Essential reading alert: Jim Emerson (of course) of the fantastic and...oh what's the point...you all know by now. Just head over to Scanners where Jim has posted an interesting question regarding why me may not see all of the "essential" or "classic" films (I added the quotation marks) we may desire to, or perhaps that we had the desire to seek out in our younger days. It's an interesting question and one I felt compelled to respond to in his comments section. The gist of the comment: I think the oversaturation of the marker (i.e. Netflix Instant View) is both a blessing and a curse. Too many choices leads to stagnation for me in regards to watching essential films from world cinema. In fact...it's got me thinking about dumping this whole blogging business, which I also think contributes to the lack of movie watching I do, as ironic as that sounds, because I'm too concerned with watching movies solely for the purpose of the blog where I hope to have something new to say about the movie...that becomes a problem when one tries discussing Bergman or Ozu or Dreyer...what is there left to say about those giants of cinema? It's a dilemma that often weighs on me, and the task of writing about them is so daunting that it almost turns me off of wanting to see their films. Where in the past I would have simply just gone down to the local library and grabbed seven or eight classic films from world cinema and drank them all in over the span of a week.
Don't get me wrong, I love the blogosphere and the dialogue surrounding contemporary films that can be found within it (I don't know what I do without Jim's superlative essays on No Country for Old Men or Keith Ulrich's insightful look into Miami Vice), but I also wonder if my hobby of blog writing has been dictating what kinds of movies I watch, neutering my film growth in the process? Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of stuff to be learned about contemporary cinema and American cinema...but I do feel like my knowledge of world cinema has fallen by the wayside.
One glance at Tim Brayton's amazing Top 100 films of the decade list and I'm rushing to Netflix to add a ton of titles from other countries. I wish I didn't have to do that, I wish I had already seen those films. I know that geography has something to do with it -- being in Salem, OR isn't exactly the heartland for world cinema -- but really I'm only 40 minutes away from Portland, which has some pretty good options for non-mainstream/non-American film.