Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The idea behind Film: Ab Initio

The idea behind Film: Ab Initio 

The premise of this blog is that chronology matters, particularly in relation to film. Whether it involves evaluating the technological advances that began with Edison’s Kinetoscope and that continue to develop with contemporary blockbusters’ use of Performance Capture or simply chronicling a particular director’s development, there is much to be said for watching films in chronological order.

This blog intends to work its way through 1500+ titles (and counting) in chronological order from cinema’s inception and see what ideas, trends and theories can be nurtured and cultivated by adopting such an approach. However, it is important to stress that I do not intend this to be a static process whereby I simply give my thoughts in regards to various films for several years.

The eventual goal is to develop a community that can share ideas and provide valuable insights in relation to film. A minor example of this is that the majority of films that will be looked at are either from North America or Europe, and I would be grateful for any recommendations from the other major continents.
Please note that the list of films is by no means closed and if there any films which you think I have overlooked, do not hesitate to mention them to me and I will do my best to include them.

Determining the films for Film: Ab Initio

We live in an age of endless lists – particularly in relation to music and film. At the turn of the previous decade (all of four months ago), we were inundated with the films of the noughties. At their worst, such lists overemphasise the immediate in an attempt to appear newsworthy. An example of this being The Times of London’s decision to declare ‘There Will Be Blood’ as the second greatest film of all time in 2008, only for the same film to appear as the 63rd greatest film of the last decade a year later.

At their best though, film lists can both aid in retracing the steps of cinema’s development and affirm the canonisation of particular films. This blog drew most of its 1500+ titles from two lists. The first is Piero Scaruffi’s 1,000 best films of all time. When I first skimmed through the list I realised that there were a large number of films which it listed that I wanted to watch, but I was unsure as to how I would go about tackling such a large body of work. It was its decision to list the films in chronological order that gave me the idea to watch the films in this manner. The second list was a much more recent discovery – TSPDT’s (They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They?) excellent 1,000 strong list, which was voted by critics, filmmakers and scholars.

The list for Film: Ab Initio contains the majority of these films, although some were excluded. Films from major directors such as Fellini, Ozu and Hitchcock that did not make these lists have also been included, as have films from minor lists and a select number of idiosyncratic choices.

I hope you enjoy this blog, I look forward to hearing from you!

If you have any ideas or questions, please email me at filmabinitio@googlemail.com


  1. I'm really liking your blog! Once you've been up and running for a few months, you should considering becoming a LAMB (http://largeassmovieblogs.blogspot.com).

  2. @ Raquelle - many thanks for your kind words.
    And thank you for pointing me in the direction of LAMB - as soon as I become eligible I will sign up for it.