"How squalid everything will be."

“How squalid everything will be.”

 

Six years ago this month, I ventured off on a wonderful voyage of cinematic discovery.

At the suggestion of my friend James, I decided to make a point of seeking out movie titles that had been lingering on to-see lists for far too long. Further, I wanted to keep the pace to a very manageable (yet, still surprisingly challenging) one-per-month. I’d write posts on what these films made me think about, and urge others to join me in a blog-a-thon of sorts.

Thus, The Blind Spot Series was born.

It was wonderful – a push to make a concerted effort to track specific titles down. Inspiration for posts that did not at all involve superheroes or franchises. It made me think long and hard about the difference between “films I’ hadn’t seen before” and “films I really should get see” (Yes, there’s a difference).

One year led to two. Two years became three. Before I knew it, five whole years and sixty selections had come and gone.

Participants had waxed and waned. Selections became less and less obvious. Times changed, as time does.

 

Grażyna Szapołowska in The Dekalog

 

Much of this was on my mind as I put in a concerted effort to consume and consider my final selection of 2017 – Kieślowski’s DEKALOG. At about hour six of ten, I wondered quietly who else would think to tackle such a monster selection. Who else would cram watching and writing into a frantic holiday weekend. Who would consider a film like that a true “blind spot”. What’s more, I had a moment where I asked myself “Who’s going to read this”?

So, at the end of that piece, I said this:

 

After several years of effort, attention, and study, the amount of true “blind spots” in my film vocabulary has dropped dramatically. I thought about when a friend posted a meme on their Facebook page asking for people to admit essential films they’d never seen. People were mentioning titans of the medium – LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, CASABLANCA, JAWS, APOCALYPSE NOW. Even though I was tagged, I couldn’t answer since nowadays I’d have to scroll all the way down a list until I get to something like THE LIVES OF OTHERS…and I don’t really think that’s in the spirit of his question, or this project…

 

I’d done my studying. I was better for it. I had a better grasp of the medium I adore and how it arrived at this time and place. I was reaching further and further for titles to add which was smacking less of true “blind spots”, and more like “films I haven’t seen yet”…and that wasn’t what I was trying to do when this whole caper began.

With that in mind, I quietly said “good night and good luck” to the series and moved on.

 

Come out, come out, whereever you are!

Come out, come out, whereever you are!

 

But then, last week, I noticed something interesting. Around the usual spot on the monthly calendar, Blind Spot posts were popping up. A few. A smattering. Enough. It made me wonder if I might be done with a project that itself is never “done”.

So, with that in mind, I’m hopeful that the series can continue for many – and perhaps attract many more…and for that, I have turned to my favorite Portuguese cinephile, Sofia da Costa from Returning Videotapes and the Across The Universe podcast.

She has graciously agreed to take over as Mistress of Ceremonies for this little project, and hopefully keep the quest for watching and words alive. If I’m being honest, I believe that she’ll do an even better job with this series than I did, and bring some fresh blood into the fold.

If you’re reading this, write reaction pieces or review of your own, I’d highly recommend giving something like this a go and becoming part of the mad tea party that Sofia will be heading up. It’s a great little cinematic resolution for a new year…a great way to get varying-up the modern with the classic, or even the modern classic!

 

Belle de Jour

 

Approaching film watching and blogging by way of The Blind Spot Series has been nothing but rewarding. It has given my love of film structure, and filled in several gaps left by missing out on film literacy studies. It has also helped me strike a balance between the films that I should watch and the films that I will watch.

I could very easily spend all my time gorging on essentials, but that will take much of the fun out of it. Likewise, I could just make a list and “get to it when I get to it”…but I know myself, and know that if I leave things like that, I’ll never see something as riveting as WAGES OF FEAR again. Or A STAR IS BORN. Or PERSONA.

The trick has been finding the balance, and after five years of achieving that balance, it’s a balance I will aim to keep.

I will still seek out that which I have never seen before – and that which I should have seen by now. Some of it will find its way to me, and some of it I will find my own way towards.

No matter which way it arrives, my hope is that I can counter my onset cinematic blindness and step further and further into the light, and I hope with Sofia’s encouragement, many of you will too.

 

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