For the past month, I’ve been thinking about my various blogging ventures and how to improve them. For Totally Pretentious, that has involved reconsidering how I engage with film in written form. After all, I can’t keep up with Hollywood’s production levels no matter how hard I try; that requires a full time commitment.
So I decided to concentrate my film discussions on two specific projects: the Retro Nostalgia feature (derived from my personal blog) and a new feature called Around the World. There will still be the occasional review of a film that doesn’t fit in either of these categories, but my primary focus outside of the podcast will be on these two projects. These changes will also be noted on my Patreon page, which you can support if these columns (or anything I do) interest(s) you.
So what are “Retro Nostalgia” and “Around the World”?
Retro Nostalgia (in its Totally Pretentious form) is a science fiction, fantasy, and supernatural horror review and discussion column wherein I pick and discuss a significant, interesting, or “good” sf/f/h film that was released 10/20/30/etc. years prior to a given week or month (a kind of “twenty years ago today, this cool flick stunned the world” thing). The years will usually go back by divisions of ten, but the divisions will be somewhat random (I may be forced on occasion to fiddle in order to find something worth discussing). I’ll explore two films a month in this feature.
Around the World is a totally new venture for me. Since I’ve developed a critical interest in film as a medium, one of my desires is to fill in my gaps. And there are a lot of gaps. My academic field isn’t film; it’s literature. That means I haven’t spent much time exploring film in its various forms. Around the World will partly resolve this by focusing on the feature length films of one director from each of the continents (minus Antarctica) during each cycle. The idea is to watch and discuss the ouevre of a wide range of directors both new and historical. The biweekly column will include reviews of specific films and essays about multiple films as a way of “understanding” a director’s development, themes, and so on (from my perspective).
For the first cycle, I’ve selected the following directors:
- North America — Abel Ferrara (United States)
- South America — Alejandro Jodorowsky (Chile)
- Australia / Indonesia — Nia Dinata (Indonesia)
- Asia — Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand)
- Africa — Ousmane Sembène (Senegal)
- Europe — Lone Scherfig (Denmark)
You may have heard of some of these directors; others may be new to you, as they are to me. I’ve picked a pretty odd bunch on purpose. These directors have explored everything from comedy to action flicks to straight genre fiction to magical realism to character dramas, etc. I expect that exploring their work will be a great deal of fun!
So there you have it. Starting next week, I’ll begin producing reviews and essays in fulfillment of these new columns. Expect shenanigans in the near future.
Note: I do have a few reviews of 2014 movies waiting to be dropped; expect those, too.