365 films in a year

Limerick man and film buff, Eoin O’Connor, is about to complete his 2020 new year’s resolution to watch 365 films in 365 days.

“At the beginning of this year, I decided to make a New Year’s resolution to watch one new film every day, one that I’ve never seen before,” says Eoin, who has a degree in Film and Literature Studies from Dublin Business School. 

“I think because people lead hard, stressful lives, they often just want to revisit media that they’ve already experienced because it’s safe … but if you just make the effort I think [this project is] more fulfilling in the long run than it is to just keep revisiting stuff you already know you’ll like.  More often than not, I think, you will be glad to have done it versus not doing it.”

As well as his BA from DBS, Eoin has also had three years of film production training at St John’s Central College, Cork, and got a FETAC Level 5 qualification in Creative Writing and Cultural Studies at Inchicore College of Further Education, so Eoin is very well-versed when it comes to all things media.  

But even so, this hasn’t translated to film-snobbery.  Instead, Eoin is using this project to, in his own words, “expand his movie diet”.

Eoin describes the specific parameters he enters into YouTube to find classic, arthouse and foreign films, which involves searching for a specific year and adjusting your search settings to only show videos longer than 20 minutes.  “It’ll be randomised to a large extent… you’ll never know what’s going to pop up but you can, in fact, find a lot of good stuff there.”

During my chat with Eoin, he mentions films from every category imaginable, even referencing, to my surprise, the Twilight film series which he does not look at as harshly as most, even deeming it… good?!

“If something succeeds at what it itself is trying to do, then it’s good.  And, even if it’s not something you would normally be into, if it’s succeeding at what it’s trying to do I think it’s worth seeking out,” he tells me to my delight.  What a wonderful attitude!

“I want to actively seek out stuff that I know will be worth the time and will stick in my memory,” he continues. 

“Of course, it’s not always possible.  Sometimes you want something that you can just – I don’t like the term ‘switch off your brain’, but something that’s comfort food …  Some films, you could say, are like vegetables; they’re good for you.  Others are like burger and chips.  Although you could probably survive on just healthy food, and it would be good for you, you’d also just be craving something that is the equivalent of junk food once in a while.”

Relieved to hear that Eoin doesn’t exclusively make time for the highest of the highbrow cinema, I can confide in him that most of my feature film viewing is reserved for the “comfort food” films on a tired Saturday night.

“To be fair, I have a lot of free time and most people don’t so what I’m doing is largely a result of having the luxury of all that free time …  Like, how many people really have the time and energy to take an entire day off to watch a nine and a half hour deadly serious tragedy with subtitles in black and white?  It’s an experience like no other, but like, you’ve gotta have the day clear.”

Eoin is referring to The Human Condition, a Japanese epic film trilogy made between the late 50s and early 60s, a selection I never would have heard of if not for this conversation.  Eoin, however, had been wanting to watch it for years but found that it was out of his budget whenever he tried to make the purchase.  

“To just notice that someone had put all three parts of it online for free – oh my god, it was like I was just walking down the street and discovered that someone had thrown €200 on the ground.  I just spent the whole day consuming that and a load of other arthouse classics.”

When asked if Eoin recommends this as a new years resolution, he said, “I do think, if you have the time, it is a good thing to commit to.  At the very least it’s a nice idea to maybe commit to one new film a week, perhaps, because, I mean, that’s fifty in a year.”

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