Having begun my weekly descent into the netherworld of the Midnight Screening, I also want to lay out future plans for publishing reviews of older films for the next few months, taking us roughly to the end of the year. I’ll continue to publish reviews of newer films I see, and a number of other films released in the past few years, without feeling any particular need to force them into a series for reviewing. These are films still somewhat fresh in the public mind, and thus I’m comfortable posting them as is.
For older films though, I’d like to organize my often chaotic and disjointed writing process into some semblance of organization, and as such I’d like to give a heads-up on the planned series I have for the next few months, which will commence in the month of August. This post serves this purpose, as well as providing some sort of holdover until I finally finish with that pesky “Blog Intro” business I should have had posted long ago.
The two long series I’d like to pursue until the end of the year are a series on various national cinemas and one on the American new wave. The longer of the two will be the national cinemas series, where I plan to look at four films a month (one a week) from the cinema of a certain nation. As planned now, this will cover the United Kingdom (August), Germany (September), Japan (October), Italy(November), France (December), China (Janurary), and Spain (February). Obviously there are other nations to cover, but I want to leave time in the future for other endeavors and not extend the series into the far-flung unforeseeable future. With that said, I’m aware that these are some of the more popular countries when it comes to producing internationally renowned cinema, and I’d like to explore other nations as well, perhaps in a more limited way – near the end of the series I might devote smaller blocks of time (a couple of weeks) to exploring other nations, or I may simply intersperse the reviews with extra pieces on various international films which have caught my eye of late.
However, it is worth noting that, for now, this is primarily a pragmatic series. It will not be a dissection of the ethos of the national cinemas of origin for the films per-se, although of course if the film deals with aspects of its home nation or sub-textually reflects themes prominent to the nation, they will be discussed in the reviews. I probably won’t do such a series again, and fundamentally I feel it shouldn’t be necessary to review foreign films as “foreign films”, but at this early stage of the blog it serves an organizational purpose to, quite simply, see movies, write about them, and put reviews up in a timely manner
The second series is shorter and should take about 14 weeks. Within this series I will move chronologically through the New Wave of American cinema which roughly began around 1967 (as is commonly considered) and took the daring left-field approach to film adopted by many European auteurs in the late 50s and 60s and married it to harder-edged subject matter and, sometimes, more conventional narratives. Thus, each week beginning with the first week of August, I will post a review of an important, defining film from a year, beginning with 1967 and ending with 1980 (I could end with 79 more cleanly, but since the last gasp of the New Wave is usually accredited to a certain famous 1980 sports film, I feel I must include it for completion’s sake. After all, arbitrary dates shouldn’t dictate the end point; films should. I won’t be analyzing the films in relation to the specific year they were released, but naturally, the ethos of the time period and the Americana they cover will play greatly in to the spirit and content of the reviews.
I will also be pursuing a number of shorter monthly series. Three will be genre specific: in August I will cover Westerns, in September Film Noir, and in October “Music” movies (which is, of course, different from a musical). Each week will bring one review for a total of four or five films for each month and theme. I desperately wanted to do horror, but I’ve found that my plans for the Midnight Screenings series every Friday aligns quite often with that particular genre (which happens to be my favorite film genre), and a horror month seemed like overkill.
In addition, I’ll be posting a number of random reviews of classic films under no particular timeframe under a “film favorites” category, which will appear roughly…whenever I have something written, basically. This serves a few purposes. Firstly, I happen to have a number of these written and they don’t easily fit into another category. Secondly, when I planned out the other more formal series I initially went with the highest quality films I could think of (so the four best Italian movies I can think of, the four best Westerns, so on), until I realized I didn’t want the series to be composed only of my literal favorites – I’d rather have a spread of time periods and styles. So after rethinking the films for each category, I’m left with a number of leftover films that I would still really like to write about, and this seems the best place for them. Finally, I’m impatient and the thought of organizing reviews for once a week per series feeds my impatience. So I’m allowing myself one series where I can post at my own speed.
As the year winds down and the American New Wave and genre series’ come to an end, I’ll keep things open to see what catches my eye and what other series I may be interested in exploring. As of right now, I would definitely like to pursue monthly director retrospectives, starting with Alfred Hitchcock. I may begin that in November, or I may (simply because I happen to have four or five film analyses written for Hitchcock already) give those to the month of November as a cheat and hold off on any further director retrospectives until time begs for it. Like I said, I’d like to keep things open, and the series I currently have planned should provide a minimum of sixteen reviews of older films per month for the first three months, until October, and then eight continuing from there until February, with the four monthly Midnight Screenings reviews continuing from there as an indefinitely extended series. With newer film reviews published frequently as well, that sounds like more than enough to keep me busy for the coming months as I figure out the ultimate direction of this blog over time. Until then, good…watching, or film-ing, or something sufficiently lame to qualify here.