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  • Ravi Swami

Rounding off 2020..All the films that I haven't reviewed...

Updated: Dec 27, 2020

The one thing in common with all the films that I've been watching and reviewing over the course of the 2020 lockdown is that, for the most part, they've been films I knew about but had not seen and as stated at the outset, a BFI membership as a 2019 Christmas present from my daughter was the impetus to check out their vast library of content, both free and rental, and that has expanded to include streaming channels like Apple+, Mubi and Arrow Video via subscription or that came included with the smart TV I bought at the end of 2019.

To keep track and primarily as an aide memoire, I started to compile a list of films as I watched them, marking those in red that I'd reviewed here and as things progressed and the canvas of world cinema unfurled before me beyond the rather narrow genre choices that formed my viewing previously, there were many films that I watched that I have yet to review - some are mentioned in previous blogs, usually when referring to the work of a particular director, eg Polanski's "Cul De Sac", that rather pointedly deals with aspects of social isolation, something also reflected in "Woman of The Dunes" - both of which deserve a more detailed review beyond a passing mention.

A small number are favourites that I recall seeing ages ago, either on TV or in the cinema that have, over a period of time, gained a cult following and for good reason - for the most part "potboilers" at the time of their release and they are, all the same, interesting genre classics, such as "Our Man Flint" and "Fiend Without a Face", rarely seen on terrestrial channels and now available thanks to streaming services.

Every one of the films illustrated above via their film posters deserves a review, from Luchino Visconti's powerful "Rocco and his Brothers" to the freewheeling craziness of Takeshi Kitano's "Getting Any?" and the relentless nutty inventiveness of "House" and many provide a window into different cultures and societies at different periods of history while at the same time emphasizing universality in their themes, and are all worth seeking out and watching.

I think the fun part has really been a process of discovery and seeing films that would otherwise have simply slipped under the radar but came to attention by virtue of featuring a particular actor / actress or by being the work of a director more well-known for one or two critically acclaimed films, Agnes Varda's "Cleo from 5 to 7" being a case in point.

Clearly, there are still films out there yet to be explored and just when it feels as if I have seen everything I want to see, something else pops into view as streaming service metrics follow my previous choices and offer up unseen classics or quirky oddities like Japanese "Pink" cinema or "Girl Gang" films.

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a horrible year and personally speaking, watching films has made lockdown slightly more tolerable, with films that run the gamut from darker themes through to escapism.

The future of cinema-going may be hanging in the balance but streaming services offer a vast choice of films that wouldn't be so accessible unless you purchased them as BluRays etc, but then collecting films that way is whole other area, like collecting vinyl.

Merry Christmas and here's looking forward to a better 2021.


24 /12 /2020

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