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2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

Old 08-15-22, 09:11 PM
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2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

2022 Indie/Art House Challenge DISCUSSION Thread
Dusk 30 August - Dawn 1 October

LIST Thread Can Be Found Here
It was agreed last year this challenge implicitly includes silent films and what have been classed in the U.S. as "foreign language films." Talkies that aren't in English, in other words.

The first annual Indie/Art House Challenge evolved out of what was previously the Criterion Challenge. In this challenge, we emphasize exploration rather than a raw quantity of films viewed. We encourage you to take some time and dive into the films you watch. Check out any included supplemental materials. Look up reviews and essays. In other words, immerse yourself! So… what exactly is an Art-House film? It’s a sort of “You’ll know it when you see it” thing, but Wikipedia offers the following characterization:

An art film (or art house film) is typically an independent film, aimed at a niche market rather than a mass market audience.[1] It is "intended to be a serious, artistic work, often experimental and not designed for mass appeal",[2] "made primarily for aesthetic reasons rather than commercial profit",[3] and contains "unconventional or highly symbolic content".[4]
Pre-Horror Participants
We welcome the horror enthusiasts among us who just can’t wait until October. Think of this as a chance to emphasize Art-horror, and save the really schlocky stuff for next month. You’ll find a considerable amount of eligible content!

Distributor Safe List
To make selecting titles easier, any movie made available by the following distributors is classified as "safe" for this challenge, even if it should be a mainstream production. You are not required to watch their edition. You're not limited to these distributors, though, because there are plenty others who bring to us the kinds of films we're after. If you have any questions, ask in the discussion thread.Checklist (Optional, as always)
Spoiler:

The checklist is intended solely as a prompt for participants who want a template for organizing their viewing. It's general enough that you can still complete it even if you decide to stick to just Criterion content, or if you decide to commit fully to horror. Rules:
  • Silent films count for a foreign language IF the original language title cards are shown.
  • You may only use a film once per section. This includes viewings with commentaries, etc.
  • You may substitute 40+ cumulative minutes of short films for a feature, but may only use one from that group per section.
Watch films from at least five of the following decades:

--- 1910's -
--- 1920's -
--- 1930's -
--- 1940's -
--- 1950's -
--- 1960's -
--- 1970's -
--- 1980's -
--- 1990's -
--- 2000's -
--- 2010's -
--- 2020's -

Watch a film from at least five different countries

--- Country 1:
--- Country 2:
--- Country 3:
--- Country 4:
--- Country 5:

Watch films in at least five different languages

--- Language 1:
--- Language 2:
--- Language 3:
--- Language 4:
--- Language 5:

Watch films from at least five different directors

--- Director 1:
--- Director 2:
--- Director 3:
--- Director 4:
--- Director 5:

Watch films from at least five different genres

--- Action/Adventure
--- Animation
--- Avant-garde
--- Comedy
--- Crime
--- Documentary
--- Drama
--- Fantasy
--- Film Noir
--- Horror
--- Musical
--- Romance
--- Samurai
--- Science Fiction
--- Shorts [minimum of 40 cumulative minutes]
--- Silent
--- Thriller
--- War
--- Western

Above-and-Beyond Sub-Category

--- Read at least five essays or reviews
--- Listen to at least one commentary track
--- Watch at least four 15+ minute long features about a film’s production or legacy
--- Watch at least five films that explicitly take place in September
--- Watch a complete box set with a minimum of three films (supplements not required)

Criterion Collection Spine Range Sub-Category For Participants Who Wish To Keep Alive The Criterion Challenge

--- Spine #'s 1-100 -
--- Spine #'s 101-200 -
--- Spine #'s 201-300 -
--- Spine #'s 301-400 -
--- Spine #'s 401-500 -
--- Spine #'s 501-600 -
--- Spine #'s 601-700 -
--- Spine #'s 701-800 -
--- Spine #'s 801-900 -
--- Spine #'s 901-1000 -
--- Spine #'s 1001-1100 -
--- Spine #'s 1101-1200 -
--- Eclipse -




Last edited by Travis McClain; 08-30-22 at 01:00 AM.
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Old 08-16-22, 09:30 PM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

Looking forward to this one. I now have an excuse to open my Bergman, Fellini, and Pasolini sets.
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Old 08-17-22, 01:11 AM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

Originally Posted by caligulathegod
Looking forward to this one. I now have an excuse to open my Bergman, Fellini, and Pasolini sets.
My challenge last year consisted exclusively of going through the Ingmar Bergman's Cinema box set. It took me from 5 September all the way to 17 October, but I watched every single feature on every disc. I collected my diary entries in this list on Letterboxd. I did not, however, take the time to read the included book. It contains essays for, I believe, each film in the set. One nice thing is that the essays were penned by several different writers, whereas probably 80% of the supplements on the discs feature only Peter Cowie. He did contribute to the book, but he's not its sole author. I made that choice because I naively thought I could squeeze it all into the challenge if I dedicated my time exclusively to the discs. In hindsight, I wish I had taken the time to break up the viewing by reading the corresponding essay after each movie because I'm almost certainly never going to dedicate myself to going through all of the content in concentration like that again. C'est la vie. I absolutely adore that box set, though, and it's one of the gems in my library.
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Old 08-25-22, 01:55 AM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

We start a week from now. Anyone have any requests or suggestions to pitch before we get underway?
Old 08-26-22, 07:00 PM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

I'm ready.
Old 08-27-22, 02:09 AM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

I am too. I'm planning to focus on some box sets and Criterions that have been sitting unwatched on my shelf for a while. I have the Essential Fellini set and have yet to open it. Hoping to change that next month
Old 08-27-22, 12:19 PM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

I plan on watching the Arrow Blu-Ray of Donnie Darko with my wife. Although it doesn't fit the Arthouse theme as much as Fellini and some others do, it should be enjoyable to see my wife try to figure out what is going on with the story. There is plenty of extras on this Blu-Ray, including two commentaries which should give some interesting insignt into the movie. When we are done absoring this film I plan to try another Arrow Blu-Ray or two.
Old 08-30-22, 01:01 AM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

List thread is now live!
Old 09-02-22, 03:45 PM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

Now that we're up and running, how have y'all started? I'm running behind, myself. I started going through the Bond movies at the end of August. Because I've gotten caught up in disc supplements, I haven't maintained the pace I intended. I should have waited so I could at least have counted Dr. No, From Russia with Love, and Goldfinger (all had Criterion LaserDisc releases). I may stop after the Connery era and shift my attention to this challenge. I'm thinking of starting my Ninety-Film 90s Daisy Chain here, because that decade was huge for indie and art house cinema. Does anyone have any recommendations from that decade?
Old 09-02-22, 06:37 PM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

Shall We Dance 1996! The Japanese one, not Richard Gere.
Old 09-02-22, 08:58 PM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

Starting off with Criterion channel. Godard's Breathless.
Old 09-03-22, 06:30 PM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

Originally Posted by davidh777
Shall We Dance 1996! The Japanese one, not Richard Gere.
Thanks, davidh777 !

Originally Posted by caligulathegod
Starting off with Criterion channel. Godard's Breathless.
Breathless was my first Godard. I liked it. I've since seen eight more. I want to like his movies, but they can become insufferably self-indulgent and pretentious at any moment. Sometimes that blows over, but sometimes it stays that way. Whenever I watch his stuff, I feel like the sword of Damocles is hanging over it. I find it distracting. I'm sure most people probably have at least one filmmaker they feel that way about, though. I love Ingmar Bergman's films, for instance, but I can easily see where others might find them an absolute slog.
Old 09-03-22, 06:43 PM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

I know this is no longer the Criterion challenge, but last month I decided I should start mowing through my collection as many have been unwatched for years. Figured Iíd join this challenge.
Most will be first time watches so thatís exciting. I also picked up the 4K Hitchcock sets which Iíll start tomorrow.
Up next is either Rebecca or Spellbound. Iíve yet to decide.
Old 09-03-22, 07:04 PM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
Breathless was my first Godard. I liked it. I've since seen eight more. I want to like his movies, but they can become insufferably self-indulgent and pretentious at any moment. Sometimes that blows over, but sometimes it stays that way. Whenever I watch his stuff, I feel like the sword of Damocles is hanging over it. I find it distracting. I'm sure most people probably have at least one filmmaker they feel that way about, though.
Agreed on Godard - I know he is a master filmmaker and I have slogged through quite a few on checklists, but .... I did enjoy Alphaville, but I sense it is the proverbial exception that proves the rule. Anyone else have directors who fit this category?
Old 09-03-22, 08:08 PM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

Originally Posted by Shack
Agreed on Godard - I know he is a master filmmaker and I have slogged through quite a few on checklists, but .... I did enjoy Alphaville, but I sense it is the proverbial exception that proves the rule. Anyone else have directors who fit this category?
Lars von Trier. I appreciate his talent and vision, but he can easily lose me when he elevates philosophical preaching over storytelling. I really liked Melancholia, but Dogville exhausted my patience.

I just don't like Godard's films at all, with the exceptions of Breathless and Vivre Sa Vie. I find most of his films that I've seen to be extremely tedious slogs. I watched Alphaville for the Sci-Fi challenge and hated it. On the other hand I adore Yasujiro Ozu's family dramas that other people find to be painfully slow.

Last edited by Gobear; 09-03-22 at 08:16 PM.
Old 09-03-22, 08:39 PM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

Originally Posted by Gobear
Lars von Trier. I appreciate his talent and vision, but he can easily lose me when he elevates philosophical preaching over storytelling. I really liked Melancholia, but Dogville exhausted my patience.

I just don't like Godard's films at all, with the exceptions of Breathless and Vivre Sa Vie. I find most of his films that I've seen to be extremely tedious slogs. I watched Alphaville for the Sci-Fi challenge and hated it. On the other hand I adore Yasujiro Ozu's family dramas that other people find to be painfully slow.
I have to be in the mood for Ozu, which has been a process. But the films are usually so gorgeous in a simple way and I appreciate them for that.

And absolutely, no Von Trier for me if I can help it (and I usually can). I did not understand the praise for Breaking the Waves, but others' mileage will no doubt vary.
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Old 09-04-22, 10:41 PM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

Getting ready and travelling for Labor Day festivities has kept me so busy that I haven't been able to watch much. I watched the first two short films from my new Maya Deren box set. I had seen Meshes of the Afternoonyears ago in a graduate film class, and it left most of the class, including me, flummoxed and cold. However, after aging a decade and learning a lot about myself through therapy, I appreciated the evocative imaginary and the existential themes that Deren explores. My reaction reminded me of a conversation I had with a literature professor when I was an undergrad. I was struggling with Henry James' The Ambassadors, and he told me that when he was my age, he had no time for James; it was only when he was older that he learned to appreciate his novels. Considering how fantastic I found Deren's shorts, I may pick up another James novel!

I'm visiting family, and yesterday after everyone had gone to bed, I stayed up and watched Louis Malle's Humain, Trop Humain, an experimental documentary about an automobile factory juxtaposed with a car show. It was an interesting, monotonous watch. While there are no talking heads or voice overs to state a thesis, the grueling, repetitive labor on display made me feel like Malle was critical of assembly line capitalism. It made me think of American Factory and Ascension, two recent documentaries that also explore work culture in mass production. Football games have dominated the television today, but I may try to get in another movie later when everyone has gone to bed.
Old 09-08-22, 04:23 PM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

Well, believe it or not but Criterion is adding WALL*E in November!
Old 09-30-22, 12:28 PM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

I'm sorry, y'all. I've been an absolutely awful host this year. I haven't even been a good participant. I got sidetracked, is all I can say. I hope you've had a good month despite my absence. Has anyone hit on any gems you'd like to share? Completed any projects? Just had a highlight of any kind whatsoever?
Old 09-30-22, 09:33 PM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
I'm sorry, y'all. I've been an absolutely awful host this year. I haven't even been a good participant. I got sidetracked, is all I can say. I hope you've had a good month despite my absence. Has anyone hit on any gems you'd like to share? Completed any projects? Just had a highlight of any kind whatsoever?
Three Thousand Years of Longing is a marvelously romantic film with an amazing visual flair. It's easily one of the top 10 films of the year. If you liked Everything Everywhere All At Once, you'll love this.

Last edited by Gobear; 10-02-22 at 02:38 AM.
Old 10-01-22, 08:44 AM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

I was my usual mediocre participant and didn’t do anything to further the thread or fully embrace the theme. I just did my usual ~40 item personal checklist, sticking mostly to Criterion content. Pretty much my story each Challenge except October, horror is a lifelong passion.
Old 10-01-22, 10:31 PM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

I think I burnt out on the Animation challenge and needed a break before Horror. Thanks for running the challenge and I hope to do better next year.
Old 10-03-22, 08:01 AM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

My attention was diverted to Bond and it's ended up dragging on much longer than I originally intended. (Annoyingly, I started just before September, meaning I missed out on at least counting the first three, which had Criterion LaserDiscs!) But honestly, I think another problem I had was the broader theme. It wasn't an issue for me last year when we expanded. I enjoyed diving into things outside the Criterion Collection. This time around, though, I think it would have made it easier for me to organize myself if I'd restricted myself to Criterion. Just picking some unlogged discs or a collection on the Channel to mix in with Bond wouldn't have been difficult.

That's not to suggest, mind you, that we revert back to being Criterion-exclusive. I, or anyone else, can arbitrarily decide to filter within the theme. I am curious, though, with such low participation this year, whether that might have also been a factor for anyone else.
Old 10-03-22, 11:13 AM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

I think the diminished turnout is just due to the forum in general being pretty much dead. Seems like the Challenges have been pretty stagnant for a couple years now, excluding Octobers of course. I could be wrong on this, too lazy to look at the thread views for the last several years, but maybe I’ll do that later.
Old 10-22-22, 11:44 AM
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Re: 2022 Indie/Art House Challenge

Very belated thanks to Travis for hosting!

My challenge got off to a good start on September 1 when I finally played the rental disc of The Worst Person in the World that had been sitting around for a while. I saw the Criterion logo and realized it was now September and it qualified! (Never mind that it would've qualified anyway under the new rules. Allow me my moment.) I liked the film and still think about the "freeze" scene every now and then.

I wrapped up with one I've been meaning to watch for 20 years, Dancer in the Dark. As a fan of classic musicals but not really knowing much about Bjork, I had just never gotten around to it, but my wife plays in a concert band, and one of the pieces in the their October concert was the overture to Dancer in the Dark, so kill two birds with one stone, right? Except off, it was not a fun watch, just a relentless march toward doom. I did like the music, though, and the love of Busby Berkeley that ran through it.

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