Boxwalla Film Subscription Box Review – December 2015
Boxwalla is a really unique subscription box service that offers four different types of subscriptions: food, beauty, books, and film. Subscribers can subscribe to multiple boxes, or can hop around among the four boxes from shipment to shipment. Fun! I received the December Film Box last week to review. I love movies! Boxwalla’s website states, “‘Art Cinema is Boring.’ The Film Box challenges this notion by demystifying the work of the best filmmakers, by creating a context within which to view them.”
Boxwalla kindly sent us this box for review purposes. (Check out our review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: Boxwalla Film Box
The Cost: $49.95 per shipment (every two months)
The Products: Two films from The Criterion Collection plus an insert are mailed to you. Additional material is emailed to you before and after you have watched the films.
Ships to: US for free, Canada for $15, Internationally for $25
Boxwalla’s packaging is beautiful! The box is really high quality and very sturdy. It could easily be used for storage or gifts. This letter was included with information about the films that I was sent. Honestly, I didn’t read it before I watched the movies because I hate any kind of spoiler! I really feel that when you are watching film as an art form, you should watch it without preconceptions, take what you take from it, and then seek out context afterwards if you want. I did read it afterwards, though, and it was helpful.
December’s theme was “Two Spanish Strokes.”
Film #1: The Exterminating Angel – Value $28.04 on Amazon
This movie was freaky! I liked it! This movie is essentially about a fancy dinner party where something paranormal starts happening. Like most art films, I didn’t have any idea what was going on for the first 30 minutes or so, and it kept me guessing the whole time. It wasn’t quite a horror movie, but it had its moments. It was really effective at keeping me kind of creeped out for unknown reasons for a really long time. That’s good cinema!
Film #2: The Spirit of the Beehive – Value $21.45 on Amazon
I didn’t like this movie as much, but I liked it, and there were things about it that I loved. This movie is about a little girl in a damaged family who is seeking a connection to the spiritual world. The two leading children in this movie were absolutely beautiful! The music was also incredible, and in combination with the setting gave me a very alone, austere feeling. This movie also kept me guessing, but in a much different way. It had a much different feel to it. The movie ended with a lot of loose ends, which always kind of bothers me, but in this case I think was intentional and beneficial.
Both movies are part of The Criterion Collection, which is an organization that works to preserve and restore classic and modern films that are considered important. The films are published in editions that offer the highest technical quality as well as fantastic supplemental material.
In addition to the letter, I did receive the emails that were sent to subscribers to read before and after watching the films. The “before” information was interesting but the “after” information was much more valuable. The context for both these films was the Spanish Civil War and the ensuing dictatorship which lasted from the 1940’s into the 1970’s. The Exterminating Angel was made in the 40’s and The Spirit of the Beehive was made in the 1970’s but set in the 40’s. They also both represent films that were allowed out of Spain and into international cinema during a time of censorship.The “after” email had a link to a really good essay that explained how the two movies were interconnected by what was happening in Spain at that time.
Verdict: If you are someone who loves independent, classic, and art films, you will love the Boxwalla Film Box! Both films were highly cerebral, and this is the most important thing to know if you are considering subscribing or gifting this subscription. I love films like this, so I was in heaven. I not only enjoyed watching them and trying to comprehend everything I was seeing, I enjoyed effortlessly learning all about 20th century Spain afterwards as I explored the context of the two films. The value is just about equal to the cost of the box, but in this case, the subscription is much more about curation and the value of the supplemental materials. This was a big win for me! My husband watched the Spirit of the Beehive with me, and he was pretty consumed by it, too. To us, movies that you still think about for days or weeks to come are always the best.
What do you think of Boxwalla Film box?