Sunday, September 25, 2011

Miscellania Post #44: A 2 Year Anniversary, A 7½ Year Anniversary, My 100th Japanese Film & Various Upcoming Events and Goodies

I have always been a list making fool.  I can remember lying on the floor of my aunt and uncle's townhouse back in the early 1980's (I was probably about 13 or 14) and filling out this 3-ring binder I had with all the films I had seen in my still quite young life.  Listing them alphabetically, from The African Queen (which is my uncle's favourite film and which I had recently seen for the first time) to Young Frankenstein (I had yet to see Costa-Gavras' Z - another 4 or 5 years away at this point), I would furiously add films to my list as I would see them, giving each a rating from 0 to 4 stars (as was per the usual system at the time).  Eventually, as I got more and more into foreign and classic film (an elective film class in my Junior year of high school would build on the foundation already laid down by my uncle) my lists would become more and more elaborate - and more and more convoluted.  By the time I reached my mid-thirties, I would have notebooks filled with not only lists of films, by year, and in order of rating (which now consisted of an elaborate 0 to 100 scale, of which I would constantly be changing in a futile effort to have everything perfectly calibrated), but also a slew of (in hindsight, very poorly written) film reviews, both hand-written and typed out.  

By then of course, a little thing called the internet had come around (yes kids, there was a time before the world wide web) and I couldn't wait to get my grubby little hands all over it.  Which brings us to March 2004 and a place called Geocities, and it brings us to the online birth of The Cinematheque.  Set up as a place where I could post my reviews (the first one to go live was for Lars von Trier's Dogville) and perhaps even share them with the whole freakin' world, The Cinematheque was at first a very bland looking place (I knew nothing of web design at the time and was only beginning to get a grip on html) that would eventually evolve into a rather attractive (I think so at least) place to read reviews (now much better written than those hand-written early days) and check out my still-thriving obsession with list-making (which include films seen by year, by director, by theater, by country of origin etc. and so forth).  Now here we are seven and a half years later (with a fresh domain after the death of Geocities), and The Cinematheque is still the place where curious onlookers and true believers go to find the film reviews of yours truly.   Granted, I have pieces written at other outlets, but the vast majority can be found at The Cinematheque.   Of course if somebody were willing to pay me to write about film (other than my every-other-month film column gig at a local alt monthly called The Burg - which I enjoy doing but isn't exactly a gig with which to pay the bills).....well, that's another story for another day.

Now about five and a half years into the history of The Cinematheque, this prolific critic (and film historian!) decided to branch out into the world of the so-called web log, aka, blog.  On September 14, 2009 (my two year anniversary eleven days ago came and went without me even realizing it) I opened up shop right here at The Most Beautiful Fraud in the World (based on a rather famous Godard quote about what film is, and featuring Godard's former wife and muse, Anna Karina in its banner).  First set up as a companion blog to my main review site (a place to toss off my bloggish ramblings that could never find a home in my reviews), The Most Beautiful Fraud in the World has evolved into my main place of cinematic business.  A place that would bring together all my reviews and other various writings in one hub-happy home.  One can still find my reviews at The Cinematheque (all linked from here of course) as well as my slew of obsessively-written lists, but it now all comes springing out of the pages of The Most Beautiful Fraud in the World.  So here we are two years, and 450 posts later (not to mention 85 so-called followers - a number that I hope to get into double digits by the end of the year) and still going (relatively) strong.

So, remember those lists I have spoken of?  Well, one of these obsessions is listing every film I have seen, from every foreign country.  The list, which can be viewed at the rather obviously-titled page, The Cinematheque - Films By Country (and please realize this page is still well under construction, so do ignore the rather gap-toothed look of said page), has every non-American (not to be confused with un-American) film I have ever seen.  At the top of this list, currently with 278 films, is France.  The French are followed by the UK at 237, and then in a very distant third place, Japan at (drumroll please) 100.   Upon watching Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro last night, I finally crossed that triple digit threshold.  Perhaps one hundred Japanese films does not sound like a lot to some people (Donald Richie would laugh me outta town like I was a one-legged samurai) but it is still a quite significant number - especially considering I began 2011 with just 64 Japanese films seen.  Perhaps Italy, at 86, will be the next national cinema to cross to triple digits - unless I suddenly get a hankerin' for the cinema of Kazakhstan (currently at just two films seen).

As for other items of upcoming interest, I will making another trip up to the New York Film Festival tomorrow (Monday) morning to catch screenings of Bela Tarr's possible final film, The Turin Horse and Abel Ferrara's 4:44 Last Day on Earth.  Looks at both films will be making their ways into these pages on Tuesday or Wednesday.  Also, by the end of the month, I will be posting links to several reviews (some a bit late, others a bit more in a timely fashion) over at the aforementioned The Cinematheque.  They are, in no particular order, Gregg Araki's Kaboom, Azazel Jacobs' Terri, Gus Van Sant's Restless, Miranda July's The Future, Kim Jee-woon's I Saw the Devil, John Michael McDonagh's The Guard and the Straw Dogs remake.  The end of the month will also see the publication of two blogathon pieces.  The first will be a look at the films of Michael Mann for the latest LAMB's In the Director's Chair series and the second will be a piece on Black Narcissus for the Deborah Kerr Blogathon over at Waitin' on A Sunny Day.   The near future will also bring a pair of new 10 Best lists over at Anomalous Material (the first on the performances of Julianne Moore and the second on the genre of train movies) as well as a post (tying in with my two part "The Dangerous Beauty of Nick Ray" I did for Cinema Viewfinder's Nicholas Ray Blogathon) on the 10 Best Nick Ray films.

Well that's it for this Sunday evening post.  There is of course much more in store for the relatively near future (and the far future too!), including, but not limited to, looks at films such as Electra Glide in Blue, Cairo Station, Deep Red and a battle/comparison between Howard Hawks' Land of the Pharaohs and Michael Curtiz's The Egyptian, as well as some more NYFF fun.  You will also get updates on My Quest to Watch the 1000 Greatest Films (649 and counting) as well as new editions of the award-winning Hollywood Haiku and Criterion Critiques w/ Alex DeLarge (wherein my good friend Alex does guest reviews of the latest Criterion Bluray releases).  All this and a new film poll just around the corner.

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