Friday 5 February 2021

January films 2021

I watched 46 films in January with 18 of those directed by women. Overall 16 were rewatches. I’m also rewatching Mark Cousins’ Women Make Film a bit at a time. 

Lots of really great films here and only Chain Reaction is a complete waste of time.

I visited Germany, the US, South Korea, Norway, France, Japan, Australia, Finland and Sweden on my cinematic journey. Why did I watch these particular films? Following interesting people on Letterboxd throws up films I’ve never heard of or forgotten; I got to Elaine May from Mark Cousins; I’ve been meaning to watch early Koreeda for an age; searching out films because of LGBTQ History Month; Dolly Parton’e birthday; snowfall; realising toward the end of the month I hadn’t watched enough films by women (very unlike me); subscriptions to Mubi, BFI Player and Netflix. 

Highlights? Discovering Elaine May; the wonder and compassion of early Koreeda; passions for Jessica Hausner and Marielle Heller; finally watching Blind and In the Cut; rewatching Gas Food Lodging, Peppermint Soda and Pariah; the joy of Alice Júnior; one film leading to another for comparison. 
The films with an asterisk are ones I would urge everyone to watch but that’s probably unfair because I’m still thinking about several others. 

A great Sunday afternoon triple bill would be Mermaids, This is my Life and Gas Food Lodging – all films about a single mum with two daughters.

A great Saturday night Horror double bill would start with Creepy and finish with Little Monsters.

I’m still having problems with concentration and depression – I’m finding lockdown hard – but watching in bulk is starting to help me think, make comparisons and contrasts and ask better questions. Watching Koreeda and Hausner you can’t help but consider the movements of the camera and careful painterly framing and compositions – their effect and the way they can construct/influence meaning. Watching Elaine May’s two films and then reading these two essays ( ( helped me to think more again about direction – and what might constitute different types of good/bad/effective/distinctive direction.  

Here is the full list in the order I watched them:
1. Good Posture (2019) (Dolly Wells)
2. System Catcher (2019) (Nora Fingscheidt)
3. Parasite (2019) (Bong Joon-ho)
4. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) (Colin Trevorrow)
5. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020) (Charlie Kaufman)
6. Mermaids (1990) (Richard Benjamin)
7. Holiday Affair (1949) (Don Hartman)
8. Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions (2020) (Taylor Swift)
9. Legally Blonde (2001) (Robert Luketic)
10. Chain Reaction (1996) (Andrew Davis)
11. Blind (2014) (Eskil Vogt) *
12. Only the Animals (2019) (Dominik Moll)
13. Sneakers (1992) (Phil Alden Robinson)
14. This is my Life (1992) (Nora Ephron)
15. Creepy (2016) (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
16. Maborosi (1995) (Hirokazu Kore-eda) *
17. Babyteeth (2019) (Shannon Murphy) *
18. Alice in the Cities (1974) (Wim Wenders)
19. A New Leaf (1971) (Elaine May)*
20. The Heartbreak Kid (1972) (Elaine May)
21. Little Monsters (2019) (Abe Forsythe)
22. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) (Jalmari Helander)
23. February (The Blackcoat’s Daughter) (2015) (Oz Perkins)
24. Jennifer’s Body (2009) (Karyn Kusama)
25. Instant Family (2018) (Sean Anders)
26. Nine to Five (1980) (Colin Higgins)
27. Alice Júnior (2019) (Gil Baroni)
28. The Duke of Burgundy (2014) (Peter Strickland)
29. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) (Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
30. After Life (1998) (Hirokazu Kore-eda) *
31. TransSiberian (2008) (Brad Anderson)
32. Cactus Flower (1969) (Gene Saks)
33. Peppermint Soda (1977) (Diane Kurys)
34. The Apartment (1960) (Billie Wilder) *
35. G.B.F. (2013) (Darren Stein)
36. About Endlessness (2019) (Roy Andersson)
37. In the Cut (2003) (Jane Campion) *
38. J.T.Leroy (2018) (Justin Kelly)
39. The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015) (Marielle Heller)
40. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) (Marielle Heller) *
41. The Savages (2007) (Tamara Jenkins)
42. Gas Food Lodging (1992) (Allison Anders) *
43. Infinitely Polar Bear (2014) (Maya Forbes)
44. Pariah (2011) (Dee Rees) *
45. Little Joe (2019) (Jessica Hausner)
46. Amour Fou (2014) (Jessica Hausner)*

My Letterboxd diary is here: and for each film I wrote a paragraph or two. 

For February…
In the mood for loneliness and longing: How Wong Kar Wai depicts emotion (
Wong Kar Wai season coming to BFI Player and the ICA’s Cinema 3 throughout February 2021