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Films Under Pressure

When you set yourself a challenge, it almost never goes to plan.

By Marianna MichaelPublished 6 years ago 4 min read

Sylvia Plath once said, “I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want." For me, there are still so many films I have yet to watch.

I had accidentally set myself up with a certain famed streaming account and decided to continue my free trial. But only when it was nearing its end, I had a sudden epiphany.

I decided to use my final week as a free-trial member to utilise their "prime video" section and decided to spend as much time as I could somewhat forcing myself to watch whatever I could get my hands on.

I wasn't paying, and thus I didn't care whether I consumed the film in its entirety, or if I had it on in the background whilst writing my work notes, painting my nails, or cooking dinner.

It was a liberating thought. Of course I could have done this with my very large DVD collection or any other way of consuming films, but in a society where "fear of missing out" and "too-much-choice" faces us daily, it can come to such instances, such as the final days of a free trial, for us to set up such a tempting challenge.

To no surprise, it began to get tiring, and films began to lack the spark they did for me so often. So should one watch all the Oscar winning films, the one on the bucket list, or the ones you’ve never heard of just because you have the chance?

Yes and no.

These societal pressures become infuriating and almost unavoidable, so I decided to watch an amalgamation of many factors—from Oscar winners to films that I’d never heard of because it didn’t matter if I could only sit through five minutes.

This is what I watched:

'Paterson' (2016) Jim Jarmusch

Recommended to me by family friends, Paterson was charming, simple, poetic and sweet.

"I breathe poetry.”

Poetry decorates everything around him as we follow Paterson (Adam Driver) for a single week. It is a film made up of moments.

Is Jarmusch metamorphosed as Paterson? Perhaps. Regardless, it becomes inconsequential as Driver delivers a beautiful performance nevertheless. Similarly, is the filmic formula something like a poem? Conceivably, it could be seen as free-verse and maybe that's an obtuse statement. Nevertheless, there is a flow, there is art in various forms and a story to draw you in.

'After Love' (2016) Joachim Lafosse

This was the film I was most excited to watch and it certainly delivered. After fifteen years together, Marie (Bérénice Bejo) and Boris (Cédric Kahn) are getting divorced. Children are in the mix, alongside family and financial ties, friends and emotions. It’s aesthetically pleasing with clean and beautiful interiors and shot by cinematographer Jean-François Hensgens. The film is honest, somewhat austere, and a non-cliche tale played beautifully.

'The Bling Ring' (2013) Sofia Coppola

Based on the true events that surrounded The Bling Ring burglaries, Sofia Coppola and the late Harris Savides, (completed work by Christopher Blauvelt), beautifully explore the events that took place through dramatisation.

Though once considered a possible glorification film, Coppola doesn't stand by the side of any party. It is an intimate, carefree, authentic, and fun film that manages to remain moral.

It does become difficult to tell whether it is the story itself that is more compelling than film itself. It is thought that a documentary would have suited this story better. Equally, the screenplay could have been created in a way that would have taken this story in a different direction as other true stories have done in translation to film. Nevertheless, like Coppola's distinctive style, The Bling Ring joins her own aesthetic.

'Heart of Winter' (Au Coeur de L'Hiver) (2012) Isabelle Favez

The seasons change, as do the creatures in the forest. Short, sweet, and animated, this film adds to Favez's growing portfolio of simple animated tales for the whole family.

"The film follows five forest dwellers on their search for food for the winter and shows how they survive the cold season. The surprises are in store for them in spring."

'Amelie' (2001) Jean-Pierre Jeunet

This whimsical film has become a cult classic of French cinema, and for good reason. Whether you’re watching it as a cinefile, lover of foreign film, or as an intrigued movie-watcher, it’s worth it. Visually, it’s stunning and perhaps that’s it’s strongest suit, as parts of the screenplay feel futile. Nevertheless, it’s theatrical, fun, strong, and charming.

'Ray Donovan (TV Series 2013– ) Ann Biderman

I did find myself dipping my toes into crime drama series Ray Donovan and did make it through to the second episode of season two. This binge was certainly worthwhile and my main reasons for leaving it where I did were not down to the expiry of my free-trial. Season one is highly compelling, powerful in it’s characters and storytelling, and with the right amount of ambiguity. By season two, for me, it had become too heavy. And though used to such heavy dramas, watching it in such a short space of time alongside a multitude of other varying TV shows and films, I had to leave this series here.

If you’re after something that has well thought out characters entangled in thought-proving scenarios, Ray Donovan is a series to at least attempt.


About the Creator

Marianna Michael

Fashion-Writer, screenwriting, Art-Directing, daydreaming and Caffeine-consuming.

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