Boxwalla Film Subscription Box Review – February 2016
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 February 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 $11.95, Internationally for $18.95
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 Facets of the East.”
Film #1: An Autumn Afternoon – Value $16.99 on Amazon
Sometimes I’m glad I watched an “Important Movie” even when I didn’t particularly enjoy it. This is one of those times. An Autumn Afternoon is a sort of slice-of-life movie about a handful of characters in Yokohama, Japan around 1960. I kept waiting for something intresting to happen, but it never really does. Then I thought about how tightly circumscribed Japanese culture was at that time and wondered if something interesting had happened and I just missed it. It turns out no, I didn’t. The film’s director, Yasujiro Ozu, is considered “one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema,” and his key method in this film is one of the reasons why: observation without judgement. When I read the essays after watching the film, I understood that the daily chatter and routine activities shown in the film are subtle commentary on the status of Post-WWII Japanese culture. I think I need to watch this again.
Film #2: Close-Up – Value $21.99 on Amazon
On the other hand, I loved this movie! Loads of interesting things happen in it, it’s touching, and it has a great surprise ending. And like An Autumn Afternoon, it reveals to the world a glimpse of real life, although in this film the culture it depicts is Iran in 1990. Additionally, this film is brilliant because it is perhaps the most unique and clever merging of reenactment and documentary ever.
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 received 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 hugely valuable. I actually enjoy reading the essays and reflecting on what I’ve seen, plus learning about the context in which the film was made and released. The essays are pretty educational, and they make me want to see the films again!
Verdict: I am loving my Boxwalla Film subscription so far! This is definitely a great subscription for true cinephiles. Be forewarned that it’s pretty cerebral, but if you are the type of person who loves classic, independent, and foreign films, you’ll love this box. Last month, some readers pointed out that these movies are available on Hulu, which is true, but they won’t always be, and with Hulu you don’t get the wealth of supplemental materials that comes with the DVD sets from The Criterion Collection. That’s something to think about. Other readers suggested that if you have a little group of friends who are all film nuts, this would be a great subscription to purchase together, split the cost, and watch the films together every two months. I think that’s a really fun idea!
What do you think of Boxwalla Film Box?