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 Joel Melendez
I started watching film as a form of art in 2012; I was 17 years old high school Senior at the time. One day, I was assigned a homework where I had to list 21 things I wanted to do before I die and one of the things I wrote was to watch 500 films before, well, my unavoidable destiny. Unwitting to myself though, I was really close to that mark and since I wasn’t going to die anytime soon, I decided to raise my goal to a 1,000 films. Since then, movies have been a part of my life as much as math, Twitter, and all those things that occupy a 20-something young person.
Right now, I proudly sit on a 1,320 mark of films watched. With all the things we must do as (sort of) responsible young adults, time doesn’t let us do everything we want, sometimes missing films I know I should’ve already seen. Accessibility is also a problem since some films are difficult to find. I’ve decided for 2019 to at least sit through the following three films because I think they’re important pieces of cinema that every cinephile should have erased of their watch list before the inevitable happens. My New Year’s resolution list goes as follows:
Seven Samurai (1954) directed by Akira Kurosawa
Yes, I haven’t seen this gem yet and it has been sitting in my watch list for a far long time and it’s time it gets out of there. I’ll be very honest and admit that I have only watched one Kurosawa film, the one being Rashomon (1950), and I loved it. Seven Samurai is quite different though, it’s an adventure centered on a village that’s being attacked constantly so the villagers decide to hire seven samurai (gasp!) to help them defend their home.
Rashomon didn’t have a lot of action sequences since it was more dialogue driven, but it was very intriguing and entertaining, imagine what can Kurosawa do with more action? The influence this film had in culture was so much it inspired other films and it was even remade (I see you The Magnificent Seven!), and it still considered one of the best films in history, so yeah, I must watch this masterpiece soon.
Bicycle Thieves (1948) directed by Vittorio de Sica
Considered by many film historians one of the films that best exemplifies what Cesare Zavattini’s theory of Neorealism meant, Bicycle Thieves tells the story of a man whose bike is stolen while working in his recently acquired job that he’ll probably lose if he doesn’t get his bike back. The plot is simple, the cast is made by non-professional actors, and it was filmed on the streets of Rome to show the reality of the time (post World War II) and voilá we have a Neorealist film.
It’s a film I really want to see because of all the aforementioned reasons, but also because of the influence it had on other filmmakers in Italy (Fellini, Antonioni, et al.) and around the world, especially on the Latin American cinema of the 60s and 70s. Rosellini’s Rome, Open City (1946) might be the best of the bunch, but most people are more familiar with this one so I have to give it a shot.
The Rules of the Game (1939) directed by Jean Renoir
I have heard this is the best film of all time, which shocks me because lots of people say it’s Citizen Kane (1941), or 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), or Justice League: The Snyder Cut (????)… All kidding aside, I have only heard great things about this movie that deals with the parallel-opposite worlds of the rich and the poor in a French château in 1939. The story is told in a way that is tragically comic (or comically tragic?) and is in that balance that the film finds it magic.
Renoir is known for how his films studied the humanistic aspects (good ones and bad ones) of people and how it affected their lives and the people surrounding them. This film was one that really intrigued me when it was discussed in the Film History class I took earlier this year, and I really can’t wait to finally sit through and enjoy it.
There’s more I want to watch besides these three titles; I also want to look at Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin (1925) and how he used the Montage Theory to deliver one of the best movies in history and change how films were edited. Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) is on the watch list too as it contains one of the most historically acclaimed best performance of all time in Maria Falconetti’s Joan, plus the story of how this film was thought lost to later reappear makes it more of a duty to watch it. Directors’ filmography such as Bergman’s, Ozu’s, and Buñuel’s are hopefully going to be explored this coming year, among more women directed films so I can keep growing my film knowledge and learn from the diversity each filmmaker will bring into my life. I honestly can’t wait and hopefully I will share this experience with every one of you.