Whenever I’m asked what my favourite X of the year is I usually pass. I generally can’t remember what I’ve watched/read/seen/heard within a week of watching/reading/seeing/hearing it and am even less likely to definitely recall whether that X was actually made in the past year or came from some other time.
This year however I have some definitive proof of things and dates so I am going to pick out a couple of films from the OutsideLeft virtual visit to the SXSW festival as particular highlights.
First up my documentary of the year is Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror an intriguing three hour investigation into that nebulous genre that moves way beyond the obvious Wicker Man.
I ended up being quite a fan of hairdresser films (!) and I think that the SXSW standout for me was the revelatory performance by Udo Kier in Swan Song and I’ll shout out Deadly Cuts as my favourite comedy film of the year.
Beyond the films I covered for OutsideLeft most of the things I watched were definitely not from 2021. These included dozens of obscure film noirs (all freely available online) and a whole bunch of films I remembered renting on VHS from my local off-licence in the early 1980s. And, to be honest, I probably had more fun hanging out with Humphrey Bogart or rewatching films like Xtro than I did with almost all of the new movies I was sent links to.
Other than films I’ll point out that the amazing Don Cherry/ Moki Cherry book Organic Music Societies was my book of the year and, though I never really cover any music here, Natalie Bergman’s Mercy was maybe my favourite new record and the expanded version of Yabby You’s Conquering Lion released by Pressure Sounds was my favourite reissue.
Roll on 2022 I’m already looking forward to forgetting whatever happens.
Kirk Lake is a writer, musician and filmmaker. His published books include Mickey The Mimic (2015) and The Last Night of the Leamington Licker (2018). His films include the feature films Piercing Brightness (2014) and The World We Knew (2020) and a number of award winning shorts.
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