UPDATE FROM LATE FEBRUARY 2023: ROLAND BARFS FILM DIARY was an experiment into the recording and critique of everyday life through the lens of casual film criticism. between 1 january 2019 and 27 february 2023 i watched and wrote about 1000 films. i am not doing it any more, but i might do something else here soon. if you want to dig around in the archives, you can take out a paid subscription. thanks for checking it out.
hello. my name’s andrew key, and i’m a writer based in sheffield. roland barfs film diary is an ongoing experiment into the recording of everyday life through the lens of casual film criticism. people read it for various reasons: they like films and want to disagree with my opinions, or they want recommendations for films to watch, or they’re voyeurs who like the grubby feeling of reading someone else’s diary. in 2021 roland barfs film diary was named one of the 20 best culture newsletters by elephant magazine.
i watch quite a lot of films, then i write about them afterwards. i also write about what i do on the day that i watch them. i dropped out of grad school and i’ve never studied film. i’m not an academic, and i’m also not a journalist. i just really like watching and thinking about films, and occasionally have something to say about them.
entries typically go out monday mornings (approx 07:30 UK time). i usually send a post weekly but sometimes it’s fortnightly, if i don’t watch enough films in a particular week. usually i write about 3–5 films per week, sometimes more. if i don’t watch 3 films in a week, i won’t send a newsletter. that’s the only real structuring rule. every instalment feels more or less the same: this is deliberate.
i’ve been doing this since january 2019, and i’ve written about every single film i’ve watched in that period. i’ve written about around 900 films as of autumn 2022. i will stop at 1000.
you can subscribe for free, and you’ll get every instalment, but if you enjoy reading the film diary please consider signing up for a monthly or yearly subscription, which will support me and enable me to keep writing it.
if you take out a paid subscription, you get access to the film diary archive, which you can search here.
if you subscribe for free, you’ll get the weekly updates but previous instalments of the film diary will be locked on the website after two weeks. if you can’t afford a subscription but still want to help financially, you can buy me a coffee, or commission me to write about a film of your choice. all financial contributions greatly help me think this is a worthwhile way to spend my one life on this earth.
if you’d like to hear me talk about the thinking behind the film diary, and my feelings about the project, i discuss it on a podcast for PRISMS in oslo, which was recorded in may 2022.
i also write various other bits and pieces, here and there. you can see a list of recent publications at my website. if you have any questions about the film diary, or have any strong feelings in response to what i write, or if you just want to say hi, please feel free to email me: andrewpaulkey [at] gmail [dot] com.