As the new year quickly approaches us, we have decided to set out our new year’s resolutions for 2019. As we are all about the world of cinema here at Filmotomy, our new year’s resolutions are film related. These are a selection of films that we have always set out to see but until now, we have never got around to doing so. Please keep checking back with us through out the year to see whether we managed to keep our new year’s resolutions.
following words by Bianca Garner
In 2018 I have watched some absolute classics from L’ Avventura to Wild Strawberries for the very first time, and I have been exteremly grateful for watching these films as they have been a rewarding experience. Challenging myself to watch 80 films from Around the World and keeping my Ingmar Bergman diary, was a great way to motivate me to seek out films that I had always wanted to see but had never got around to it. Mind you I have seen quite a lot of films over the years, so I do know what I am talking about (most of the time).
Being a film graduate I have been lucky to watch many classic films, especially from the golden age of Hollywood such as Bringing up Baby and Citizen Kane, and films from the French New Wave and Italian Neo Realism movements such as Les quatre cent Coups (The 400 Blows) and Umberto D. However, there have been films which I have vowed to watch but for some reason or another, I haven’t managed to find the time to sit down and watch them.
There are several films on my ”to watch” list such as Easy Rider, Barry Lyndon, Les Parapluies de Cherborg (The Umbrella’s of Cherbourg), Il Conformista (The Conformist)- to name a few. There are a few films which are on my list, but I have very little desire to see because I know they will be a tough watch (films like Last Tango in Paris, Pink Flamingos, Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom). Mind you, this year I did finally watch Irréversible, Dogtooth and Possession and enjoyed them. These films do have a reputation for being violent and in some cases offensive, but I was pleasantly surprised with the craftmanship that had gone into creating these films.
So, this year I will make sure to go out of my comfort zone and watch a wider range of films from the high brow like Zerkalo (The Mirror) to the low brow like Pink Flamingos. So, without further ado, here are three films that I will definitely make sure to see in 2019.
Ikiru (1952) directed by Akira Kurosawa
I must admit that I really haven’t seen much of Akira Kurosawa’s work, and honestly I have no excuses why I haven’t seen more of his films. Best known for his samurai epics like The Seven Samurai and The Throne of Blood, Ikiru (To Live) is a shift in tone and genre for Kurosawa.The film follows Kanji Watanabe, a civil servant, who has worked in the same department for 30 years. His life is pretty boring and monotonous, though he once used to have passion and drive.
Then one day he discovers that he has stomach cancer and has less than a year to live. After the initial depression he sets about living for the first time in over 20 years. Then he realises that his limited time left is not just for living life to the full but to leave something meaningful behind.
Often hailed as a masterpiece, this is one film that I am eager to watch. Critic Shan Jayaweera stated in their review for Senses of Cinema that ”along with the various uses of time and perspective in the narrative, Ikiru displays all the other hallmarks that make Kurosawa such an important and influential filmmaker.” Although I do have a feeling that this is a film that is going to make me cry.
Dan Jardine called it ”one of the saddest movies ever made.” So, I must prepare myself for an emotional viewing experience. I will also just add, that I do need to see another Japanese cinematic masterpiece, Tokyo Story as well.
Pather Panchali (1955) directed by Satyajit Ray
I haven’t watched much in the ways of Indian cinema, I don’t really know why and this year I intend to change this. One Indian film that has been on my ”to watch” list for a long time is Pather Panchali. The film is based on Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay’s 1929 Bengali novel of the same name and is Ray’s directorial debut. A truly inpendent film if there ever was one, this masterpiece took nearly three years to complete. The film was shot mainly on location, had a limited budget, featured mostly amateur actors, and was made by an inexperienced crew.
The film is centred around a young boy, Apu, and life in his small Indian village. His parents are quite poor , with his father Harihar, (a writer and poet), giving away the family’s fruit orchard to settle his brother’s debts. His sister Durga and an old aunt also still lives with them. Things get worse when Harihar disappears for five months and Durga falls ill.
Pather Panchali is the first film in a trilogy: Aparajito (The Unvanquished, 1956) and Apur Sansar (The World of Apu, 1959). Pather Panchali is described as a turning point in Indian cinema, as it was among the films that pioneered the Parallel Cinema movement. With critic Philip French of The Observer calling it “one of the greatest pictures ever made,” I really should have seen Pather Panchali by now.
The Three Colours trilogy (1993-1994) directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski
Yes, I guess I am cheating here by chosing three films rather than one. However, it isn’t really as simple as picking just one of these films to watch. The trilogy is made up of the following films: Three Colours: Blue (1993), Three Colours: White (1994), and Three Colours: Red (1994). A symbol common to the three films is that of an underlying link or thing that keeps the protagonist linked to their past. All three were co-written by Kieślowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz (with story consultants Agnieszka Holland and Sławomir Idziak) and have musical scores by Zbigniew Preisner. All three films were featured Roger Ebert’s “Great Movies” list.
Blue is the first film in the trilogy and is set in Paris. The film centres around the character of Julie (Juliette Binoche) whose husband and child are killed in a car accident. Suddenly set free from her familial bonds, she attempts to cut herself off from everything and live in isolation. There are numerous scenes are shot with blue filters or blue lighting, and many objects are blue which helps to reinforce the emotional themes of the film.
White is about equality, with the film depicting Karol Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski), a shy man who, after being left by his wife in humiliating circumstances in Paris, loses his money, his residency, and his friends. The film has been interpreted as an anti-comedy by Roger Ebert, in parallel with Blue being an anti-tragedy and Red being an anti-romance
Red is about fraternity, which it examines by showing characters whose lives gradually become closely interconnected, with bonds forming between two characters who appear to have little in common. Red currently holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Three Colours trilogy has been something that I have been meaning to get around to watching and I know that Robin will be disappointed with me if I don’t see them soon…!
So, it looks like I have plenty of films to watch in 2019. Expect some reviews and analysis pieces to be up on the site very soon! Watch this space.