With a light load this semester afforded by dropping a class that would prove far more trouble than it was worth -- I signed up for a Japanese literature/film class, only for an absurdly involved history class to spring from this wooden horse, which wouldn't be so bad if, along with my other, reading-intensive classes, I wasn't reading anywhere from 1,000-1,500 pages a week of differing material I had to constantly report on -- and even part-time jobs drying up all around me, I figured I'd spend some time between searching for employment revisiting the films of my youth, as well as the work of directors I've yet to explore.
Naturally, this leaves me with a massive choice of paths to take, particularly in the case of the latter, given my unfamiliarity with so much of contemporary foreign cinema. Throughout the year, I plan on watching films by such lauded directors as Tsai Ming-Liang, Claire Denis, Jia Zhang-ke, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Sergei Parajanov, to name but a few. But I'm kicking off the year by starting a director retrospective for each of the aforementioned two categories. Having seen all but a small portion of his films, I shall return to the corpus of Steven Spielberg, beginning with his 1971 T.V. movie Duel (which I haven't seen) and running all the way up to -- sigh -- the latest installment of the Indiana Jones saga. With any luck, I shall complete this retrospective in time to participate in Kevin J. Olson's proposed blog-a-thon for the director's '00s output, provided he goes through with his initial pondering.
For my first retrospective foray into an artist whose work I've barely seen, I have decided, despite the wealth of potential subjects just outside our borders, to focus on the work of Brian De Palma, that hotly contested director whose work has been the subject of outrage by some and dismissal by others -- like Jonathan Rosenbaum, who by and large writes off De Palma as an unimaginative homage machine. Yet he also enjoys a small but fervent band of admirers, made only more evident in the age of the Internet and the freedom -- for good or ill -- of the blogosphere. I have seen a few of his films, but I've never paid full attention to them and so much of his work remains a mystery to me, and there's no better way to solve it than to finally give this debated auteur my consideration. And because I've sort of unofficially started this anyway, I will continue to work through the filmography of Jean-Luc Godard; I won't make it an official retrospective, though, as a number of his films remain unavailable here and, having just received a Blu-Ray copy of Pierrot le fou, will likely break chronological order momentarily.
Some of you might be thinking to yourselves, "Oh, but Jake, you haven't even finished going through your John Carpenter retrospective, yet, which you've only just now deigned to try to finish after dropping it for five months. Besides, those are some of your weakest reviews lately!" To the first part I can only agree, red-faced (though with my ultra-pale Irish skin, that might just be the light), and pledge to keep working on that marathon until I finish it sometime in the next few weeks. As for the second part, I'm afraid I can't quite make it out on paper, and I would ask that you call me to confirm what you actually said. For convenience's sake, you can reach me at your mother's.