So it is the first day of 2016, which means we’ve bid adieu to 2015. For me, that means I’ve completed A Year With Women. During the entire year of 2015, all the films I watched – from new releases, new-to-me, and re-watches – were directed or co-directed by women, with the exception of the TCM Classic Film Festival (it was impossible!) and Noirvember (all films watched had female writers). Normally, I would write this post and talk about a few films I really loved from the year and maybe a theme I noticed in my viewing habits. This year that theme is pretty obvious: women! I’ve kept pretty good notes, so after the cut I’m going to go through the year, both in terms of what I watched, as well as the big news stories related to female directors in 2015. I’m also going to talk a bit about my favorite new-to-me film of the year, because some traditions must stand!
What a year this was! I’m going to write a proper wrap up post for A Year With Women later today; this post is just to wrap up December. I crammed quite a few films into December as I saw the calendar days getting less and less, which led to quite some great discoveries, as well as viewing several films I’d been meaning to watch for years. As always, a list of everything I watched, plus some highlighted favorites can be found after the cut.
Sotnikov: Now I understand. I understand. The important thing is to be true to yourself.
As you probably remember, I spent 2015 only watching films directed by women (save for Noirvember, where I watched films that were written by women), and although I still have one new-to-me film I’m going to watch this afternoon, it’s time to post my favorite 2015 releases. Last year I watched 67 “new” releases; this year I watched 66 (and I missed/skipped a few films). People talk a lot about the small number of female directors working today, but the key thing is that they are working and we can support them. I live in Los Angeles, so I was able to see a lot of films that I know don’t make it to other markets, but I also watched a lot of these new releases on VOD – and that’s something you can do anywhere in the USA. I urge everyone to take up Women In Film – Los Angeles’ #52FilmsByWomen challenge in 2016 and put their money where their mouth is! That said, you can see all 66 new films I watched here and tomorrow I will be posting both an end-of-the-month wrap up for December and an end of the year post, so look out for those! And now, without further ado, here are my Favorite Fifteen Films of 2015!
Grandmother: Listen. I don’t like to preach, but here’s some advice. You’ll meet a lot of jerks in life. If they hurt you, remember it’s because they’re stupid. Don’t react to their cruelty. There’s nothing worse than bitterness and revenge. Keep your dignity and be true to yourself.
Heinrich: Is something wrong?
Anna: We don’t love each other.
Heinrich: I feel like I’ve known you forever.
Anna: But that’s not true.
François: I’m different since I met you. On the contrary, I’m even more myself.
Tim: Well, you know, the thing about the brain, or I should say, the conscious brain, is that all you can do is scan things from left to right, absorbing information in these long, continuous sequences, which is why it takes so long to get educated. But the unconscious . . .the unconscious is a completely different story. It’s a whole different level of learning. Because words have no intrinsic meaning, they’re just pointers, you know?
Tim: We see this, we see that. . .What is this? This is a fucking table. Well, who says it’s a fucking table? But I’ve named it, and separated it out from everything else and Bob’s your uncle, right? But that’s not how kids see it, or animals. How do you drown out all the noise and the static, and just simply look at what’s actually there? And the thing that I’m grappling with is how much we’re missing by. . .by just focusing on the most obvious linear input stream.
Laurie Anderson: That was where she learned the great skill of empathy and also where she learned what our meditation teacher keeps telling us. He says, “You should try to learn how to feel sad without being sad.” Which is actually really hard to do.
Ruth Barron: Be kind? So what? You don’t think I’m kind.
PJ Waters: *Shakes head no*
Ruth Barron: Oh, God. Now I feel sick. Why didn’t you just write “cruel”?
PJ Waters: Hey, come on.
Ruth Barron: No, you’re right. Be kind. . .that’s the whole point. Thank you. I’m very grateful. That is it, isn’t it? The only thing. The Dalai Lama said it. . .kindness. Do you know what I’m really scared of?
PJ Waters: What?
Ruth Barron: Don’t tell anyone.
PJ Waters: No.
Ruth Barron: Despite all my strong feelings, I’m heartless.