Friday, January 1, 2016

Tree In The Desert or The Film That Really Made Me Want To Start This Website

We're about 51 days to Unseen Films 6th birthday.  Four Thousand Five hundred and something posts- at least one every day for six years.

As some of you know I'm going to be making some changes in the site soon. Most of them are due to my not being able to run at this pace any longer- Its not the post a day that's killing me it's the additional coverage of new releases- I can not sustain a pace that had me doing 90 features at Tribeca, almost 60 at NYAFF and NYFF and 132 of 157 films at DOC NYC. Plus a huge chunk of Fantasia, all of Japan Cuts and on and on and on.

Additionally life is happening around us, which has caused some of the Unseen writers to drift away for a bit and for things to become complicated for the rest of us.

Part of my desire to change is that I'm getting away from what I intended with the site. I'm still dealing with films that may get over looked but at the same time the choices are becoming less and less mine- PR people who send me stuff and I'm finding it hard to say no. I need to find my way back home.

Recently I was researching to see what I had said about a particular film I had reviewed in the early days and in the process I ran across a post I did on the six month anniversary of the site which kind of got me thinking about how far I've moved from the original stated purpose of Unseen. 

In the hope of begining a trip back to the place where we belong I present the piece I wrote six months into Unseen's soon to be six year run and it statement of what this site is supposed to be

Today is August 20th. It was six months ago today that I started this film blog. The idea was, and still is, to highlight the films either no one is paying much attention to, or the films no one is seeing because no one is thinking to look.

The review that follows is the review I posted on another blog. It's also the moment where I seriously began thinking about starting a blog like this one.

The kind of sad thing is I don't think I have this film in my collection any more. I think I passed it on to someone - I think Eden - simply because someone had to know about the film besides me.

In honor of every orphaned and unwatched film I present what should have been the first review here at Unseen Films; instead consider it the half-year anniversary marker. Let's hope that someone somewhere is watching the film and enjoying it.

Tree In The Desert
A man living on the edge of the desert takes a wife and begins to raise a family. He falls ill and she takes over his job of planting trees. Similar to several films produced nominally by the Chinese government (they talk about party conferences and the greater good), so much so that I wasn't sure if I hadn't seen it before. It's a soapy tale set in the village and in a hospital a good distance away. A good little film that has some of the most beautiful desert photography I've seen. The visuals are what make this film a small gem. It's also the sort of thing that makes me sad that almost no one, other than someone from China, or someone crazy enough to watch a VCD randomly picked up in Chinatown, will ever see it and similar films. No, it's not a “great” film, but it's worth a look for those who want things not on the regular film path. There are so many orphaned films out there, it kind of makes me sad.

I've discovered my copy of the film tucked away in a hidden nook. How it got there I'm not sure.

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