Wednesday, 30 December 2015

2015 has been a big year for me in a number of ways, but perhaps the most interesting, and certainly the most relevant here, has been my development as a viewer/consumer of cinema. This has been the first year in which I've totally given myself over to my instincts (i.e. watching the things I want to instead of the things I feel I'm obliged to) and found some kind of vague, viscous idea of what cinema means to me - a necessary foundation for an appreciation of anything, I'm sure. This points to a new year of continued refinement and discovery, which, while impossible to aim at with any kind of certainty, is something I'm very excited about.

Looking back over 2015 has reminded me of a number of things I appreciated this year. The arrival of both a half decent cinema within driving distance and a car to drive to it with has improved my life to no end (although as is obvious from the notable absences from my year end list I still have a long way to go when it comes to actually seeing new releases). I learned how to make multiple rental lists on Lovefilm so finding myself stuck with two random movies from an unruly list of more than 1000 is a thing of the past. The London Film Festival was a blast as always, thanks to new and old faces. And I've seen as much rep as is financially feasible for a farm boy in the English countryside. So, yeah, a very good year, all told.

New Releases (2015 premieres, missed a few big ones)

- Blackhat (Michael Mann)
- Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke)
- Journey To The Shore (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
- Cemetery of Splendour (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
- Carol (Todd Haynes)
- In Jackson Heights (Frederick Wiseman)
- Mistress America (Noah Baumbach)
- Mia Madre (Nanni Moretti)
- Happy Hour (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)
- Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong Sang-soo)
- Kaili Blues (Bi Gan)
- Bridge of Spies (Steven Spielberg)
- The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-hsien)
- James White (Josh Mond)
- Murmur of the Hearts (Sylvia Chang)
- Neon Bull (Gabriel Mascaro)
- Ricki and the Flash (Jonathan Demme)
- Love & Peace (Sion Sono)
- The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos)
- Chevalier (Athina Rachel Tsangari)
- One Floor Below (Radu Muntean)
- The Intern (Nancy Meyers)
- The Treasure (Corneliu Porumboiu)
- Office 3D (Johnnie To)
- Schneider vs. Bax (Alex van Warmerdam)

Repertory/Exhibitions (ordered by date seen, formats as listed at screening)

Albert Serra: Divine Visionaries and Holy Fools Tate Modern
- Story of my Death (2013) - 35mm
- Honour of the Knights (2005) - 35mm
- The Lord Worked Wonders in Me (2011) - Video

Abderrahmane Sissako: Poetry, Politics, and the New African Cinema - BFI Southbank
- Life on Earth (1998) - Video
- Waiting For Happiness (2002) - 35mm
- Timbuktu (2014) - DCP (on general release but screened as part of the season)

Also Like Life: The Films of Hou Hsiao-hsien - BFI Southbank
- A Summer at Grandpa's (1984) - 35mm
- Taipei Story (Edward Yang, 1985) - 35mm
- The Green, Green Grass of Home (1983) - 35mm
- The Boys From Fengkuei (1983) - 35mm
- Daughter of the Nile (1987) - 35mm
- Good Men, Good Women (1995) - 35mm
- Goodbye South, Goodbye (1996) - 35mm
- The Puppetmaster (1993) - 35mm
- Flowers of Shanghai (1998) - 35mm
- Millennium Mambo (2001) - 35mm
- Three Times (2005) - 35mm

Chantal Akerman: NOW - Ambika P3
NOW (2015)
In The Mirror (1971/2007) 
Maniac Summer (2009)
- Maniac Shadows (2013)
- A Voice in the Desert (2002)
- D'Est: au bord de la fiction (1995)
- Tombeé de nuit sur Shanghai (2007)

- Once Upon a Time in America (Director's Cut) (Sergio Leone, 1984) - DCP
- In Vanda's Room (Pedro Costa, 2000) - Video
- The Crucified Lovers (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954) - 35mm

Best First Time Viewings (one per director, mostly seen at home)

- Bitter Victory (Nicholas Ray, 1957)
- How Green Was My Valley (John Ford, 1941)
- Prince of Darkness (John Carpenter, 1987)
- The Crucified Lovers (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954)
- The Bridges of Madison County (Clint Eastwood, 1995)
- Flowers of Shanghai (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 1998)
- Carlito's Way (Brian De Palma, 1993)
- The Green Ray (Eric Rohmer, 1986)
- Shanghai Express (Josef von Sternberg, 1932)
- The Story of Marie and Julien (Jacques Rivette, 2003)
- Cure (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 1997)
- Journey To Italy (Roberto Rossellini, 1954)
- An Autumn Afternoon (Yasujiro Ozu, 1962)
- The Unfaithful Wife (Claude Chabrol, 1969)
- The Hole (Tsai Ming-liang, 1998)
- L'intrus (Claire Denis, 2004)
- Kikujiro (Takeshi Kitano, 1999)
- Peggy Sue Got Married (Francis Ford Coppola, 1986)
- Only Yesterday (Isao Takahata, 1991)
- The Strange Case of Angelica (Manoel de Oliveira, 2010)

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