Sunday 15 December 2013

The End of the Penciltonian

Well, that was The Penciltonian.  A hundred films from a hundred years, 1913-2013 - and a few besides.  There were a number of other criteria I ventured for those wishing to play along at home, and of these I believe I also managed a film from each letter of the alphabet.

The viewing and the blogging have encompassed:
130 films in total
25 British films
54 American films
16 German films
7 French films
19 silent films
28 crime films
28 comedy films
14 horror films
21 films about war
7 films about revolution, which I found to be the most interesting through-line

I failed in my attempt to watch a film from each continent - I only managed a couple from the whole of Asia, and neglected to watch any at all from Africa, South America, Antarctica or The Moon, so I certainly can't claim to have encompassed anything beyond Western, Minority-World cinema.  African cinema, in particular, sounds to be artistically and philosophically different from the sorts of things I ended up watching, and its absence is probably the single greatest deficiency in this Penciltonian project.  I also managed to find terribly few films by female directors, yet must have watched half a dozen with entirely male casts.

The 1920s and the 1940s seemed much the most enjoyable decades, with almost all their films garnering great praise, but I thought the 1910s were a bit rubbish, perhaps because of their lack of later cinematic techniques - I've ventured elsewhere that the decade's lack of close-ups left the performances feeling rather distant, meaning the actors were only able to convey rather crude emotions, lacking nuance.

I expect there will be a handful of additional updates to The Penciltonian, though on a less regular basis.  Wherever I see something startling, or unfairly neglected, I'll try to make mention of it.  But I won't renew a commitment to a century in a year, or two films a week - the costs in time and funds were too high.

I guess I'd hoped I could sum up more victoriously, and tell tales of a project completed, which had led to some great, personal revelation, some spiritual refreshment, or revitalisation of character.  I have watched a hundred films - a goal any of you could achieve inside two months.  It's not especially impressive, only a tribute to obsessive list-making, and to materialism.  My main achievement here was to sit on my ass all year watching movies, which really oughtn't to be something to shout about.

The End.


  1. What happened to 1939?

    You seem quite hard on yourself at the end. I think it *is* impressive. I feel it's the kind of project that people might think about, but few would actually complete.. and even fewer would complete in so entertaining a fashion.

    1. You're the only person to enquire after the fate of 1939, so I must congratulate you on your powers of observation.

      Anyway, I said I would watch a hundred films from a hundred different years between 1913 to 2013, but then realised there were *a hundred and one* years from 1913 to 2013, so I could afford to skip one and still achieve the goal I'd announced. And so that's just what happened!