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Zam Zoum Film Club | June

Highlights from the last six months of movie watching

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Hazem Fahmy

Jun 14 2021

4 min read

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I know mid-June isn't actually the midpoint of the year, but it feels like it and I didn't feel like writing an essay (some fun ones are cooking this month!) so I thought instead this would be an opportune time to relax and look back on some of the most engaging experiences with movies I've had so far this year. Since the pandemonium, my film viewing has been all over the place. Unable to go to the movies for most of the last year and a half, I've lost track of new releases and watch parties. Yes, virtual watch parties are a thing, and I've done the occasional one, but it's not the same! I'm hoping to catch up more on movies that have actually come out this year. For now, however, here're some not-new movies that I've seen for the first time in 2021 that I've found super stimulating. I didn't necessarily love all of these, but I've cherished the experience of watching them and look forward to revisiting them in some shape or form. They're in the order I watched them, so no ranking today, folks.

The Sword & the Claw / Lion Man (1975)


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I've had the Blu-Ray for this bizarre gem for years now, but only popped it open in January. Read more about it here.

Blue Collar (1978)


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Schrader's directorial debut isn't perfect, especially with regards to its ending, but it remains essential viewing in the landscape of American labor cinema. Read more about it here.

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)


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I haven't watched a lot of Fassbinder, but I've hated every single one with the sole exception of this, which I adore. Watch a quick vid about it here.

Adrift on the Nile (ثرثرة فوق النيل) (1971)


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The last act is one of the most ham-fisted in Egyptian film history, but the overall thing remains a vital watch. Read more about it here.

F for Fake (1973)


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Wow, I did not expect or intend for half of this list to be from the 70s, but here we are! I desperately wished for this incisive doc/essay to pay more attention to how fakes complicate and undermine the capitalistic nature of the modern art market. Still, Welles' screen presence alone is worth revisiting over and over again. Watch a quick vid about it here.

Wings of Desire (1987)


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I love when a concept as cheesy as "an angel learns to become human" actually ends up being one of the most quietly gut-wrenching viewing experiences of the last few years. Watch a video essay on it here.

Wet Hot American Summer (2001)


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It turns out I lied, I did see this movie six years ago when First Day of Camp came out on Netflix. But I'd missed it so much, it felt like watching it for the first time! It's odd how relatively well this romp has aged, but it's not hard to see why considering how much its comedy is rooted in absurd and chaotic shenanigans as opposed to cynical punching down. Here's a fun interview with Rolling Stone on the making of the prequel.

Bend It Like Beckham (2002)


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Bend It is one of those movies I've known about and wanted to watch forever, but just never got around to it until my mid-twenties. In an odd way, I'm glad it took me a while to see it because it came at such a right time in my life, when friendship, community, and solidarity were themes very much occupying my mind. Read more about it here.

Dreams of Hind and Camilia (أحلام هند وكاميليا) (1989)


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Perhaps my favorite of Mohamed Khan so far, and that is not a statement I say lightly. Read more about it here. I also wrote a quick thing about it here.

Death Becomes Her (1992)


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Obviously has some...problems, but my god if this isn't the funnest new camp experience I've had all year. And this is the same year I wrote a whole thesis chapter on camp! (which was ok.) Listen to a great episode of The Bechdel Cast on the film here.

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