I really wanted to take part in the Blindspot series for 2014, but I wasn’t aware of it until like March of this year, so it didn’t happen. I vowed I would do it in 2015 though, having thought of the theme of foreign films sometime over the summer. I’ve been assembling my list ever since, and now that 2014 is winding down, I think I have it all set.
For those who are not aware, the Blindspot series is where you set a pre-determined list of 12 films that are particular blindspots (go figure) in your viewing history. I suppose they don’t have to be famous films, but they generally turn out to be. Posts are released on the final Tuesday of every month. It was started on The Matinee and I’ve seen a bunch of blogs doing it since.
It’s going to be very difficult for me to keep on track, releasing a post of a pre-determined movie once every month. Warning, I may have to watch them all in January and release the posts throughout the year, though I haven’t actually decided on that course of action yet. I also don’t have any theme month ideas in place for next year yet (besides my traditional best picture month in February, which I’ve taken into account), so that might gum up the works too. I’m sure I’ll find a way to work around it.
Without further ado, here’s the schedule of international films for 2015:
January: Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (Germany, 1927)
With this one I kill two birds with one stone; not only is the film foreign but it’s also a silent! I’ve been meaning to watch more silent film, and this the first that came to mind. I’m also looking forward to viewing the first ever sci-fi film!
February: James Cameron’s Titanic (US, 1997)
I know, it’s pretty unbelievable that I haven’t seen this. As February is Best Picture Month, I looked for the most grievous entry in my “to watch” list of Best Pictures, and it’s without a doubt Titanic. I could have chosen The French Connection, but all in all, I thought more people would have seen Titanic. I can’t really say I’m looking forward to it as I haven’t really heard many positive things, but it’s definitely a cultural force I have to check off my list.
March: Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2 (Italy, 1963)
Can you believe I’ve never seen a Fellini film? Because I haven’t and it’s crazy. There are any number (ha ha) I could have chosen from, but I decided to go with 8 1/2. The premise sounds really cool and it has Claudia Cardinale. There you go.
April: Joon-ho Bong’s The Host (South Korea, 2006)
Nope, not the Stephanie Meyer one. Though I haven’t seen many South Korean films (3), I’ve loved all of them. The Host has been called the greatest monster movie since Jaws, so that’s pretty exciting. Brought to us by the director of Snowpiercer; I couldn’t be more excited for this one.
May: Luis Bunel’s The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (France/Italy/Spain, 1972)
Bunel is an interesting guy. I’ve been interested in his films ever since I read Michael Powell’s autobiography, in which he said Bunel was the only director he would ever defer to. That’s a pretty high commendation. I’ve seen That Obscure Object of Desire, and am really excited to see this one. Bunel has so many famous films it was hard to decide which one to watch, but I eventually ended on The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, but like Fellini I’ll be sure to watch his other film later.
June: Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund’s City of God (Brazil, 2002)
City of God is a film I don’t know much about, but keep hearing praised. I was looking for a film from South America and this was the first (and sadly only) film I thought of. That doesn’t mean I’m not excited for it though (did that poster mention Goodfellas?! I’m down!).
July: Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (France, 1960)
The French New Wave is a really important movement in film history, and yet, I’ve only seen one film from it. I can recognize the stylistic influences in other films (like Bonnie and Clyde) and really admire the editing, but I feel like to fully appreciate the French New Wave I should see more of its films. Again, I could have picked any number of films, but the one I’ve seen (Jules and Jim) is Truffaut’s so I thought I’d go for Godard this time, and landed on Breathless. I have no idea what it’s about, but I like going into films that way every once and a while.
August: Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (US, 1937)
Note: it was directed by a whole slew of people, but I decided to introduce it by the producer, Walt Disney. I think we can probably all agree he’s the auteur here. Plus it was easier to type. This wasn’t originally on the list, but I really haven’t seen very many animated films and it’s pretty shameful. Walt Disney is the king of animated films (if I had one more month in the year I would be watching a Miyazaki film too), so I decided to go with the film that started it all. Hopefully it goes well.
September: Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (Japan, 1961)
When considering which Japanese film to pick, I found I had to go with Kurosawa. He’s another director with many famous films, but once I decided to go with him I had to pick Yojimbo. Not only does it have a marvelous reputation, but it also inspired A Fistful of Dollars (so much so that it was sued), and I really like that movie. I don’t imagine I can go wrong here.
October: Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (Mexico/Spain, 2006)
I always try to review a scary movie on Halloween, and I still haven’t seen Pan’s Labyrinth. Maybe in 2015 I will actually accomplish my dream of doing a whole week of horror, in which case this may not happen on the actual day of Halloween (which is how Blindspot is set up anyway, final Tuesday of every month). Regardless, it’s scary, foreign, and I haven’t seen it yet.
November: Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting (UK, 1996)
I have a great interest in British film, and having seen the more famous Powell and Pressburger films already, sort of struggled to go with another director. However, Danny Boyle is a really good choice. Not only is he pretty popular, but I’ve only seen Trance of his. Though I’ve heard this film is tough to get through, I like Ewan McGregor a lot and hopefully it’ll be worth it.
December: Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (Sweeden, 1957)
Bergman is really challenging, but can also be very rewarding. My friend Jon Harrison over at A Cinematic Odyssey has been telling me to watch this film for years now, so I had no trouble narrowing it down from foreign films to this. The film is really famous; I’ll bet you’ve seen at least a reference to the chess scene with death even if you don’t know what it’s from. Now I just need to get a hold of the Criterion edition….
I think I’ve selected a pretty good group of films. I aimed for variety, with films from the US, Mexico, Brazil, UK, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Sweeden, South Korea, and Japan. I included one silent and one animated, both areas that I need to see more films from. I’m excited for every film on this list and will do my best to actually review all of them! Multi-part blogathons (this isn’t a blogathon per se but it’s like one) have historically been really tough for me but if I have to review all of them ahead of time I will. I already tracked down the posters, so there are the posts started right there!
Stay tuned for my wrap-up of 2014 and more info about what’s coming in 2015!