I realized I haven’t written much about exactly how we’re going about this process beyond what’s on the timeline, so while we’re between films I thought I’d devote some blog space to discussing it.
What’s taking so long?
Most of the films we’re chosen are on the timeline because they’re great works of art, or tell a fascinating story. Others are there because they’re the only available option. This makes for some slow movie watching periods, because it’s hard to make time to sit and watch something we know we probably won’t enjoy all that much.
Where are you on the timeline now?
We’re currently eight films ahead of the blog, meaning we’ve just watched the film about St. Patrick, while I’ve only written up to Alexander (a gap of about 800 years). This is mostly because we’ve been settling into our new house, and I’m going to make an effort to catch up on writing before we get too much further along.
Where do you find copies of all the films?
Some of the movies we’ve chosen for the timeline are rare, from a small release, or aired on television many years ago, and frankly lots are nearly impossible to find. Our sources are, in descending order: Netflix discs and Netflix Instant (the American equivalent of Lovefilm), DVDs rented from the library, series posted to YouTube or other video-sharing sites, and torrents.
It’s frustrating when we can’t find copies of something (I wrote a bit about that here and so far that list includes the animated Y Mabinogi, Vercingétorix, the 1978 BBC series “Living in the Past” and a TV version of St. Patrick’s story narrated by Liam Neeson)…but most of the time it’s a fun little treasure hunt.
Do you watch everything in order/what do you do when a new film is released?
We watch everything in order, with some backtracking allowed where necessary (for example, we are waiting for the DVD release of The Eagle).
There have been some fantastic films about British history released recently, including Bright Star, The Young Victoria and The King’s Speech. We have watched none of them. (If you know about my passion for Romantic and Victorian literature, you’ll understand the level of my commitment to this project.)
Is the timeline complete?
I created the timeline with a lot of online research, but as we begin a new period I have another look and try to add things I missed the first time around. The History of Britain series by Simon Schama is one of the things I discovered after we’d finished with pre-history, but it’s proven very useful as a primer on the Saxons and Normans, and that’s only the first episode.
Also, I’m wondering if I should create a timeline with the films intermixed with significant events or artifacts like the Lindow Man. Thoughts?
How has it been so far?
We both agree that even though we are only just now getting into post-Roman Britain (with a side journey into Europe, for context) we’ve already learned a massive amount about Britain’s history. Britain is wonderful in that many of the artifacts of even these earliest periods still exist, from henges to the Roman roads and beyond.
Any other questions about how the project is run? Post a comment below.