Pair Up—a films database

So many films. So many filmmakers!

Where does one start? And, if one has already started, where does one go next?

Are these quaint questions, these days? After all, almost everyone is long past the uncertain starting stages of their media-consuming lives. They’ve been initiated. In fact, there’s a good chance that they’re outright glutted. Still, even more, some very good and very important questions remain.

Some of them are quite familiar, and pretty basic. Always of interest. What’s good? What’s fun? What am I going to enjoy, on my own and with my loved ones?

Some questions are a little more pressing, because individual media choices affect communities, and societies. We’re not just talking about entertainment here, but of education, and even public health. How might we be more sensibly moderate, more balanced? With regard to the intellectual and the ideological, not to mention the moral, how might we use media to help us hear and understand each other?

How do we get out of our echo chambers? Where are the undiscovered countries, as it were, the brave explorers and authoritative native informants who might help us to reach and navigate and appreciate them?

We are, almost all of us, most media-aware. But we could do better. We might profitably pose ourselves, again, those first questions. Where does one start? And, if one has already started, where does one go next?

This website can help. It’s all for fun, though there are hints here, intimations, of deeper things.

It’s all based on, all proceeds from, the number two. A simple pair.

Not one! It can, after all, be the loneliest number. One might start us, but where do we go from there? One can be an anxious solitude, a single point on an otherwise empty, featureless expanse. It can be isolation, or an aberration.

But two? A second point? Now we’re talkin’! Two doesn’t necessarily make things easier. A second person, approaching our space, can lead to competition, to conflict.

Or, also, maybe, a conversation. Out of that, or more of those, come correlations. Possibly communion!

As you can see, we’ve here identified here a whole mess of film artists—directors, writers, cinematographers or actors or composers—practitioners from now and then, here and there, near and far. Having identified them, we’ve then picked two of the films they’ve made. (With certain overachievers, with a number of the most enormous contributors, we’ve made it four.)

That’s it! But that’s not all. We invite you, to take a look at one of these pairs. And then to take a look at another. And then to let the games begin.

Some of us, sometimes, love to argue. That might be fun, if you want to do that here. You’ll ask, argumentatively—Why on earth did they pick that title, and not this other one?! But even that combative salvo will start a salutary process. Because our titles will cause you to summon and affix your own. And then, if you’d like, you can go from contending to collaboration. Guess our good reasons. Add your own!

Our titles run the gamut. Sometimes we’ve chosen the obvious, or maybe the inevitable. Other times, intentionally, we’ve gone an alternative route. The alternative might seem perverse. But it might also reveal an unsuspected, now productive connection. It might open up an unexpected, beautiful vista.

We might like one or two kinds of film, most especially. Our titles will sustain and then expand that.

First, we’ve got, we love, we celebrate, short films.

We’ve got features, of various lengths.

Fiction film. Non-fiction. The ambiguous in-between, where both idioms meet. We’ve got the avant-garde, and the ingratiatingly accessible. Sometimes those things are interchangeable!

We’ve got celebrated works of art, but we’re also endorsing plain, pleasing industrial products. We’ve got outsized, operatic expressions, but also, clearly, we appreciate more modest means. Here are sincerity and satire, statements of purpose and declarations of conscience, unique innovations and the most familiar of genre conventions. We’ve got monuments and majesty. Some of these will also have been commercial flops! We’re for follies too, and for reconsidering what those things might mean. Famous films, worthy obscurities. Good, bad, ugly—with an openness, again, to redefining each category in our minds, and in the ways we apply them in our lives.

The artist/worker names are sort of separate, but accumulations will follow. As you move from list to list patterns of collaboration, patterns of affiliation will emerge.