub hostess to make ends meet. Directed by Mikio Naruse, the story recounts her struggle to maintain her independence in a male-dominated society.

Discovering Japanese, Chinese and Korean cinema has been a highlight of my first two lists (here and here) and Sweet Bean and When a Women Ascends the Stairs both from Japan sound really promising. At first glance there’s lots to look forward to (I can’t believe I haven’t seen Velvet Goldmine) and a couple I feel a bit anxious (actually quite scared) about! But exploring cinema is the point and the previous lists have thrown up some real surprises. Last year, while I loved Our Little Sister, Poetry and Diabolique, the film I have already watched again is Elephant – Gus van Sant’s multi layered telling of a high school shooting.

13 thoughts on “Just Watching A Film

  1. Some great choices on this list! “When a Woman Ascends the Stairs” sounds really interesting. I don’t think I have heard of this one and will definitely try to seek it out too, thanks!

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    1. Yes I think that sounds good, a whole year to wait though – it’s available on the BFI player, which I think you can get through Amazon. This year I’ll remember to say where I found them because last years did get a bit tricky!

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  2. Such an interesting list, Jane! I think you will really enjoy Sweet Bean, as it’s in a similar style to Kore-eda’s Our Little Sister. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is also gorgeous, probably my favourite film from the last year or two. Happy viewing!

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    1. I love the descriptions of these Japanese films, it sounds like nothing but we know it’s going to be a huge emotional journey! I am Looking forward to Portrait of a Lady on Fire, unusual to have such a new release but I know how highly the list maker thinks of it!

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    1. Crikey, I’m not very good at creepy scenes and I must say I’m not really looking forward to Don’t Look Now! I asked my daughter a couple of years ago to give me a list of films she thought I should see, and I enjoyed it so much we’re now on to our third list – I’ve seen some cinema I never would have chosen to watch, it’s been quite an education!

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