Sunday, January 7, 2018

A by-the-numbers-look at my 2017 movie viewing year

On the way to one of the many HKIFF (Hong Kong
International Film Festival) screenings I attended last year

Poster for one of the many excellent films from neither 
Hong Kong nor Hollywood that I viewed in 2017
 
Some of my best film memories of 2017 involve repeat viewings of movies I had previously been introduced to in years past.  Among these are the viewings of Akira Kurosawa's magnificent Seven Samurai (which I had first viewed at college in Wisconsin) and a restored version of Ann Hui's The Secret (which I had first viewed on a video cassette tape in the last years of the 20th century) on a wonderfully large screen in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre's Grand Theatre, and a re-watch of Yasujiro Ozu's enchanting Late Autumn (which I had first viewed at the 2014 Hong Kong International Film Festival) in the company of four friends, three of them Japanese and one from South Africa.

Still, this is not to say that I didn't check out any noteworthy and notable films for the first time in 2017; and this despite my film viewing numbers having dropped considerably this past year from previous years (including 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006) for a number of reasons, including my having spent more time travelling outside Hong Kong than has been the case for a number of years, and 2017 possibly being the worst year in living memory for Hong Kong cinema in terms of the quality, if not quantity, of its movies produced.  I really do hope that things will improve for Hong Kong cinema in 2018.  As it is, I've not watched a Hong Kong movie since late November (and, for the record, viewed nine films from elsewhere in that time)!
 
1 -- The number of movies I viewed for the first time on home video last year!
 
2 -- The total number of Malaysian films I viewed in 2017 (with Ola Bola turning out to be my favorite Malaysian movie viewed in years and Mrs K proving to be pretty watchable too!)
 
5 -- The number of documentary features I viewed last year 
 
6 -- The number of animated films I viewed last year (including Loving Vincent (UK-Poland, 2017), the world's first fully painted feature film)

6 too -- The number of films (at least partly) set during World War II that I viewed in 2017 
 
8 -- The number of movies I viewed on board a plane last year (with the unusually high number being due to my having spent more hours on board planes in 2017 than I have had in years)
 
11 -- The number of black and white movies I viewed for the first time last year 
 
13 -- The number of films from Japan I viewed in 2017
 
19 -- The number of films I viewed at the 2017 Hong Kong International Film Festival
 
19 too! -- The number of films I viewed for the first time in 2017 that I'd rate as an 8.5 or above on the brns.com scale (with these being 29+1 (Hong Kong, 2017), A Man Escaped (France, 1956), A Night at the Opera (USA, 1935), A Poor Lover's Tears (Hong Kong, 1948), A Taxi Driver (South Korea, 2017), Black Code (Canada, 2016), Darling, Stay at Home (Hong Kong, 1968), Hidden Figures (USA, 2016), High and Low (Japan, 1963), Lion (Australia-UK-USA-India, 2016), Ma' Rosa (The Philippines, 2016), Moonlight (USA, 2016), On Body and Soul (Hungary, 2017), Star Wars: The Last Jedi (USA, 2017), Strangers on a Train (USA, 1951), The Big Sick (USA, 2017), The Hidden Fortress (Japan, 1958), The Rickshaw Man (Japan, 1958), Vampire Cleanup Department (Hong Kong, 2017)

20 -- The number of movies from the USA I viewed last year 
 
20 as well -- The number of bio-pics or non-documentary films based on real-life individuals and/or events that I viewed last year

21 -- The number of Hong Kong movies I viewed for the first time in 2017   

24 -- The number of different territories whose films I viewed in 2017 (i.e., Belgium, Canada, Chad, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, Macau, Mainland China, Morocco, The Netherlands, The Philippines, Poland, Senegal, South Korea, Spain, Qatar, Taiwan, UK, USA, and the USSR)
 
27 -- The number of 2017 cinematic releases that I viewed in 2017
 
39 -- The number of films first released in their native territory or at a film festival in 2016 that I first viwed in 2017 
 
50 -- The number of non-Hong Kong movies I viewed for the first time in 2017    
 
71 -- The total number of films that I viewed for the first time last year
 
1925 -- The original year of release of Sergei Eisenstein's October, the oldest non-Hong Kong movie I viewed last year

1948 -- The original year of release of A Poor Lover's Tears, the oldest Hong Kong movie I viewed last year

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