Saturday, 2 February 2008

Newspaper freebies strike again.

Picked up a copy of the Grauniad today for it's free copy of Battleship Potemkin.

I was amazed at how well a silent film could grip me for over an hour. The camerawork was incredible.

But then it struck me how similar the Soviet propaganda was to the God-Bless-Amerrrka tubthumping that I was trying to avoid.


Sunday, 20 January 2008

Hollywood can wait!

I've got an odd habit: every January I start thinking about New Year's Resolutions about 2 or 3 weeks into the year.

This year, I've decided to revisit the plan I had when I first bought a DVD player in the January sales. What finally convinced me to join the 21st century was signing up with the Open University.  Although they weren't issuing DVDs at the time, I assessed my language skills with their self-assessment materials prior to signing up for a Modern Language Studies degree.  My French listening skills were far behind my reading and writing, so I needed to start listening to more French. How? All the foreign language films had disappeared from BBC2 and Channel 4 and migrated onto the digital channels. OK, time for a DVD player.  At the time I resolved not to own any English language DVDs (unless the English was an alternative soundtrack), a resolution I was forced to break when my brother bought me the excellent Dr. Strangelove.  I still avoided Hollywood wherever I could.  Most of my purchases were still either in foreign languages or bought as newspaper freebies.

Having spent several months working in the Basque Country it has started to dawn on me just how narrow a cultural view is being presented in the mainstream/mass-market media and I want to move away from that.  Even though the vast majority of my DVD collection is foreign or independent, I still watch more Hollywood material than any other due to the amount it's shown on television.

So I plan to cancel my cable subscription and spend time engaged activities that will expand my world view: reading, studying, writing, watching independent and foreign films and going out more.

I'll use this blog to review and recommend good material I come across during this time, and to reflect on the issues raised in some of the material.