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I Confess...


In short: the 'Viewing Log' will henceforth be referred to as 'Key Films'
 

To quote the title of a Hitchcock classic: I confess!  I'm struggling to maintain pace with this whole 'viewing log' idea.  I watch too many films and often have nothing interesting to say about them.  I step over the fallen few, casually enough, hoping that no one will ever notice, but ultimately I know, in my heart at least, that the failure to acknowledge these stray titles represents an incredible betrayal of intent.  Initially, the idea was to offer a short commentary on everythingviewed, including television programmes, as a kind of personal record of the year, as it unfolds.  Since I was unable to surmise my initial reaction to a January episode of American Horror Story: Asylum (the episode in question was Spilt Milk), I made the inevitable decision to focus solely on films.  This was the first betrayal. 

Next, there was the sequel to 30 Days of Night (2007), subtitled Dark Days (2010), which I intentionally passed over because I didn't like the film at all.  I couldn't find anything positive to say about it, so I ditched it.  Maybe this wasn't so important, in theory; after all, it's a film that few people will ever seek out and even fewer will ever enjoy, but to me, it represented the second betrayal.  Next, I saw the first two films by João César Monteiro; Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen (1969) and He Who Awaits Dead Men's Shoes Dies Barefoot (1970).  I couldn't do justice to either, so deliberately left them off the list with the personal promise that I would eventually return to them, in a month or so (...I'm still holding myself to this pledge).  This was the third betrayal and really a sign of the indolence to come.


Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen [João César Monteiro, 1969]:
 

Since the end of February, I failed to comment on several films - Playback (2012), The Prophesy (1995), Safe (2012), The Beast Within (1982) and There's Something About Mary (1998) - essentially because I didn't like them.  I'm not a film critic and I'm not really that interested in "trashing" films.  My opinion is not that important and I would rather use my limited capacity to express in words an honest conviction to promote the films that I think are worthy of promotion, as opposed to denigrating movies that are perfectly well-made, simply because I didn't find them agreeable.  This is yet another reason why the 'viewing log' idea seems misguided.  I've never wanted to be a "film reviewer", but in discussing these films in such a casual, almost conversational approach, I'm edging dangerously close to that kind of terrain, and the realisation sickens me.  This is the ultimate betrayal. 

Last week's viewing log was especially difficult to complete.  I suspect it's because I was writing about a small handful of films that I didn't really love (in any meaningful way) and as such got the impression that I was making excuses (to myself more than anyone else).  I also think there was a general failure to get to the point I was trying to make.  For example, the film I mentioned by Hal Hartley - Meanwhile (2011) - is a minor masterpiece, but I don't think my writing conveyed that sentiment at all.  I'm generally well aware of how terrible my writing is (just glancing at the blog on an average day makes me cringe with embarrassment) but the last post in particular is possibly the worst thing I've ever published, maybe rivalled only by my awful attempt to write about Żuławski's debut, The Third Part of The Night (1971). 

Since I don't wish to abandon the blog completely, I feel it is necessary to reassess the parameters a little; to define what it is that I hope to achieve with this series, on-going or otherwise.  From this point on, the 'Viewing Log' will be re-titled 'Key Films' and will function primarily as a place to offer my thoughts and feelings on particular titles that I saw during the previous week, but only the films that are trulyworthy of such consideration.  This might mean fewer titles per-week, but at least I'll have more time to focus my thoughts and maybe post a few additional things besides.  It isunfortunate, as the idea of "logging" everything seen during course of a twelve month period greatly appeals to me, but if I'm going to contrive or engineer the list - dropping particular titles whenever I have nothing constructive to say - then it seems important to restate my intentions.

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Key Films #35

Wicked City[Yoshiaki Kawajiri, 1987]:
The representation of women in this film is contentious, to say the least.As with certain other films directed by Kawajiri, such as the analogous Demon City Shinjuku (1988), and perhaps his best known work, the violent and vivid samurai fantasy Ninja Scroll (1993), the female characters here tend to fall into two distinct types.Although strong-minded and independent enough in their own way, they exist, either as pawns to be placed in perilous situations that arise for no other reason than to facilitate an act of heroism from the archetypal male lead, or they become helpless victims that are subjected to lengthy and gratuitous scenes of sexual sadism and violent abuse.While the practicalities of this particular example might seem tame when compared to a more notorious title, like the infamous Urotsukidōji series (1987-1989), or even a live-action feature, such as the Takashi Miike directed Ichi the Killer (2001) - both of which seem to objectify sex…