2012 is over and that provides a great opportunity to list out some great parts of the year as they pertain to cinema. This year has definitely been eventful when concerned with my growth as a film analyst and as an aspiring filmmaker. Hopefully, in 2013, I can get 2 (or more) steps closer to my lofty goals and expectations.
So here’s a list of some random things cinema I want to write about which happened in 2012:
1. I completed close to 100 pages on my feature length screenplay which I will be editing and marketing hopefully by April. I had a serious lul in the middle of my last semester with so much work piled on that I didn’t have time to write and when I finally did get time, I had such serious writers block that I couldn’t even muster a word… so, I did what I usually do when I’m stuck; I look for inspiration. The first film I went to see was Roman Polanski’s Cul-de-Sac, and thankfully that was enough for me to know what I needed to write next.
2. I’ve gotten several pieces published on Projectorhead Magazine, a start-up Indian film critique magazine focused on serious discussion of cinema topics, with heavy concentration on Indian cinema. It’s given a magnificent opportunity to express views of issues that have been bugging me for some time, the most pressing being the Academy Awards’ Foreign Film Selection process. This is particularly ticking me off because being an Indian and having a sort of patriotism for Indian cinema, I feel ashamed much of the time that our films never seem ‘good enough’ to get some serious consideration for the Oscars… and no, Slumdog Millionaire is definitely NOT an Indian film. I discussed how India and America have a ‘lost in translation’ situation when it comes to communicating through cinema. The article will be published in the coming week at www.projectorhead.in. Check it out, and of course, I urge everyone to read all the other articles as well. There are some seriously talented film writers working for this magazine, most of them (if not all) much better and more experienced than I.
3. Watching Lincoln was a great experience. Steven Spielberg is my favorite filmmaker mostly because I grew up on his cinema… the first live action film I ever saw was Jurassic Park and it was a masterpiece. His style, sensibilities and genuine optimism and humanism is something any film-goer can appreciate. While many critics may differ, saying that his brand of filmmaking deviates from a much more matter-of-fact Scorsese or a overtly bleak and truthful Kubrick, I say his filmmaking complements theirs because he is the only truly legendary filmmaker in America today who can make emotionally moving and important cinema without being gritty or brutally honest. Lincoln was special to me because it signified Spielberg’s return to his heyday of late-70’s to 90’s filmmaking, where he was so consistent and embodied a painfully hopeful view on the world in a time where many filmmakers were making much darker and depressing films. Lincoln doesn’t get carried away with any sentimentality or melodrama, it provides a feeling of the genuine human heart the 16th president had for all man, and a steady conviction to keep the country that he loved, in tact. Watching a Spielberg movie on TV or on a DVD is great, but still nothing beats watching it in theatres. So, if you missed Lincoln, you missed a fantastic opportunity to see the greatest post-1960 American director’s work on the silver screen.
4. The Dark Knight-trilogy is only the second trilogy I’ve watched completely in the movie theatre (the first being Lord of the Rings). Needless to say, it was a great ride. As much as I wished TDKR was better, it still provided a fantastic ending to the best superhero series of films I’ve ever seen and a feat which will be very hard to match, although Man of Steel looks fantastic…. which brings me to…
5. Is it just me or is the teaser and feature length trailer for Man of Steel better than any trailer I’ve ever seen for a movie in the 21st century? Honestly, my hair stands up and I get this ridiculous shiver everytime I watch them. The music, visuals and full composition of the ads for this movie are just unbelievable and it makes me extremely excited, but also, extremely cautious because for a movie to live up to trailers that are this good is a difficult thing to do. Here’s a link to the trailers, you just have to watch them, they’re amazing: http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/wb/manofsteel/
6. Discovering the Criterion Collection was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I knew about it for years, but this year is the first time I actually went ahead and made the effort to research, select and buy Criterion DVD’s or see them online on hulu.com. I saw some brilliant titles including but not limited to Cul-de-Sac (Polanski, 1966), Solyaris (Tarkovsky, 1971), In the Mood for Love (Wong, 2002) and Fat Girl (Breillat, 2001). I hope to keep on collection the DVD’s and making a great collection for myself of classics that are remastered by the group.
To conclude this post, a little guilty-pleasure tradition I have is selecting my ‘Oscar Winners’ for the year. Of course, as much as the Oscars may bug me, I still love the show and think it’s a good idea as an end of the year celebration for hard working film artistis to have for their efforts in the industry during the year. So here they are:
Best Picture: Lincoln
Best Actor: Daniel-Day Lewis (Lincoln)
Best Actress: Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
Best Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
Best Supporting Actress: Sally Field (Lincoln)
Best Director: Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
Best Original Screenplay: P.T. Anderson (The Master)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Tony Kushner (Lincoln)
Best Cinematography: The Master
Best Art Direction: Lincoln
Best Costume Design: Les Miserables
Best Make-Up: The Hobbit, and Unexpected Journey
Best Editing: Skyfall
Best Sound Editing: Skyfall
Best Sound Mixing: Les Miserables
Best Visual Effects: Prometheus
Best Foreign Film: Amour
Best Documentary: Bully
Best Animated Film: Frankenweenie