Following are the highlights of the year:
• Finishing the filmography of Andrei Tarkovsky and the Coen Brothers, and also, barring one avoidable film each of, Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch: While Kubrick surely remains my favourite English-language filmmaker, and the Coen Brothers and David Lynch among the modern favourites, Tarkovsky has been the most difficult filmmaker to watch. It is easy to acknowledge him as a rare artist, but watching his movies is tough. I plan to study him further in 2012, and re-watch all seven of his feature films, hoping to appreciate him better.
• Scoring high with other masters: As on date I have watched 19 Hitchcock films, including all major ones. Other high scores are: Kurosawa’s 14, Bunuel’s 13, Bergman’s 12, Scorsese’s 12, Fellini’s 11, and Spielberg’s 11. Top it with Satyajit Ray’s 18. I now find myself more interested in their filmographies than individual films.
• Understanding the brilliance of Billy Wilder, Terrence Malick, Abbas Kiarostami, and Lars Von Trier: Earlier I had just watched one or two of their features. Today they are among my all-time favourites.
• New Discoveries: Most impressive have been Buster Keaton, David Cronenberg, the Dardenne Brothers, and Ang Lee. Also watched one-two films each of Fatih Akin, Mani Kaul, Werner Herzog, Jacques Tati, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Pier Paolo Passolini, Emir Kusturica, and Roberto Rossellini. Need to watch more of them.
• Continuing with exploring the films of Roman Polanski, Michelangelo Antonioni, Bernardo Bertolucci, John Huston, Yasujiro Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi, Woody Allen, and Ken Loach.
• Big Screen Re-watch: ‘Seven Samurai’, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, ‘Schindler’s List’, and ‘GoodFellas’.
• Studying ‘Citizen Kane’. Also, ‘Vertigo’, ‘Bicycle Thieves’, ‘Pather Panchali’, ‘Breathless’, and ‘Pulp Fiction’.
• The film book of the year was ‘Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics’ by Michael Rabiger.
2012 promises to be extremely hectic on the work front. I also want to devote more time to teaching. But watching and studying cinema will remain my first love. As the first day of the year storms in and the world is going mad with celebrations, I’m confused over one big problem: which movie to start the year with?