Throughout 2014, I attempted to watched films each month relating to a particular theme. However I found that many months I did not watch any films in that film. Throughout 2015 I am going to be more organised and watch more films in each film and have all of my themed months planned out in advance, as that was one of my main problems in 2014. I aim to watch these in order to learn more about different areas of cinema and build up a stronger knowledge of film theory in preparation for the Masters I wish to undertake later this year.
Carry On Joking January
Throughout January I will watch Carry On films and Ealing comedies to trace the development of quintessential British comedies of the mid 20th Century. For instance, the Carry On films didn’t start off creating laughs in the same way the later films did, and the Carry On films were significantly influenced by the British Ealing comedies. I will follow on by also watching contemporary comedy films to trace the significant development in comedy film. Throughout January, I hope to understand how British comedy developed and end the month with some form of essay summary on the subject.
February will be my month to focus on films that are adapted (loosely or more formally) from classic fairy tales. I will also examine films that incorporate fairytale ideas into their narratives. I hope to understand by the end of the month the role that fairytales play in contemporary cinema, and the reason for such an upsurge in fairytale adaptations significantly, I have noticed, since the release of Burton’s Alice In Wonderland in 2010.
Social Realist March
Social realism is a way for nations to establish a realistic sense of identity contrary to the often idealistic representations in films created with a more fantastic view of the nation. Social realist films focus more on the working class, on issues of poverty or national struggle. In March I aim to understand more about British social realist films in particular, the social commentary they offer, and the ways in which they differ to the social realist films made in other countries such as Italy and Mexico.
Animated films aren’t regarded very highly generally amongst many film critics, however I personally find animated films fascinating. I think the ways in which filmmakers create a story, emotion and a strong narrative through the many forms of animation should be regarded as filmmaking genius. From the stop motion animation of Tim Burton and Ray Harryhausen, the shadow puppet animation of Lotte Reiniger and the 2D, to the visually stunning animation of Michael Ocelot. I hope throughout this month to understand the ways in which animation attempts to create story and emotion through animating techniques, and similarly how animation has developed over time.
Musicals play a large part in cinema in terms of creating a fantasy world and acting themselves as a spectacle and arguably a form of escapism. In watching musicals of all different kinds, from Moulin Rouge to Oliver! through to the musicals of the classical Hollywood era, I hope to find links between these different form of musical performances and understand their appeal to audiences.
I have yet to find a theme for June. Ideas/suggestions are welcome!
Cinema plays a major role in many peoples’ lives. It acts as a form of comfort, entertainment, and even a mode of identity in which the spectator purposely watches films in order to work through problems that are similarly experienced by the character in the film. I hope through July to watch films that I myself love, and films which are very much adored by audiences and rated highly amongst critics to understand the impact of cinema more thoroughly.
Throughout August I will be focusing on the notion of the auteur, that is, a director or filmmaker whose work is seen as his/her piece of ‘art’, and that they essentially are the creative force behind the film. Notable auteurs include Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Terry Gilliam, and Tim Burton. I will examine various ‘auteurs’ and view several pieces of their work to see if I can trace a pattern and whether the other crew members vary (which may imply the creative choices are indeed down to the director), or stay the same (in which case those same crew members may be influencing the creative control of the film with their own personal styles). I do personally believe in the auteur, but that to realise their vision, the auteur must have a strong crew that they communicate really well with and who are able to fully realise the director’s vision with their own technical skills on the camera, with sound/scoring, editing, etc. So, my aim of this month is to trace the auteur theory and see if that notion still exists in cinema today.
September will focus on watching silent films in order to understand how silent cinema actied primarily as a form of spectacle at its inception. In understanding this, I will then trace its seamless development into a mode of storytelling as the films became longer and incorporated and developed their use of cinematic techniques. I will watch a whole range of silent cinema, from the likes of George Melies to D.W. Griffith, through to the early films of Fritz Lang. I hope to furthermore understand how silent cinema radically changed as the ‘talkie’ was introduced in the late 1920’s.
October Fright Fest
October Fright Fest will include viewing a whole range of horror films, from contemporary horrors, to slasher films, to what was considered as early horror in the form of German Expressionism and the Hammer House and Universal horrors. I’m hoping to use my film viewing this month in order to trace the different kinds of horror, from Freudian to the psychological horror, and to understand the appeal of horror to audiences and similarly the ways in which spectators’ find pleasure in seeing things which would likely traumatise them in real life.
Noirvember is a global participation in watching film noirs. I hope through the month to watch as many noir films as possible as I have seen very few. I aim to understand their history and their origin in the German Expressionist films, and how film noir influenced filmmakers such as Alfred Hitchcock. I hope to use my research to write an introduction to film noir and my pick of the best I have seen throughout the month.
December Christmas Crackers
December will likely be spent watching Christmas films, and so I will use December to compile a list of my top Christmas movies and other things that fit in with the Christmas theme. I will also be using my time to prepare for new challenges for 2016, along with an overview of my 2015 in film.
I’m really looking forward to the new challenges and the opportunities I will have this year to develop my writing skills. It also provides me with an aim and objective each month that I hope to fulfil, so here’s to a new year of learning about film! Follow the page to keep updated on my challenge participation, or you can *like* my Facebook page HERE, and my Twitter page HERE.