Acquainting Yourself with Classics Films
Let us take a moment to consider those movie lists you often come across on websites and in magazines. Why? Because there’s a lot of them about. You know the sort, one hundred movies that you must see before you go senile, according to some well-known critic or august institution like the BFI. Or if you prefer something more hip and eclectic then here’s another one collated by British filmmaker Edgar Wright. Furthermore, these lists are often somewhat homogeneous, containing a mixture of bonafide yet ubiquitous classics, a percentage of obscure arty-farty bollocks and a few wild cards that they put in for a laugh. These will be either so-called cult movies or examples from the “it’s so bad, it’s good” school of film making.
Bearing that all-in mind, I thought it would be interesting to see what someone's reaction would be when watching one of these titles for the first time. Classic films such as Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, Vittorio De Sica's The Bicycle Thieves or Orson Welles' Citizen Kane. All of these examples have established and prodigious reputations as well as a lot of artistic and cultural baggage attached to them. Would a first-time viewer feel obliged to follow herd and add their voice to the prevailing consensus? Or if they did not enjoy the movie and felt it had specific flaws would they have the courage of their convictions to call a spade a spade?
Well to cut a long story short, if you want something done properly, then do it yourself. Therefore, I shall be kicking the process off by watching that classic sixties Bullitt. Yes, I have never seen this alleged defining point in Steve McQueen’s acting career, so I thought it would be a great example to begin with. Bullitt is a movie I’ve only ever seen snatches of. The sort of movie you find while channel surfing and watch a few minutes of before turning over yet again. Each time, I say to myself, I must get around to watching that and then I never do. Oddly enough I do own the Lalo Schifrin soundtrack which is extremely cool in that sixties movie idiom. So, I’ve secured a nice high definition copy of the film and shall endeavour to watch it and review it this week. It will be interesting to see the famous ten-minute car chase within it’s right context and make a measured judgement about it.
Now I make no bones about the fact that I like some specific types of movies more so than others. I would much rather watch a film about a serial killer murdering a bunch of teenagers by sticking a Dyson up their wazoo, than some tedious, worthy human drama about a Bolivian praegustator coming to terms with the death of their next-door neighbour’s budgie, during the Boer War. However, I also feel that it is important to be well versed in all aspects of cinema, if you wish to have an informed opinion on the subject. Therefore, the next couple of months could be very interesting as I work my way through the following films. You can also expect some eclectic reviews. If you have any interesting suggestions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do about adding them to the list.
Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (1953)
Wake in Fright (1971)