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Film Club from the Ashes


Andrew
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Shall we talk about how to revive the film club here?

I would suggest a baby steps approach - let's start with nominating a movie per month, one at a time.  (Once we have some momentum, then we could maybe nominate a few films at a time to keep things flowing more smoothly.)  For starters, shall we open up the nomination and discussion process for a week or two, then set up a poll?

Please share your thoughts and ideas here.  I'm excited about getting started.

 

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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On FB, we've been joking around, but some serious ideas got mixed in.

Using streaming services and/or the Criterion collection as a starting point helps mitigate concerns about accessibility.

Purposefully alternating between "A" and "B" films keeps things varied. Let's break up those prestige pictures with some good genre fare.

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Ryan H. wrote:
: Using streaming services and/or the Criterion collection as a starting point helps mitigate concerns about accessibility.

One concern with streaming services is that they are frequently available only in the U.S. (E.g. Netflix is available around the world, but each country/territory has a different roster of films. And services like Hulu don't exist *at all* outside the U.S., as far as I know.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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29 minutes ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

Ryan H. wrote:
: Using streaming services and/or the Criterion collection as a starting point helps mitigate concerns about accessibility.

One concern with streaming services is that they are frequently available only in the U.S. (E.g. Netflix is available around the world, but each country/territory has a different roster of films. And services like Hulu don't exist *at all* outside the U.S., as far as I know.)

Yeah, but you still gotta use something as a starting point. Even with substantial caveats, using streaming services as a starting point makes as much, if not more, sense than the alternatives.

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I'm not sure I'm so hot on using Criterion (or any third party's curated list), at least not if that would limit our choice in any way. I love Criterion as much as anyone, but it isn't ours. If we need a list to use as a starting point, I'd rather use one of the A&F lists. It should be possible (though it might be a headache) to screen out inaccessible films during the nominating process.

It's worth pointing out - again - that, depending on region, interlibrary loan is an underused resource in film as in books. Thanks to it, I've never found myself unable to get my hands on a DVD I wanted, as long as it's ever had a US release.

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Working across national boundaries, availability is always going to be an issue to a larger or smaller degree.

3 minutes ago, Rushmore said:

I'm not sure I'm so hot on using Criterion (or any third party's curated list), at least not if that would limit our choice in any way. I love Criterion as much as anyone, but it isn't ours. If we need a list to use as a starting point, I'd rather use one of the A&F lists. It should be possible (though it might be a headache) to screen out inaccessible films during the nominating process.

I don't think using Criterion need limit our choice. The thinking here--as expressed to me--is that Criterion has a bunch of good movies that some of us just haven't gotten around to for one reason or another (I've got at least three on my shelf right now that I bought but never watched--granted, one of them is Gertrud). So it's less a matter of having a list as it is one of having a pool

OTOH, if we wanted to use the current A&F Top 100, for instance, that move might have its own benefits.

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Criterion was mentioned only because it guarantees a level of accessibility. Not because we want to treat it as a canon.

I'd prefer to stay away from the films on A&F lists, at least to start. This venture should primarily be about exploring stuff A&F hasn't explored yet. (Alternating prestige/arthouse fare with off-the-beaten-track genre fare would help in that regard).

In the FB discussion, I brought up Josef von Sternberg, an accomplished artist who isn't already in the A&F stable. I'd love for us to watch at least one of his films. DOCKS OF NEW YORK seems like a good starting pick to me.

Edited by Ryan H.
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Just now, Ryan H. said:

Criterion was mentioned only because it guarantees a level of accessibility. Not because we want to treat it as a canon.

I'd prefer to stay away from the films on A&F lists, at least to start. This venture should primarily be about exploring stuff A&F hasn't explored yet.

Fair enough, on both counts. (Though there are plenty of out-of-print Criterion titles that aren't too accessible now, and of course plenty of other films available via streaming.)

Continuing from the discussion that sprouted up on Facebook, it sounds like we might start just by having people suggest a few films they've been wanting to get around to and haven't for some reason, with the understanding that priority will be given first to Japanese gangster flicks and second to eastern European art films.

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8 minutes ago, Ryan H. said:

I'd prefer to stay away from the films on A&F lists, at least to start. This venture should primarily be about exploring stuff A&F hasn't explored yet.

I'm inclined to agree, particularly since we keep making lists and if we want to prevent overlap--which hasn't been a huge problem so far but it's raised as a concern every time we do a list--it might be good to venture out as a community and see some new stuff. With the caveat that, as diverse as our interests are around here, it's highly likely that everyone is familiar with something the rest of us aren't. 

 

1 minute ago, Rushmore said:

Continuing from the discussion that sprouted up on Facebook, it sounds like we might start just by having people suggest a few films they've been wanting to get around to and haven't for some reason, with the understanding that priority will be given first to Japanese gangster flicks and second to eastern European art films.

Second!

Suggestions already made at the Facebook discussion are:

Tokyo Drifter 

Josef von Sternberg films

Jacques Demy films

La Notte Bianchi

--Did I miss any?

Something else to keep in mind is that lots of the Criterion movies are rent-able via Amazon--at least, in the US they are. Tokyo Drifter, for instance. Which I'd totally be up for.

Edited by NBooth
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10 minutes ago, NBooth said:

I certainly do!

I do as well. I might even watch it tonight in case we don't start with it.

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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So that's three votes. Does anyone have serious objections to watching Tokyo Drifter (or un-serious objections, either one)?

In any case, here's a couple I want to get to at some point. I figured I'd throw them into the pot, if not for this round then for a later one:

Beijing Bicycle (Wang Xiaoshuai, 2001)

Spring in a Small Town (there's a 2002 version, but the 1948 original is apparently in public domain and available on YouTube)

Stray Dogs (Tsai Ming Liang, 2013)

Memories of Murder (Bong Joon-ho, 2003)

 

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Count me in for Tokyo Drifter. But before we dive into that being our first film, perhaps we should take Andrew's suggestion of baby steps seriously, and determine the process for how we'd nominate and vote for a film and who curates that process. Maybe that's happening right now in this thread, but it's still unclear to me. I'd also vote for Jacques Demy films.

Also, regarding streaming services--while Hulu and Amazon Prime aren't in Canada, I believe iTunes also has quite a few films to choose from. And there's Mubi, Fandor, and a number of others. I'd second the praise for interlibrary loans--I've found nearly everything I'd wanted to find there as well.

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51 minutes ago, Joel Mayward said:

Count me in for Tokyo Drifter. But before we dive into that being our first film, perhaps we should take Andrew's suggestion of baby steps seriously, and determine the process for how we'd nominate and vote for a film and who curates that process. Maybe that's happening right now in this thread, but it's still unclear to me.

The way I see it, we have two options (ok, more than two, but at least two): first, we can talk around until there seems to be a consensus--which is kind of what's going on to push Tokyo Drifter to the top; or, second, we can throw together a list of five or so movies and make a poll, with the simple majority favorite being the pick (no idea what we would do in case of ties). I'm good either way.

As far as who curates--since pretty much everyone over in the "Is Arts and Faith Dying" thread has said that one reason they've stayed away is because of how busy they are, I'm somewhat cautious about trying to add more to anyone's plate. Moreover, I'm a little uncertain about what curating would mean in this context--is it picking the movies, starting the thread, keeping us tied down to dates? And would we select them by voting or appointment or what? It seems to me that once we pick a movie for, say, June, it should be a pretty simple process from there: we start a thread (either in the Featured Film Discussion section, if we ever get what's going on there sorted out) or in the regular film forum. Maybe we agree to all try to watch the movie by, say, the 15th (or even the 1st, if we pick the movie within the next week or so).

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Just a suggestion for a possible timeline:

- nominations for another 5 days

- open a poll with voting for another 5 days

- maybe a week to obtain and view the film

- then, voila!, open up a thread on June 1 for discussion

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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1 minute ago, Andrew said:

Just a suggestion for a possible timeline:

- nominations for another 5 days

- open a poll with voting for another 5 days

- maybe a week to obtain and view the film

- then, voila!, open up a thread on June 1 for discussion

I like it!

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If no one else can/wants to, I'll go ahead and take point on setting up the poll Tuesday or Wednesday. If we could phrase nominations in "I nominate x" I can search the thread more easily (thus: I nominate Tokyo Drifter. Although, really, Ryan did. But that gets it into the search parameters, anyway).

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No time to contribute any thoughts, except to note I'm on board!

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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I've seen Earrings of Madame de, and Lola Montes has been on my watch list for awhile, so I'd personally prefer the latter, although I'd be fine with rewatching Earrings.

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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Earrings is tremendous. Lola Montes is also a great film, but it is perhaps less accessible. (Which is, of course, a really snobbish thing to say, but...)

P.S. A director study might give more room for some give and take discussion than everyone watching a single film. IIRC, the latter can lead to more lurkers, which can be a problem in any book/film club. This is supposed to be the summer of Fred Zinnemann for me, but I don't know how that would shake with anyone else.

Edited by kenmorefield
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