Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cinema & my lists ... ooooops !

Writing my former paper upon cinema made me realize that I could make a listing of the major films/actors/filmmakers I truly adore. I need to say as an introduction that it won’t be exhaustive listings… How can it be !

Let’s start with the easier list : Actors/actresses. 

Even though I do understand that some of their films might be nearly crap sometimes, I still like them even more :
Louise Brooks, Jean Harlow, Buster Keaton, Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor, Gena Rowlands, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Kevin Spacey, River Phoenix, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett, Paul Bettany, Kate Winslet, Ben Whishaw & Cillian Murphy.
Among them, my “true love” is, no doubt, River Phoenix. The first time I’d seen him was in 1985 in this Joe Dante’s film “Explorers” (introducing Ethan Hawke as co-star). He looked like a nerd in it, and one of my friends whom came with me at the cinema, was totally shocked to hear me say “he’s so cute”. The following films I’ve seen of him was “Stand by me” and “Mosquito Coast”. It made me fall in love with him, physically and on his way of acting. Still, he is the only one whom makes me cry a river (sic) whenever his parents left him behind in “Running on empty”. River Phoenix was not just an actor to my generation, he was an artist : actor, singer, etc. he was plenty of things and, of course, as many, died too young. It will be 20 years next year and I still remember the moment when I heard about his death. It was on the November 1st 1993, very early morning (probably around 6 am), I was listening to the radio in the bed when the guy on air said that a “young and talented actor just died in L.A. off the Viper Room club”. I was half asleep but I felt that it was River. I hadn’t heard the name and checked out all the radios frequencies to get another “breaking news”, which I did a couple of minutes later and heard “River Phoenix died in L.A.”. Saying that I was astonished, devastated and crying is obviously true. I guess that I cried for half the morning and decided myself over a tattoo that morning with his full name. I had that idea of tattoo in my mind for a long, long, time, but I wasn’t sure of what to do… at the precise moment, I knew. I had to link River to my life. Now that it has been done, I feel happy daily watching at it.

As weird as it can be, a few weeks before his death, I noticed this young british actor called Jude Law, who became one of my favorites… well, basically, my favorite ! The film was “Shopping” and was a real crappy film.

Filmmakers list :

No doubt, I would have loved to be a filmmaker. I like photography and movies and I guess that against all odds, this job is probably the more interesting in the cinema world. I am not keen on being an assistant, but I could apply for the job for any of those filmmakers :
Oliver Stone, Ken Loach, David Fincher, Terry Gilliam, Kenneth Branagh, Tim Burton & Jane Campion (a girl, yes !)…
Indeed, they all are contemporary filmmakers but “old fashion” ones drew my attention too. I like mainly 20’s and 30’s cinema from USA, UK, France, German & Russia.

Saying that Oliver Stone is my biggest fascination in cinema is so obvious. Everyone close to me is sick of hearing me talking about “how great he is”. I already said that I discovered him with “Salvador” and definitely adored his vision after “Talk Radio”. Even though he did some so-so films lately, his vision of life and the world makes me think and want to know more. Sometimes, when you watch a film, you don’t have another purpose in mind that the basic story, but whenever the director of this film opens you the world and makes you wonder about a certain topic ;  it is the main point for me. Stone is this kind of people. He basically puts a clue in the film he directs that makes me want to know about that. I guess that I read many books on Salvador, Vietnam war, Alexander the Great, etc. after watching his films. Then, I like his vision of the world.

For Ken Loach, his way of filming social environment and problems is just true and sensitive at the same time. Two of his films I love the most are “ae fond kiss”, a true love story with cultural difference, and the magnificent “When The Wind Shakes The Barley”. Nothing worth this film ! The irish context, the relationship between the brothers and the sacrifices, the difficulty of conviction and to stay focused on a decision, etc., everything is just perfect. It is one of the most moving films I’ve seen. I can’t help crying at the end of it. 

As for Terry Gilliam, I just adore his craziness and his amazing stories ! Nothing else can be added. Gilliam is just Gilliam. You like it or not. That is.

Kenneth Branagh is quite academic, very technical and his Henry V version is one the most remarkable I’ve seen. 

Tim Burton and his imagination and his way of telling are just fabulous. “Sleepy Hollow” is just a jewel of beauty and romantic moments, despite the bloody environment ! 

As for Jane Campion, the only woman from my listing, fascinates me because she has a poetry in her films. “Bright Star” is the typical sample. The images are pure, the movements are just so soft and the colors pop up to your eyes.

films list : 

The hardest part for me. I checked out the DVDs I own to try out to find out a shorter list. I could not make up my mind. I still can’t. Thus, here are the very few I love to watch regularly :
Seven, eXistenZ, Sleepy Hollow, The Breakfast Club, Half Nelson, Wall Street, Babel, Ae Fond kiss, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Usual Suspects, Running on Empty, Mosquito Coast, Bright Star, Across the Universe, Peter Pan & Penelope.. and MANY MORE !

Among all those films, The Breakfast Club is special to me. It’s just my teenage film and the wonderful moment of cinema… here is  :

Any student and pupil should see this film with a very teenage eyes and the fact that, whatever you are, you are truly living the best age of your lives !