Film discovery of the year:
- In 2017 I got to see many great films of yesteryear but my major "discovery" over the last 12 months would have to be Bill Forsyth's 1987 feature Housekeeping.
- From a viewing standpoint the 52 films by women challenge was undoubtedly my most worthwhile undertaking of the year. I made some great discoveries and realised more than ever before that the disproportionately low amount of films directed by women is one of cinema history's biggest failings. The viewing challenge would sadly take on an added relevance as numerous allegations of discrimination and harassment towards women within the film industry was unquestionably the major talking point in the world of film this year.
- 2017 Leeds International Film Festival, 1st-16th November
- John Ford's criminally underrated 1961 western Two Rode Together got a fabulous dual format release by Eureka/Masters of Cinema in March. Casually dismissed by Ford himself, I feel this has long been unfairly overshadowed by his similarly themed (and wildly overrated) earlier western The Searchers (1956) but hopefully the film is slowly getting some of the appreciation it deserves.
-Best filmgoing experience: Peppermint Soda at Hyde Park Picturehouse (19/9/17).
- After many delays and setbacks, Shin Godzilla finally got a UK release.
- News that Guillermo del Toro is working on a documentary about Michael Mann.
- 'The Cotton Club Encore', a longer cut of Francis Ford Coppola's 1984 gangster musical was shown at the Telluride Film Festival in September. I'm interested in seeing this as it sounds like the additional footage is fairly significant and could greatly improve a very flawed work.
- In October I attended a screening of Suspiria at the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford. This was the restored 4K version and it looked as glorious as ever.
- 'We Are the Martians: The Legacy of Nigel Kneale', edited by Neil Snowden.
http://www.pspublishing.co.uk/blog/2017/01/13/we-are-the-martians-the-legacy-of-nigel-kneale/ A collection of articles, essays and reviews on the writer and his work.
- Isabelle Huppert's Best Actress Oscar nomination for Elle.
- Jacques Becker was the subject of a BFI season in March. A director I've long admired based on the few available works I've been able to see. In the UK other works have been granted exposure, notably with home video releases of Edward and Caroline and Montparnasse 19.
- Edward Yang's Taipei Story has been restored and made available as part of 'Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project No. 2'.
- A rare early short film by Jean-Luc Godard, 'Une Femme Coquette' surfaced earlier this year having been thought to be lost and was made available on YouTube and vimeo.
- News emerged that Netflix is said to be restoring and releasing Orson Welles's unfinished final film 'The Other Side of the Wind'. It should be available to watch in 2018. Fingers crossed.
- Speaking of Welles, the New York Times reported that numerous writings and materials by the great man are to be archived by the University of Michigan.
- 'Stephen King on the Big Screen': A BFI season of film adaptations of King's work coincided with cinema releases of The Dark Tower and It in September. I was pleased to read that King named William Friedkin's Sorcerer as his favourite film when asked by the BFI to name some personal favourites.
- A mubi notebook piece on James Whale's little-seen final film Hello Out There.
- Notable viewings:
Who Am I This Time? (1982, Jonathan Demme) - I watched this shortly after Demme's death earlier this year and it was a fitting tribute.
A Great Day in the Morning (1956, Jacques Tourneur) - I've wanted to see this for years and was fortunate to catch a rare showing of this on BBC 2. It was every bit as great as I'd expected.
- Favourite DVDs/Blu-Rays:
Raising Cain (Arrow), Mildred Pierce (Criterion), Othello (Criterion), Destiny (Eureka), Eight Hours Don't Make a Day (Arrow), The Man Between (Studio Canal), Spotlight on a Murderer (Arrow), The Informer (BFI), Fat City (Indicator), One-Eyed Jacks (Arrow), Sorcerer (Entertainment One), Madame de... (BFI), The Life of Oharu (Criterion), Psycho II (Arrow), The Wages of Fear (BFI), The Saga of Anatahan (Eureka/Masters of Cinema), Peppermint Soda (BFI)