Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Immersion History

One of my best friends pointed out that I tend to "immerse" myself in subjects I'm interested in. My current obsession with Bob Dylan is probably the most obvious example but there are others.

It all started with my fascination with films. I wanted learn more about Weimar Cinema (that is, German cinema from 1918-1933). I decided to compile a list of films to watch, read three books while watching the films, and watched all the documentaries and commentaries. Most of the films I watched were by director Fritz Lang but there were others. Here's the list of films:

Spiders - The Golden Sea, 1919 (dir. Lang)
Spiders - The Diamond Ship, 1920 (dir. Lang)
The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, 1920 (dir. Wiene)
Nosferatu, 1922 (dir. Murnau)
The Last Laugh, 1925 (dir. Murnau)
Faust, 1926 (dir. Murnau)
Metropolis, 1927 (dir. Lang)
Spies, 1928, (dir. Lang)
Pandora's Box, 1929 (dir. Pabst)
M, 1931 (dir. Lang)
The Testament of Doctor Mabuse, 1933 (dir. Lang)
Triumph of Will, 1935 (dir. Riefenstahl)

I won't go into each one but I will tell you Nosferatu, Metropolis, and M are the must see films. Also worth seeing: The Last Laugh, Pandora's Box, and The Testament of Doctor Mabuse. My two personal favorite films are M (with Peter Lorre, one of my favorite actors, in his best role) and The Testament of Doctor Mabuse. I added these films to my collection.

I know, I know. Metropolis used to be one of my favorite films of all time, and it was on my top ten list for decades. For its innovation, beauty, and far reaching influence nothing beats Metropolis. Almost all modern science fiction films are directly influenced by Metropolis, most obviously Blade Runner, but I found M and The Testament of Doctor Mabuse to be far more compelling stories.

Triumph of Will is the notorious Nazi propaganda film which documents the 1934 Nuremberg Rally. Even with the subject matter, Leni Riefenstahl's film is considered groundbreaking, particularly in the area of cinematography.

After my review of German cinema I turned next to the films of Akira Kurosawa. This survey has taken me years to get through and I'm now at the very end of it with one more film to watch: Ran. I'll talk about Kurosawa in a separate post.

I've dabbled in other subjects without personally assigning them to immersion status such as my surveys of South Korean cinema and the Northern Renaissance. I realized I was selling myself short by making all this effort to get into these subjects but I wasn't writing about them and this is why I started this blog.

Thanks for reading.

No comments: