Thursday 24 January 2013

Join in at home: ways to play along

Now, I don't expect y'all to watch a hundred films ancient and modern, but I can't help feeling this blog should be a slightly more interactive affair - that there should be ways for you to join in at home, do some film-watching-shaped activities and claim some victories.

The best games have multiple victory conditions, and I believe there are ways to prosper in this film-watching project other than consuming as many films as I'm currently attempting (1,100,100 films, if you count in binary).  Therefore, I've prepared the following *achievements*.  See how many you can unlock (by which I mean achieve).  If you get them all, you can perm some skills, whatever that means.  Oh, give it a go, senors and senoritas.


1. Watch ten films from different decades.
This one is actually way easy, and anyone can do it if they have access to a library or BBC iPlayer.  One film per decade from the 1920s to the 2010s.  'The Wizard of Oz' was out in 1939, so if you're averse to monochrome you only have the 20s to worry about on that count - and if you despise silent films, you could avoid them entirely by keeping to the back end of that fine decade.

2. Watch a film beginning with each letter of the alphabet
I suspect I'll end up achieving this one myself without meaning to.  There are only a small number of tricky letters, and I'll see if I can make them less daunting.  Z, as in 'A Zed and Two Noughts' (1985), 'Die Zweite Heimat' (1992) or 'Zoolander' (2001).  X, as in 'Xanadu' (1980 - but it's on Wikipedia's list of 'films considered the worst ever), 'X2' (2003), or more tenuously any film starting with 'cross' or 'trans'.  Y, as in 'You Only Live Twice' (1967), 'Yellow Submarine' (1968) or 'The Young Victoria' (2009).  I'll also venture 'K', as it's my least favourite letter in the Western alphabet - but any film starting with 'King' or 'Kangaroo' will suit you here.

3. Watch ten per cent of the films I watch for this blog
Currently that only requires you to watch two films, and it isn't a number that will suddenly escalate.  Bonus points if you watch ones you hadn't heard of prior to 2003.  And make that twenty per cent, not ten per cent, if you work part-time or not at all.


4. Watch ten foreign-language films from different decades.
The whole Penciltonian thing, watching a hundred films from a hundred years, etcetera is, as well as an excuse to watch more films, a chance to look at a hundred years of human culture.  Foreign-language films are very important to this.  I used to find them daunting, but I was shown 'Amélie' (2001), and discovered they were very easy to watch - the same as English-language films, but fascinatingly different.

5. Watch a film from each continent
And that includes Antarctica.  And the Indian subcontinent.  And if you can see your way to include The Moon, so much the better.  And it doesn't count if it's just about English folks going out and being merry in such-and-such a country - these should be films conceived and made within the continent concerned.

6. Pick a genre, watch eight films from it, from different decades
This one's pretty easy, and potentially interesting.  See how the musical, or the Western, or the swashbuckle, or the horror developed.  I'm inclined to disallow sci-fi here as it's so excessively broad and ubiquitous.  I've limited this to eight films, as you might otherwise find yourself forced to watch a terrible film because it's a decade's sole example of whatever genre you've happened to pick.  It's a vague one, so feel free to write in with a better idea for achievement six.


7. Watch 10 different films in the same language, other than your own.
I suspect I'll find little difficulty fitting ten German films into my hundred-or-so.  If I can get one per decade, so much the better.

8. Watch 'Die Zweite Heimat' (1992)
This is the film I love the best, but it's also the length of any 13 other films, so it's an investment of time.  Very well worth it.  I like to think its duration isn't the sole reason I rate it so highly, but you won't be sure until you've seen some or all of it.  Truly, I think this is one of the best bits of art to come from the 20th Century.

9. Make your own film
Any quality or duration, collating and synthesising some of the things you've learnt from film-watching.  I intend to do this, and I fully expect it to be embarrassingly identical to films I made before this whole hundred-film adventure, proving I haven't really learnt anything.

Bonus easy and difficult achievement to unlock:

10a. Make and eat some pancakes.
My pancake recipe will appear on this blog shortly before Pancake Day.  This may not seem relevant to films, but pancakes are, in fact, very important, and they're in season.

10b. Eat a live porcupine.
Because it's good to have something to strive for, and nobody should be able to unlock every achievement or achieve every lock.

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