After a whole month dedicated to mostly new selections, this week turned into a lot of re-watching. Between debates, sports, and the arrival of Luke Cage…it also turned into a week where film took a backseat. That’s a sign of things to come for the weeks ahead! Something tells me when I look back on my filmgoing in 2016, I’ll see October as the black hole.
#52FilmsByWomen continued this week with PARIAH directed by Dee Rees.
I loved every moment of PARIAH and dearly wish I’d seen it sooner. Whatever Dee Rees makes in the future, I will chase down.
What I find myself thinking about more than PARIAH as a singular film is a conversation I had during TIFF with someone who reads these posts. The reader said that sometimes when they read what I write in this series, they can sense me pulling a punch. In a way, I should be flattered because it means the person reads my words well enough to read between my lines too.
However, the point has stuck with me for a few reasons.
For starters, it reminds me of something that came up during the podcast dedicated to the series back in the springtime. That as much as we each want to support women in film, a bad movie is a bad movie. I would love nothing more than to sit here and extol the virtues and lessons presented in last year’s SUFFRAGETTE…unfortunately, that film is so toothless it’s almost a crime.
One of the rules I have in-place for my own project is that I’m only watching films I’ve never seen before. If I didn’t though, if I included films I’d already seen, there’s no way I would post about the virtues of UNBROKEN…or TWILIGHT…or SOMEWHERE…or RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS…or K19: THE WIDOWMAKER. Know why? Because they’re bad. To give them a passing grade just because they are filmed by women is patronizing and against the spirit of the project.
Another reason the point has stuck is that it’s true that not every film I’ve watched has been a diamond – some have been problematic, and some have been downright messy. However, just my Blind Spot Project, what I take away from these films is less what I think about these films and more what they make me think about. Sometimes that’s the women in the stories and who they represent, other times it’s the women who create the stories and what they are looking to say. Other times still, it’s the women in my life – my wife, my mother, my friends, my co-workers…women who have come and gone, women I haven’t met yet.
When I set out to post these pieces, I struggled long and hard on how I wanted to approach it. I did know one thing for sure: I didn’t want to review these films. Whether or not they are good doesn’t matter…so what I post in these pieces is less about whether I believe these are films worth watching, and instead how they have informed my film literacy.
The mild irony is that this is also the way I approach film criticism in general.
Great films can leave thin legacies. Spotty films can stick with you. Whether a film is created by a woman a man, a person of colour, or a white person, they all deserve deeper consideration than whether or not they “are good”.
If it seems like I’m pulling a punch…perhaps that’s because I wasn’t really looking to land one in the first place.
Here’s the week at hand…
Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Never Seen
INTOLERANCE – Lengthy but SO worth it!
PARIAH – If my life were a movie, I’d want Bradford Young to shoot it.
Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Seen Before
AVENGERS: THE AGE OF ULTRON – I’m thinking a line-up change is going to help INFINITY WAR.
SCHINDLER’S LIST – I’ve been upgrading my Spielberg films to blu-ray. This one looks incredible.
3:10 TO YUMA – Even bad men love their mamas.
Boxscore for The Year
195 First-Timers, 104 Re-Watched
299 Movies in Total
How’s about you – seen anything good?