I had written a whole different kind of post for my last blog entry of the year. My holidays manifesto of sorts – shop mindfully; choose local artists, designers, makers; pay it forward; donate books to children; say thank you; be kind; stop running for presents and instead be present for your family; learn to shut off and just live. All these are things I truly believe in and which I try to have as guidelines every single day, not just for the season. But then I thought of one thing out of the box that I would really like to recommend and which I believe would matter, too: Watch better films.
Movies are important. Movies truly open minds and doors (I’ve taken the liberty to quote Mr. Scorsese). I was recently shocked of how many respectable publications recommend questionable and poor movies in their selections of best films of the year. And most of the films are, naturally, American. It is really sad when you realise that most newspapers and magazines have forgotten that their journalistic job is to inform the readers. Of course not all movies that don’t get the spotlight are good, just as not all big budget movies are bad, but the selection for the wide public is so narrow that this becomes unfortunately a much more complex problem. A couple of months ago when I wrote about my favourite films of the year (that far) and a reader thanked me, saying that it was really difficult to catch good movies in her area, especially foreign ones, but that she’d save them on a list for future reference, it made me glad, but also sad, because it struck me that so many people who love good films don’t get to watch them because nobody talks about them and nobody distributes them in cinemas properly.
So my sincere advice to everyone reading this is to make the effort and look for good worldwide films, to go to the cinema and see more under-the-radar films, to attend the small festivals organised in your town, to invest in a favourite film on DVD, not stream it online. It makes all the difference. And I would like to end by recommending something new. To my embarrassment, I only discovered Kelly Reichardt’s work earlier this year when I watched Certain Women (but I’ve started to catch up and have also seen Meek’s Cutoff in the meantime). Reichardt’s latest film is quiet yet powerful, a subtle yet effective portrayal of small-town America, coming from a true independent American filmmaker. There is nothing loud about this film, no big revelations, no solutions for everything. It’s about real life and ordinary people, about the importance of every single person crafting their own lives. I hope you’ll have the chance to see it.
I wish you a Merry Christmas! May your holidays be filled with laughter, good food, a good film and a good book, and the people that you love. Thank you for your readership, friendship, and for your kind words and support for the launch of my movie stories shop.
Related content: My Favourite Films of the Year (So Far) / Watch A Non-Christmas Christmas Movie This December / The Rocket
photo: film still from Certain Women | Film Science, Stage 6 Films