Thursday, January 2, 2014

A by-the-numbers look at my 2013 movie viewing year

I rate as 8.5 or above on the scale -- has his 
pose adjusted by a cameraman at a photography session

One of the stars of a number of American and animated movies
I viewed in 2013 makes an appearance in Hong Kong! ;)

Can you believe we're already two days into 2014?  In any case, it's that time of the year where I take a by-the-numbers look (back) at my 2013 viewing year.  And for those who are interested, here are my equivalent blogs for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012!

And for the record: yes, quite a few of the 2013 statistics -- including the total number of films I viewed, as well as the total number of American movies I checked out this year -- are significantly different from the previous years.  And should anyone wonder, this has to do more with the nature of the job I now have -- rather than my personal preferences... ;S

0 -- The number of times in 2013 that I viewed Peking Opera Blues, the Hong Kong film that I'd nonetheless maintain is my favorite movie of all time 

1 -- The number of truly silent films I viewed last year (1957 Hong Kong-South Korea co-production Love with An Alien's original sound file is lost) 

6 - The number of animated films I viewed last year 

8 -- The number of films I viewed for the first time in 2013 that I viewed on home video  

11 - The number of movies I viewed at preview screenings in 2013 that will only open in Hong Kong cinemas in 2014 

12 -- The number of black and white films I viewed last year

13 - The number of documentary films I viewed in 2013 (including Hong Kong's One Tree, Three Lives (about Chinese-American poet Hualing Nie Engle), My Way (which focuses on two young men who want to play female roles in Cantonese opera) and Sunless Days (made in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square Massacre))

15 -- The number of films I viewed at the 2013 Hong Kong International Film Festival
17 -- The number of 3-D films I viewed -- not always willingly! -- last year

25 -- The number of Japanese films I viewed for the first time in 2013

26 -- The number of non-documentary films about real-life individuals that I viewed in 2013 (including Russia's Legend No. 17, about ice hockey legend Valeri Kharmalov, Japan's Dawn of a Filmmaker: The Keisuke Kinoshita Story, and the Anglo-American The Look of Love, about Soho porn baron Paul Raymond) 

32 -- The number of different territories whose films I viewed last year (And for the record, they are, in alphabetical order: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Mainland China, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the USA, the USSR)

39 -- The number of films I viewed for the first time last year that I'd give an 8.5 or higher rating to on the scale (And for the record, they are: A Legend or Was It? (Japan, 2012), Barbara (Germany, 2012), Blind Detective (Hong Kong, 2013), Cloud Atlas (USA, 2012), Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (USA, 2011), Ender's Game (USA, 2013), English Vinglish (India, 2012), Ernest and Celestine (France-Belgium, 2012), Farewell to Dream (Japan, 1956), The Gate of Heavenly Peace (USA, 1995), Gilsotteum (South Korea, 1985), Gravity (USA, 2013), The Great Passage (Japan, 2013), Hap Ki Do (Hong Kong, 1972), The Hunt (Denmark, 2012), Ilo Ilo (Singapore, 2013), Ip Man - The Final Fight (Hong Kong, 2013), Lawrence of Arabia (Britain, 1962), Like Father, Like Son (Japan, 2013),  Lincoln (USA, 2012), Lost in Thailand (Mainland China, 2012), Man of Steel (USA, 2013), Man with a Movie Camera (USSR, 1929) Miracle in Cell No. 7 (South Korea, 2013), Nobody's Child (Hong Kong, 1960), Searching for Sugar Man (Sweden-Britain, 2012), The Reluctant Fundamentalist (USA-Britain-Qatar, 2013), Rush (USA, 2013), The Sapphires (Australia, 2012), Summer Snow (Hong Kong, 1995), Tales from the Dark (Part 1) (Hong Kong, 2013), Tokyo Story (Japan, 1953), Tokyo Twilight (Japan, 1957), Unbeatable (Hong Kong, 2013), Venus in Fur (France-Poland, 2013), Warm Bodies (USA, 2013), The Way of the Dragon (Hong Kong, 1972), The Way We Dance (Hong Kong, 2013), and Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (Hong Kong, 2013))

51 -- The number of Hong Kong films I viewed for the first time last year

75 -- The number of films from the USA that I viewed for the first time last year 

120  -- The number of films that were first released in 2013 that I viewed in 2013

160 -- The number of non-Hong Kong films I viewed for the first time in 2013

211 -- The number of feature films I viewed for the first time last year

1929 -- The original year of release of Man with a Movie Camera, the oldest film I viewed last year

1951 -- The original year of release of Mysterious Murderer (Parts 1 and 2), the oldest Hong Kong films I viewed in 2013


Goodbye HK, Hello YVR said...

HI YTSL -- Wow that's a lot of numbers! And you keep some interesting statistics! Are you sure you're not some closet accountant?!

Samson said...


Nice list. Looking forward to the top-10 list! : D Just 3 questions please:

1) Regarding the number of different territories whose films you viewed last year, shouldn't it be 32? (I see that Australia was not included.)

2) Regarding the BRNS scale, the link takes me to the website but I can't seem to find the scale. Is there a direct link to the scale?

3) Regarding Summer Snow, did you see it on DVD? It does not seem to be available at any actual or on-line shops in or outside of HK, and so I am very curious to find out if you got to see it because of "the nature of the job I (you) now have"! : )

YTSL said...

Hi The Fragrant Harbour --

Trust me, I'm not an accountant -- closet or otherwise! Note that I had to correct one stat after Samson pointed out my mistake below!

Hi Samson --

1) You're right - and have duly made the correction!

2) Re the scale -- check the top of the linked page below:-

3) Don't scream but I had the good fortune to see "Summer Snow" on a big screen at the Hong Kong Film Archive as part of its 100 Must See Hong Kong Movies programme -- and for the record, it was for fun rather than work!! ;)

Brian Naas said...

Over 200 films. I am amazed your head hasn't exploded. Or you haven't gone blind. Or grown a second rear-end. Still there are worse jobs. Lots of them. In fact, almost all of them.

Samson said...

YTSL, thanks for the link to the BRNS Scale.

And AAHHHHH!!!!! I am SO jealous that you got to see Summer Snow on the big screen.

And judging by the fact that you haven't seen the Lan Kwai Fong films, I am guessing they are actually not part of the 100 Must See Hong Kong Movies programme?! ; D

YTSL said...

Hi Brian --

Another stat: my average is 4 films a week. And re there being worse jobs: I know but it's all not roses or great movies -- maybe next year, I'll include a stat of movies I've viewed in 2014 that I'd rate as a 5 or lower on the scale for people to see!

Hi again Samson --

Even better than watching "Summer Snow" on a big screen -- especially if you're a fan of Josephine Siao -- is watching "Nobody's Child"... ;)

alejna said...

Happy New Year! As ever, I am impressed by how many movies you see! It's interesting to read the breakdowns. So glad that you had such a good proportion of good movies in that total you watched.

And as ever, I'm realizing that I don't see a lot of movies! And especially not a lot of new movies. We have been watching movies at home more often this year, but they (unsurprisingly) tend to be weighted more to the kid-appropriate movies.

Hope that this year sees an increase in viewings of Peking Opera Blues over last year!

Bill said...


I agree with the other comments here - it an impressive number of films you've seen. Seeing all these films would be an endurance test for most of us, especially seeing all those 3D films. Viewing Gravity made me nauseous, dizzy and left me with a three day migraine (I think they might be filming these at a faster FPS).

The late New York film critic Andrew Sarris was known for seeing an incredible number of films.
Before it's over, you may be in class with him as a certified cinephile.


YTSL said...

Hi Alejna --

How many films do you think you watch a year? Also, when you say new films, you mean films released in 2013 or films you were viewing for the first time in 2013?

Given a choice, I have to admit to not only preferring to view fewer films in a year but also more films that aren't from just the years 2012 and 2013. For while I wouldn't say unequivocally that old is better, there really are a lot of classic films that I've yet to check out and want to some day!

Hi Bill --

Wow re your reaction to viewing "Gravity". I have to say that that film I got the chance to choose to watch in 2-D -- and yes, when given the choice, I prefer to watch a film in 2-D rather than 3-D pretty much every time!

alejna said...

"Also, when you say new films, you mean films released in 2013 or films you were viewing for the first time in 2013?" I probably meant mostly the latter, but the former applies as well. I think I may watch an average of a movie a week (we often have a movie night at home with the family on a weekend night, and occasionally John and I will watch something not kid-appropriate after the kids go to bed). As for 2013 movies I've seen, the only one that comes to mind was "Frozen," but I feel like there must have been at least one other movie seen in the theater. Oh, right, "Despicable Me 2." I was pretty disappointed in that one. Frozen had some good points, but I wasn't wowed. We saw a couple of other 2013 movies after they were released to video (and we downloaded or rented them).

We do sometimes see new-to-me-but-older movies, as well. And then a lot more rewatching! I should really keep better track--I'm curious!

YTSL said...

Hi again Alejna --

Re "Frozen": I actually was more wowed by the short film that preceded it much more than the feature attraction! Re "Despicable Me 2": I actually haven't seen it yet but am surprised by your reaction since the minions are a major hit here in Hong Kong!