Two Years Later, a Challenging Resolution

by meghanhorvath

There were several moments in the past two years when I thought: this is the perfect opportunity to get my film blog back up and running, and yet looking back, none of those opportunities seemed perfect enough for me to break out my WordPress password and start typing.

Then came my 2014 New Year’s resolution.

YOU CRAZY GIRL my good friend Taylor typed in an email when I told him my New Year’s resolution was to watch 365 films this year. And what’s more, I decided this on or around 1st February, so I was already 30 days behind before I even got started. In that first exciting week after I made up my mind to dive head first into my obsession, it was interesting to watch people’s reactions. One friend said she couldn’t imagine finding 365 films she’d want to watch. Books to read, yes! But films? Others thought this resolution could be repeated three years straight and one could still not scratch the surface of cinema’s masterpieces. Thanks to Mubi, Netflix, Lovefilm and occasional trips to the local Arts Picturehouse cinema I am surrounded with more good cinema than I’ll ever need.

From the outset it was important for me not to establish too many rules as prior experience told me that any time I felt I had to do something, the initial allure quickly faded. So I allowed myself to watch films I had already seen, to watch a mixture of docs and fiction and yes, to even include good television series like Girls and House of Cards. Though I haven’t decided how to count the latter.

I then promised myself to blog each time I had 25 films under my belt and so finally, one month after my resolution, here I am with a reporting on the first 25. Am I worried that I am so tragically behind? With a few trans-atlantic Virgin flights which take what they call euphemistically their “Northern route” to New York (10 hours versus 7!) plus a few film festivals, I should be on top of my goal in no time.

There were a surprising number of suicides and suicide attempts in the first batch of 25 films, yet only two films made me cry – Moscow On The Hudson, the 1984 starring American actor Robin Williams speaking Russian  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5tOJBBSuCA and Canadian filmmaker Sarah Polley’s personal documentary Stories We Tell – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHkoH8PE4lk. In the latter case I simply cannot get the generous honesty of Polley’s father near the end of the film coupled with its gorgeous soundtrack out of my head.

Here’s the tally so far:

  1. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty directed by Ben Stiller
  2. Bitter Moon directed by Roman Polanski
  3. La Région Centrale directed by Michael Snow -worth attaching a trailer here as it’s a 1971 180 minute experimental film (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYr_SvIKKuI)
  4. 8 Women directed by Francois Ozon
  5. Brief Encounter directed by David Lean
  6. L’Auberge Espagnole directed by Cedric Klapisch – reminded me of the teenage films from the 80s
  7. Moscow On The Hudson directed by  Paul Mazursky
  8. Son Of The Bride directed by Juan José Campanella
  9. Russian Dolls directed by Cedric Klapisch (the follow-up to L’Auberge Espagnole)
  10. Easy Virtue directed by Stephan Elliott – a light film with great one-liners
  11. Pandora’s Promise directed by Robert Stone – I admit it, I fell asleep for a chunk of the middle of this film, not sure if it’s because I am anti-nuclear, but would like to give it another go!
  12. Hunger directed by Steve McQueen
  13. F*uck for Forest directed by Michał Marczak
  14. The Trap by Adam Curtis
  15. All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace by Adam Curtis
  16. Thatcher directed by Phyllida Lloyd – this one wins the prize for most bizarre openings so far – an old Margaret Thatcher reaching for milk on the shelf of her local corner store.
  17. Look At Me directed by Agnés Jaoui
  18. The Counterfeiters directed by Stefan Ruzowitzsky
  19. House of Cards, season 2 (am counting one season for one film!)
  20. Girls, season 2 (am counting one season for one film!)
  21. Stories We Tell, directed by Sarah Polley
  22. Journal de France directed by Claudine Nougaret, Raymond Depardon
  23. Burmese Harp directed by Kon Ichikawa – unfortunately this film expired on Mubi before I had time to finish!
  24. La Séparation directed by Christian Vincent – another film that made me a tiny bit sleepy in the middle
  25. Ro.Go.Pa.G short films directed by Rossellini, Goddard, Pasolini and Gregoretti