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Filmotomy’s New Year’s Resolutions: Jeremy’s List

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 Jeremy Robinson

Agnes Varda

Cleo From 5 to 7 (1962) directed by Agnes Varda

One of my blind spot directors happens to be Agnes Varda. I’ve seen little of her work, but judging from what I’ve seen, it makes me want to devour her whole filmography. Varda is a director I’ve been aware of since my early knowledge of the French New Wave. She is often cited as the only female director from that movement, and for that it feels like a crime I have not seen her most prominent work from that period Cleo From 5 to 7.

The premise of this film has always intrigued me, I enjoy little slices of life as well as films that play with the concept of time, this one seems to work on both aspects. I feel like I’ve taken Varda for granted. Especially since recently she was put in the spotlight again when her documentary Faces Places was receiving critical acclaim. And I couldn’t help but be charmed by her honorary Oscar acceptance speech, where she stole the show (at least if it was televised) when she came out and danced with Angelina Jolie.

So this year I’ve made it my mission to catch up with the work of Varda. I feel she so rightfully deserves her place among her male contemporaries, such as Truffaut and Godard, as a real pioneer of the French New Wave.

Orson Welles

The Trial (1962) directed by Orson Welles

I like to think of myself as a Orson Welles completist. He is a visionary filmmaker, and one of the true giants of cinema. I’m fascinated with all of his films, even though they might not all be perfect, there is always genius to be found in them. The one film of his I’ve been dying to see for years is his adaptation of Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial.

The film was made during Welles’ exile in Europe, and stars Anthony Perkins who was pretty fresh off his iconic role as Norman Bates in Psycho. The book by Kafka has been a favorite of mine since I read it a few years ago, and is probably the epitome of what has been coined Kafkaesque. So far Welles’ version of the story seems to be the most definitive. However, the film has been unavailable for years as a region 1 release, meaning North American audiences have not been privy to a restored version of it.

I remain optimistic I will see The Trial before the year is over. Criterion has been releasing many of Welles’ films over the past few years, some of which were out of print until they were given a pristine restoration. I have a gut feeling, this year might be the year of The Trial, who knows? I’ll keep it on my list for luck.

Buster Keaton

The Cameraman

Finally, I always like to throw in a comedy, so I want to add Buster Keaton’s The Cameraman. This is a blind spot for me because I consider Buster Keaton to be one of my heroes. I have seen all of his silent masterpieces from Three Ages to Steamboat Bill Jr. and consider them all to be wonderful. However, his last silent film The Cameraman remains unseen by me.

It came at a time when Keaton transitioned from his independent studio, where he had total control of his films to being hired on as a MGM contract player where his power was diminished. The film is not often regarded as one of Keaton’s best, even though it does have a legion of defenders. I have heard that The Cameraman was sort of Keaton’s last hurrah as a filmmaker, and since I remain so loyal to him, it feels like a sin I have not seen it. It’s even more baffling I have not seen it especially considering I have an old poster of The Cameraman hung in my living room, so I’m hoping to rectify this omission soon.

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