For the past few years, I’ve taken on the FiftyFifty challenge to watch 50 films and read 50 books. In 2016, I fared better with the films, watching 104 movies that I had never seen before. This list doesn’t include repeat viewings of favorites like Highlander, Mad Max: Fury Road, Donnie Darko, or all things Edgar Wright.
With much remorse, I write that I only read 22 books! But I read loads of comic books, which suck up most of my reading time. I blame my fantastic Local Comic Book Shop (LCBS), The Outer Limits.
But, this post ain’t about reading!
I kept track of my movie watching on Pinterest. It was more fun when Pinterest let anyone browse boards. Now, you can only see a wee bit of a board before you’re prompted to login or create an account. For 2017, I’ll be tracking my films on Letterboxd.
In 2016, I watched 103 movies. I also tried my darndest to watch 52 films by female directors, inspired by A Year with Women. It was hard to find female-directed movies that I hadn’t seen before. I fell short with only 22 films viewed.
I’m glad that I tried to spend A Year with Women, because I stumbled upon Maya Deren. Her short films from the 1940s were revelations! As I was mesmerized by Deren’s Ritual of Transfigured Time, I caught a glimpse of a woman and thought, “Is that Anaïs Nin? No. Yes? Yes!!! It is!” Then I completely geeked out because Nin is one of my favorite writers and I had never seen her in a moving picture before!
If you are a fan of avant-garde cinema, I recommend checking out Deren’s films. She was ahead of her time. I hope that someday, her films will get the Criterion treatment. Currently, Maya Deren: Experimental Films is out of print but many of her films are available to view through Amazon and YouTube. I borrowed the DVD from my Local Public Library (LPL).
My absolute favorite film of 2016 is One More Time with Feeling. This 3D documentary, shot in black and white, chronicles the creation of Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. When I saw this movie, I felt a communal sadness in the movie theatre. I’ve never experienced something like that before.
One More Time with Feeling is a study of the musician’s creative process, but also a poignant and tasteful look at how grief affects a family. The DVD is scheduled for release on March 3. That gives me something to look forward to in 2017.