Monday, January 7, 2008

Some shortcomings

I realize that I've never taken a film history class or studied it formally, but I have felt at certain times that I had a grasp on certain aspects. I've tried to watch a lot and read a lot and I feel I've succeeded to some degree. But being here, I have realized how many nations' cinemas I will never even be able to scratch the surface of. Kieslowski, Wajda, Zanussi were essentially the extent of my knowledge of Polish film, unless you count Polanski or Agnieszka Holland. There were a few odd Polish historical films I'd seen, but their merit came from the source Mickiewicz, I thought. Now I'm seeing that there are dozens of Wajda's films I have yet to see, let alone the dozens of other directors who are just as prolific as Wajda.

Anyway, I thought it fair to mention some gaping holes in my historical viewing (this, of course, isn't all I haven't seen — just the omissions I'm feeling most inadequate about):

I've wanted so badly to see more Mizoguchi, as virtually every opinion I respect on the subject raves about his "inexhaustibleness." But though I agree he's greater than Kurosawa in his artistry and depth, I would trade the weakest Ozu for my favorite Mizoguchi. Now, I've only seen 5, and I realize that I probably just don't have the context. I fantasize about having screenings from the earliest surviving prints (but I don't speak Japanese, and probably never will), to Street of Shame. I have ordered the four films MoC (region 2) has just released, however, and I look forward to the experience and challenge.

I could say something very similar about Jean Renoir. But I'm working on it. Perhaps I need a different place to start. I've only seen five, but all but one I've seen more than once. I just think there's more there than I realize.

I also realize I have seen so very little from 30s and 40s Hollywood. I've read a lot, but I haven't seen enough to feel confident.

I also haven't seen anything from Bela Tarr.

My viewing of virtually all Italian cinema is spotty.

I'd like to see Wong Kar-Wai's work from the start to now.

I've only seen 4 of Hou's films. and Cafe Lumiere had Polish subtitles.

I haven't seen anything by Edward Yang earlier than Yi Yi

I wonder what I'm missing that other than their first films (400 blows and Who's That Knocking at my Door?... well, and Taxi Driver) I don't get either Truffaut or Scorcese. And most often I find them boring. Especially when I find Tsai Ming-Liang invigorating and I'm often on the edge of my seat even when he's repleat with references to Truffaut.

I want to see more Rivette. The four I have seen seem to be the most mature works of the New Wave to me. I seriously thought of flying to Chicago when Out 1 and Spectre were playing this year.

I know very little about Chinese cinema, comparatively, and I don't understand why critics seem to dismiss Zhang Yimou so readily. I know nothing about pre-1980 Chinese cinema.

I also know hardly anything about Hong Kong cinema.

Anyway, I guess I just wanted to make it clear where I'm coming from currently.

Feel free to share what movies you haven't seen that you wish you had.

1 comment:

Kayela said...

Thus religion would not be religion if it did not make some place for the free combinations of thought and activity, for play, for art, for all those things that renew the spirit worn down by the constraints of daily labour; the very causes that called religion into existence make it a necessity. Art is not simply an external ornament donned by the cult to conceal its excessively harsh and austere side; rather the cult has an aesthetic aspect in itself. Due to the well-known relationship between mythology and poetry, people sometimes wanted to place mythology outside religion; the truth is that there is poetry inherent in all religion.

This is another one from elelmentary forms of religious life.