[SBA2015] Best Individual Blog: Look beyond Hollywood films for surprises

October 2nd, 2015

SBA2015 Best Individual Blog - Filmnomenon

SBA2015 Best Individual Blog - Filmnomenon

Eternality Tan (in small) has posted over 1,200 movie reviews on his blog "Filmnomenon" since 2007. Amongst his favourite films include P.T. Anderson's "There Will Be Blood" (pictured).

1. Give us a brief introduction to yourself and your blog!

I teach cinema studies and film festival practicum (Perspectives Film Festival) at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University as an adjunct. I also co-manage my film education company The Filmic Eye, giving talks at libraries and schools. During my spare time, I write an average of 3 reviews per week on my blog. I started my blog back in 2007, so it has already been eight years!

2. What do you think is unique / special about your blog that makes it stands out from other review blogs?

I have been quite consistent over the years, amassing over 1,200 movie reviews. It took tremendous patience to build up to that number, so now it goes beyond being a blog, and functions as an archive. If there’s ever a movie you wanted to see, but don’t really know if it is worth your time, 1 out of 2 chances are that the review is already there.

3. How much time and money do you spend into running your blog on average each month?

I spend almost zero dollars, because for new releases I tend to be invited as part of the media to the premiere or preview. For older films on home video, I usually borrow them at the library@esplanade, which houses the most comprehensive collection of Blu-rays and DVDs in Singapore. But if I need to pay, I will pay to watch a certain film, especially at film festivals.

I spend about 2-3 hours watching a movie, write a review in about 30 – 45 mins, and crafting the blog post in about 30 mins. Roughly that’s an average of 3 – 4 hours spent to prepare a single review. Assuming I write 12 reviews a month, that is about 40 hours of work a month!

Amelie

French movie "Amelie" (2001) is one of the recommendations from ET. (Image: Internet)

4. Is there any type of film that you do not fancy?

I would like to think that I’m open to all kinds of films, of varying genres and languages, of different eras and cultures. That is the richness of cinema for us to savour. In fact, about half of my reviews are catered to non-Hollywood movies, which I strongly advocate.

I believe a lot of casual moviegoers are afraid of wasting their time with non-Hollywood films because these films are unfamiliar to them or are “boring”. But it takes just a few films to change their mind, if they are open-minded enough.  Hollywood is just one part of cinema; there’s Asian cinema, European cinema, independent American cinema, and so much more.

Some of the most entertaining and visually appealing films around the world that may excite casual moviegoers include “City of God” (2002) from Brazil, “Amelie” (2001) from France, “The Host” (2006) from S. Korea. Then when they are acquainted with contemporary works, they can see older classics from around the world, which to be honest is where the full richness of cinema lies.

The only kind of movies that I don’t fancy watching are… the bad ones. You might then ask: how would I know if it is bad if I don’t see it? There are proven ways, but that is a story for another time.

SBA2015 Best Individual Blog - Filmnomenon - City of God

ET also recommends Brazilian film "City of God". (Image: Internet)

5. There must be movies that you have watched countless times. Share with us!

Yes, I just caught P.T. Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood” (2007) for the sixth time. It’s a genuine masterpiece of post-2000s American cinema.

There are some favourites that I will always revisit, too many to count really, but some are more popular acclaimed fare like “The Dark Knight” or the films of Quentin Tarantino, while older works that I love to revisit are the films of Stanley Kubrick, Akira Kurosawa and other masters.

6. Share one line/quote/scene that you remember most from a movie you have watched.

The movie that changed ET's life: Schindler's List. (Image: Internet)

The movie that changed ET's life: Schindler's List. (Image: Internet)

I remember watching the unforgettable Steven Spielberg film “Schindler’s List” (1993) about the Holocaust when I was 18. When Liam Nesson who plays the title character breaks down in tears for regretting not saving one more precious life, I broke down completely. It was the moment when I felt the fullest emotional force of what cinema could bring. It was also the moment when I thought to myself: I want to find myself lost in films forever. It inspired me to write reviews till this day.

7. Have you ever given a film a REALLY bad review on your blog?

Yes, but rarely, not because I am charitable, but that I tend to avoid bad movies in the first place. So there are not really a lot of bad reviews on my blog. Although I write reviews for my readers, I started my whole love affair with cinema because I watch films for myself, and I’d like to keep it that way. I want cinema to enlighten and educate me about the world, rather than wasting my time. I am always actively seeking out good or great films, and my hope is that more people can be sensitized to seeing films as more than just entertainment, and be exposed to world cinema. That’s the ultimate aim of my blog.

8. Please give us a peek or two or as many as you like, of your collection of DVDs etc.

SBA2015 Best Individual Blog - Filmnomenon - collection

ET's private stash! (Images: Interviewee)

I used to buy a lot of DVDs in the past. But now I am more selective, and going for Blu-rays instead. I have about 400+ DVDs/Blu-rays, which is not a lot. I have another 200 more which I am temporarily housing for a good friend of mine who has gone overseas. I know of people who have thousands, so what I have now is considered small.

9. Share with us some best and worst experiences you have had in your blogging journey and how do you deal with them.

I think the best perk of being a film blogger is the invitations to premieres and previews of new releases, and sometimes to film festivals.  But that should not be your only motivation, because it is extrinsic.  To be credible and to last the lap, it is the inherent passion for cinema that is most important.

The worst?  Well, sometimes my reviews aren’t well-received, and I have received nasty comments/emails that attacked me as a person rather than my actual review. The only way to defend against these people is to respond with logic. Then they have nothing to say.  Because it’s impossible to attack good, solid logic.

Sci-Fi lovers should not miss Korean movie "The Host". (Image: Internet)

Sci-Fi lovers should not miss Korean movie "The Host". (Image: Internet)

10.  Lastly, say a few words about winning in Singapore Blog Awards 2015!

To be honest, I didn’t even expect a nomination, let alone a win. So I must say I am deeply humbled and I sincerely thank the judges for recognizing the work that I have done.

I first started writing in 2007, not sure where it would take me. This might sound cheesy or way too philosophical, but I always believe that with every film I see, and every review that I pen, the process (be it one of struggle or resonance) takes me closer to my inner self. I like to think that everyone has something that they truly treasure. Mine’s cinema, and I hope you will find yours too!

Singapore Blog Awards 2015 Best Individual Blog: filmnomenon.blogspot.sg

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SBA team post-interview thoughts: This is for you, ET. And this is the team now after reading your recommendations.

Everybody watching movies!!!

Everybody watching movies!!! (Image: Internet)

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