Okay, we’re reviving this concept, and we’re doing it by seasons and going back to December because… I was not feeling it for January. Whatever it’s fine.
First, if we’re truly going back to December, we have to acknowledge the highlight of snowglobeszn2022: Hanukkah on Rye, a delightful Hallmark ~holiday~ movie which is The Shop Around the Corner but make it Jewish delis, with the utterly charming Yael Grobglas (& also perhaps the first time I have not been annoyed by Jeremy Jordan?) plus a cameo from Lisa Loeb. Make a note for next year, or honestly watch it now; I don’t know your life.
On the other end of the entertainment spectrum, I loved the Metropolitan Opera production of The Hours. I streamed truly a lot of opera during the height of lockdown, but this is the first time I treated myself to the Met’s theatrical broadcast. I haven’t seen the film since it was first released, and it’s been longer still since I read the book, but opera is particularly well-suited to telling this story of three women across time. Time can be extra-slippy in opera, because everything can truly be happening at once.
The best time in the theater was Desperately Seeking Susan, a rewatch on 35mm, thank you Grand Illusion. Listen. If it’s been a minute since you’ve seen it, you owe yourself. It’s worth the whatever three bucks it costs to rent. Great ladies, great looks, great time.
The most devastating time in the theater would be All the Beauty and the Bloodshed and Women Talking, which, honestly, what a double feature about survival (and survivors, and survivor’s guilt), about documenting lives on the margins, about the radical act of imagining a future.
The combination of Women Talking & the Autostraddle Encyclopedia of Lesbian Cinema brought me to I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing, a Canadian independent film that would have been my whole personality if I’d seen it in college.
The best time at home was for sure Catherine, Called Birdy. Literally all I remembered of the book is that I enjoyed it and that it marked time by saints days (and Birdy’s vivid imagining of their lives), and the film was so fun, maintaining a playful, rebellious tone while also not shying away from the details and threats of the period. A balancing act for sure (and if *spoiler* doesn’t want to marry Sophie Okonedo, I volunteer as tribute!)
I went on a little Terence Davies run specifically because Distant Voices, Still Lives was about to leave Criterion Channel, and it was worth it, for that in particular. It’s the middle film of his autobiographical trilogy (the three shorts that preceded it are a journey), and it has an incredible use of popular music as inner voice, of the power of the group sing in the pub or in the sitting room. Definitely my favorite discovery of this batch.
…so that was the new, or the mostly new, or the new old, but also I’m trying to give myself permission to enjoy more rewatches this year. I don’t always have to be discovering something! The winter run of past favorites included Jane Eyre, Paterson, Take This Waltz, Out of Sight, and Better Days.
I do give myself permission to rewatch BL more often – basically they’re my version of reading a bit of a romance novel before bed – & if I watch too many bad/boring/mediocre ones in a row I need to go back to the certified hits. Nothing I watched in these three months was worth recommending, but for my service I did earn another visit with Semantic Error & Old Fashion Cupcake.
& that’s that!