Exploring the world through global cinema

About This Blog

I love film, and like most people, was raised on a skewed Hollywood diet of cinema, with the occasional ‘foreign’ film thrown in. I love horror films especially, but after an 8-month overdose of B-grade slashers, I decided it was seriously time to broaden my horizons. There is, after all, a whole world out there.

Then I had a mad idea: I was going to watch a film from every single country in the world. Clearly, I was strolling down Insanity Parade on a clear trajectory towards Loony Avenue. I obviously had no idea just how difficult such an undertaking would be. After all, not all of the 193 recognised nations in the world even have a film industry, and many that do have a very small output only seen by a local audience or at film festivals in Belgium. I don’t live in Belgium, I’m not planning to fly there anytime soon, the local dvd rental store is god-awful and Netflix doesn’t exist where I live.

So quite sensibly, I decided to have a go anyway. World On Film chronicles the attempt. I make no promises. I can’t even make a decent poached egg.

The core of the blog is film reviews – I was just planning to review what I’d seen and send it in to the Internet Movie Database. Then someone pointed out that I should compile my efforts into a blog or a podcast. I pretended to be deaf regarding the second suggestion and so invaded WordPress instead. Reviews are still posted to IMDB under a pseudonym (just in case anyone happens to find a remarkable similarity between the comments expressed here and there), but embellished here with images and extra meandering waffle.

The Criteria

The films must have been produced in the country of origin, preferably by locals. One thing I’ve discovered already is that this is not always possible. Some of the smaller countries like Barbados are strictly international co-production only, for appreciably obvious reasons. In a situation like that, it’s a judgement call where I just have to choose something that features the country in some way. Actually, some of the larger nations such as (cough) Belgium also output a high number of co-productions, muddying the waters further.

Preference goes to a feature film, but if that’s not possible, a short film (or two), and then if all else fails, a documentary – again, produced locally. Why I have this 3-pronged approach brings me neatly into

The Selection Process

I use that excellent repository of film information, the Internet Movie Database, to help me choose something to watch, often simply to tell me what even exists. In an ideal situation, I select something strongly-recommended by others. In a less than ideal situation, I simply watch whatever I can get my hands on. This is often the deciding factor. Either way, I’m not after a representative film – in some cases, just getting ‘a film’ is challenging enough.

I’ve decided to do this alphabetically by country, which is sufficiently randomised, though, and I can’t stress this enough, it isn’t always possible and skipping to a later unknown date is inevitable. Hence the insanity of the whole thing.

And yes, it will probably take years.

Availability of Films

Depending on where you live, you may have a decent rental store or online rental service. Or you may live in Belgium, or in some other locale where film festivals occur. Amazon is also good and there are even sites where you can download/rent some hard-to-find films for a small fee legally, such as http://www.eztakes.com/. The internet is obviously a good place to start and some independent films, such as the Antiguan film I selected, are posted online for free by the producers. Obviously, the internet provides other possibilities, but no, I’m not going to tell you where you can get this stuff for free.

Update Frequency

Probably once a week, maybe twice if time permits. I’ve already watched several films and written the core of the reviews, guaranteeing material for most of the ‘A’ countries.

The Title

I wanted something simple and couldn’t get a certain Duran Duran song out of my head.

Who are you, anyway?

Merely someone who enjoys watching and writing about film and should have started doing so years ago simply for the fun of it.

Images

No copyrighted photos/stills appear on this blog. All are screen grabs I took myself from the video.

7 responses

  1. Katia Paradis

    Hi,

    I am the director of “Three Kings of Belize” and I wanted to thank you for taking the time of writing about the movie, you also made me discover about other films that I was unaware of… I’ll keep reading your blog.

    I’ve pasted your blog’s link somewhere into the facebook page of the movie:

    http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?topic=294&uid=104972056203608#!/pages/Three-Kings-of-Belize-the-movie/104972056203608

    Warmest regards,

    Katia

    December 19, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    • Hello Katia

      You’re very welcome. ‘Three Kings’ was definitely an affecting piece of work and I had no trouble recommending it. If my review can help generate interest, then all to the good. And thank you for linking to my blog. I’ll add the Facebook link to the review.

      Cheers,

      Ben

      December 20, 2010 at 7:17 am

  2. hey i am organising a nollywood film festival in denmark, to take place at the cinemateket http://www.dfi.dk:80/English.aspx and since a tunde kelani film popped up on your blog i was pleased to see it! how do you know about nollywood? is the world realy ready for nollywood??
    cheers anita.

    January 29, 2011 at 7:38 am

    • Hi Anita.

      Since the remit of my blog is to watch film from around the world, this means that behind the scenes, I have to do a lot of research to discover what there is to see and I learned about Nollywood in the process. Plus I had a work colleague who’d travelled to many West African nations, including Benin, where ‘Abeni’ was filmed, and he told me something about it. Even though Nollywood is one of the biggest film industries in the world, it’s still fairly unknown in the West. To them, I think the brightly-coloured cultures of the region will have an exotic appeal, while the stories will deal with issues of interest, ie – cultural/religious differences, the generation gap between the older generation hanging onto their traditions vs the modern, younger people embracing Westernisation. Maybe also a documentary like ‘Welcome to Nollywood’ or ‘Nollywood Babylon’ to give people some of the background as well. There’s no reason why the better examples of the industry shouldn’t have an appeal.

      I wish you the best of luck in getting the festival up and running, and I hope it’s a big success!

      Cheers,

      Ben

      January 29, 2011 at 10:09 am

  3. Ginette Mahoro

    Hi there,

    I googled my name, very egocentric on my part, lol (was looking for some other stuff actually) and has fallen on your blog. I read the section “About” and I am amazed about the challenge you took on! Thanks for the recognition you give to all these independent productions around the world. I am studying film studies and hope that one day I will be such a good critic writer, loved your analysis on Amor idiota

    In Reveal yourself the name of the actor you couldn’t find the name is Francis Muhire, now a relevant singer in Burundi.

    Hope to read you again in your blog,
    Take care,
    Ginette.

    April 18, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    • Hi Ginette – thank you for visiting, your nice comments, and the information about Mr. Muhire. I have no doubt you will achieve further success in the future. Also, because of your pioneering work, I now have some insight into Burundian society.

      I have some more reviews written, so will try to post them soon.

      And don’t worry – I think everybody googles themselves at least once!

      April 18, 2012 at 10:08 pm

  4. jean richardson

    Hi ….I am the daughter of Harrison Holt Richardson. Thank you for doing such a wonderful story about him. More of his films are archived at Ohio State. I am happy to put you in touch with one of my brothers in case you are interested. Thanks. Jean

    February 22, 2015 at 4:41 am

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