It’s a happy crisp new year and that means a crisp new list of films to watch from my lovely daughter. It’s an eclectic list as usual but I think it’s slightly more modern – there are 4 titles from this century and 8 of the 12 are after 1980.
The highlight for me is in July, I think Almodóvar makes perfect films for summer evenings so I’m really looking forward to Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. I found Lucrecia Martel’s The Headless Women quite difficult last year so I’m interested to see if I get on any better with La Ciénaga . Anyway here’s the list to be watched:
January: After Life (1998, Japan)
A group of people who have recently died are asked to choose one memory to take with them for eternity.
February: The Double Life of Veronique (1991, France/Poland)
Two parallel stories about two identical women, one in Poland the other in France, whose lives are profoundly connected although they don’t know it.
March: I am Cuba (1964, Soviet Union/Cuba)
Four vignettes about the lives of Cuban people set during the pre-revolutionary era.
April: It Happened One Night (1934, USA)
Clarke Gable and Claudette Colbert team up as mis-matched lovers in this screwball comedy – could this be the first Hollywood rom-com?
May: The Woman Who Ran (2020, S. Korea)
When her ever-present husband finally goes away on business, a woman visits three friends and reflects on her life choices.
June: Shirkers (2018, Singapore)
In 1992, Sandi Tan and her friends shot a quirky film on the streets of Singapore. Then the footage disappeared, sending her on a hunt for answers. I already feel confused by this!
July: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988, Spain)
A black comedy with bite written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar, whose films I love so I’m amazed I haven’t already seen this.
August: Grizzly Man (2005, USA)
Pieced together from Timothy Treadwell’s actual video footage, Werner Herzog’s remarkable documentary examines the calling that drove Treadwell to live among a tribe of wild grizzly bears on an Alaskan reserve.
September: La Ciénaga (2001, Argentina)
The story of a group of families passing the summer in a rural country house that roves, rambles, and stumbles into each new event.
October: Sunset Boulevard (1950, USA)
Norma Desmond, an ageing silent-screen actor, gets a second shot at fame when a screenwriter agrees to write a script for her. Classic black comedy from Billy Wilder
November: Throne of Blood (1957, Japan)
Macbeth is transferred to medieval Japan and a Samurai warrior.
December: Caravaggio (1986, UK)
Derek Jarman’s fictionalised re-telling of the life of Caravaggio, with Tilda Swinton and Sean Bean.
There’s a lot that looks very interesting here but I’ve learnt that it’s often the oddballs that are the ones I remember the most. Last years list contained the bonkers Czech film Daisies and the utterly beautiful Portrait of a Lady on Fire, but my favourite of the year might just be The Watermelon Women. Written and directed by Cheryl Dunye, it was so fresh and she was such a fun person to spend a couple of hours with, I’m wondering if Shirkers might have the same vibe?