January 01, 2012

Cinema 2011: Looking Back at my Cinema Experience of the Year

It was the year when I finally watched ‘Gone with the Wind’, ‘Ben-Hur’, and ‘Once Upon a Time in America’ – movies that are definite milestones in the career of a movie-buff. Keeping up with 2009, and 2010, I watched close to 240 good films. But I will remember 2011 as the year that took this romance to new, complicated, levels. Studying cinema, writing screenplays, making short films, and most importantly – sharing perspectives and passion with young and fresh cinephiles, it seems to be the beginning of crazy times ahead. Also, for the first time I feel myself updated with the current happenings of International Cinema. As the critics are coming up with the lists of the bests of the year, I have heard of most and watched many.

Following are the highlights of the year:

• Finishing the filmography of Andrei Tarkovsky and the Coen Brothers, and also, barring one avoidable film each of, Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch: While Kubrick surely remains my favourite English-language filmmaker, and the Coen Brothers and David Lynch among the modern favourites, Tarkovsky has been the most difficult filmmaker to watch. It is easy to acknowledge him as a rare artist, but watching his movies is tough. I plan to study him further in 2012, and re-watch all seven of his feature films, hoping to appreciate him better.

• Scoring high with other masters: As on date I have watched 19 Hitchcock films, including all major ones. Other high scores are: Kurosawa’s 14, Bunuel’s 13, Bergman’s 12, Scorsese’s 12, Fellini’s 11, and Spielberg’s 11. Top it with Satyajit Ray’s 18. I now find myself more interested in their filmographies than individual films.

• Understanding the brilliance of Billy Wilder, Terrence Malick, Abbas Kiarostami, and Lars Von Trier: Earlier I had just watched one or two of their features. Today they are among my all-time favourites.

• New Discoveries: Most impressive have been Buster Keaton, David Cronenberg, the Dardenne Brothers, and Ang Lee. Also watched one-two films each of Fatih Akin, Mani Kaul, Werner Herzog, Jacques Tati, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Pier Paolo Passolini, Emir Kusturica, and Roberto Rossellini. Need to watch more of them.

• Continuing with exploring the films of Roman Polanski, Michelangelo Antonioni, Bernardo Bertolucci, John Huston, Yasujiro Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi, Woody Allen, and Ken Loach.

• Big Screen Re-watch: ‘Seven Samurai’, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, ‘Schindler’s List’, and ‘GoodFellas’.

• Studying ‘Citizen Kane’. Also, ‘Vertigo’, ‘Bicycle Thieves’, ‘Pather Panchali’, ‘Breathless’, and ‘Pulp Fiction’.

• The film book of the year was ‘Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics’ by Michael Rabiger.

2012 promises to be extremely hectic on the work front. I also want to devote more time to teaching. But watching and studying cinema will remain my first love. As the first day of the year storms in and the world is going mad with celebrations, I’m confused over one big problem: which movie to start the year with?


  1. Dear Satyanshu Sir,

    Eventually, movie buffs do had the same questions in front of them. It is really unavoidable to stay away from any movies of legendary directors like Fellini, Tarkovsky. Recently, I'm also get engaged and going on with global cinema. watched some of great movies of fellini. But, there is a special feature in my recent experience that somehow i get introduced with "Israeli Cinema" and makers like Amos Gitai, David Volach, Asghar Farhidi, Baruch Aghadati etc. They all are genious in their own. But the biggest problem i have in this way is that i cannot avoid watching their movies. All on all i do have downloaded some movies of theirs and watched too at same time. But, faced quite problem in finding perfect source to get each and everyone. Otherwise, Israeli cinema, is truly a gem in world of cinema..


  2. Hi Umesh. Unfortunately I'm yet to discover cinema of Israel. The closest I've come is watching 'Waltz with Bashir' and the Palestinian film 'Paradise Now'.

    After reading your comment I did some Wikisearch. Films from Israel have been nominated for the Foreign Language Oscars nine times, which is more than all countries except France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Japan. This is quite an achievement!

  3. Sir,
    Actually, i was completely un-awared of the same fact and every kind of achievement of israeli cinema till the date i got addicted to its extraordinary magic. Truly, they are blessed peoples. I would , probably, humbly request you to please make sure watch some AMOS GITAI and ASGHAR FARHIDI. And then, we will surely have quality talk on this.
    Thanks for comprehending me little bit...

  4. Sir, Please...i Just can't stop myself telling you about two or three good movies in this language. They are KADOSH & LULLABY TO MY FATHER by AMOS GITAI and A SEPERATION & FIREWORKS WEDNESDAY by ASGHAR FARHADI.