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Making Excuses to Watch Something Else
Lights, camera...criticism! This post's guest, Paul Anderson, is half of the UK duo behind Strangers in a Cinema, a film blog started in 2012, and one we Quail Bell(e)s rather fancy. (His partner in crime is fellow ex-film student, Pete Wall. Learn more about the pair—the self-proclaimed 'strangers' here.) Ever interested in le cinema and why other bloggers blog, I shot him a few questions over Facebook. Here are my Q's and his A's in this trans-Atlantic interview:
What would you say is the main difference between an average person and a cinephile?
The main difference from my perspective is the a cinephile will watch films out of interest rather than necessarily purely for enjoyment. I think a cinephile would be open to films of any genre and be fully willing to embrace both mainstream and more artistic films, both have their strengths and weaknesses and should be embraced as such.
How do you decide whether or not to watch a movie? And how do you decide if you're going to review one?
Well, when you are trying a grow a website you don't really want to turn work away! On a more serious note, we don't have a criteria for reviewing films. We pride ourselves on reviewing anything and everything that comes into our inbox. In fact, the response has been so encouraging that we rarely have to go out a look for films as there is stuff coming in every week. Ideally with a bigger team we could cover more but that's just how it is for the moment.
With movies more readily available than ever, do you think people should be more or less judicious about what they watch?
A very interesting question and one that is quite difficult to answer. With Netflix especially the choice of films is vast and that is a double edged sword. For example I received Act of Killing as a Christmas present and have only finally watched it last weekend. Every time I considered watching it, I knew it would be challenging and made excuses to watch something else...to most people that wouldn't be an issue but countless DC animated movies (whilst entertaining) aren't exactly expanding my filmic horizons! I guess it's a very personal thing...
What movies are you crazy about this year?
The Raid 2: Berandal is very high on my list. The original film was a near flawless example of frenetic action cinema that raised the bar to a very high level. It's also great when the original director returns for a sequel and tries to take things to even great heights. Interstellar is another one I can't wait for....Christopher Nolan in space, nothing more really needs to be said! Oh, and I am very excited to finally see Eli Roth's The Green Inferno as it should be prove to good old fashion OTT gory fun!
How do you see your site growing and changing this year?
Well, that it is the big question. The site has done better than we ever anticipated when we set it up back in 2012. We are in the midst of giving out awards for the first time and people seem to like that so far. Recruiting a larger consistent team of writers is key to building the site and getting the name more recognition. I've been privileged to sit on the panel of some short film festivals and would love to do a larger number of events. I feel what we do is important not only because we get to see some fantastic films that don't often get a wide release but also to give up and coming filmmakers a place where they get an impartial take on their work, and also let them talk about their films if they so desire. The short answer to your question is to put in a lot of hard work and engage with more and more filmmakers as the year goes on.
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