Blindspots—and why they’re okay

Earlier today, Indiewire posted a roundup of critics who each shared their assorted “blindspots”—films recognized as essential that, for whatever reason, they’ve yet to see. Some interesting tidbits include Ali Arikan, who’s never seen The Wild Bunch; Michael Sicinski, who’s never seen Erich von Stroheim’s Greed; and Adam Kempanaar, who’s yet to see anything from the Jean Renoir oeuvre.

Blindspots are interesting for a number of reasons. For starters, everyone’s got them. They’re simply unavoidable. This isn’t a bad thing, because for every blindspot, a cinephile likely has just has many (if not more) films with which they can claim not only to have seen, but know intimately. Owning up to ones blindspots is both an act of humility and a testament to the sprawling behemoth that is the history of cinema.

What’s worse is lying about them. On plenty more than one occasion, I’ve encountered a person who claims to have seen a certain film yet can’t seem to comment on any of its particulars—details that even the most passive of viewings should yield. Insecure cinephiles are quick to claim they have seen just about everything, but simple logic should suggest otherwise. Still, idle blindspots are the devil’s playthings. Make a point to check them off.

The moral of the story: don’t be a fink—embrace your blindspots.

Here are (some of) mine—some I feel guilty about, most I don’t:

Week End (Godard)
I Was Born, But… (Ozu)
Ordet (Dreyer)
Gone With the Wind (Fleming, Cukor, Wood)
Out: 1 (Rivette)
Madame de… (Ophuls)
Casablanca (Curtiz)
The Conversation (Coppola)
Anatomy of a Murder (Preminger)
Rebecca (Hitchcock)
The Godfather, Part II (Coppola)
Distant Voices, Still Lives (Davies)

Not to mention the entire filmographies of the likes of Satyajit Ray, Mikio Naruse, Maurice Pialat, and any Howard Hawks film not called Bringing Up Baby, The Big Sleep, Red River, Rio Bravo, or El Dorado.

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