I remember being a bit naive about cinema. There was a time when I only cared about James Cameron and other blockbuster films (I am looking forward to Avatar). I was a movie lover to be sure but I had never heard of Godard or Cassavetes or Matthew Barney etc. One day in about 1994-95 I decided to rent my first foreign language film. I was against this for I felt, like a lot of people, that it would be impossible to watch the movie if I had to read the bottom of the screen. But there was a film in Blockbuster that had such an irresistable cover that I just had to rent it. I had been eyeing it for a couple of weeks and I finally broke down and got it. It was Krzysztof Kieslowski’s last film "Three Colors: Red. The first time I tried to watch it I fell asleep and I just assumed that I had been right all along. For some reason I decided to give it a second try and after it was finished my sense of cinema was changed forever.
And for you?
‘2001’ — before, I was just your average movie fan, but afterwards, different ballgame.
Nice choices. For me, it would have to be Solaris by Tarkovsky. It was my first experience of his work, and it totally blew me away. Started watching around midnight planning to split it up, but I was too hypnotized to turn it off. The ideas and their presentation completely changed my outlook on film and has impacted my thought process.
For me, the gateway to cinephilia was the Coen brothers, starting with Fargo.
Metropolis, taught me that film had an old, rich, marvelous history that I should help continue.
This is so strange, ‘cause I don’t know exactly when [or even if there was a specific film] that changed me or switched me from watching ‘movies’ to ‘films. But if I were pressed, I’d probably have to go with the Coens’ “O Brother . . .”
The Exorcist – On a chilled October evening alone visiting Boston, and staying with a group of recovering heroin addicts, I decided to see the exorcist. I would never again look at movies as a simple pleasure pastime.
When I turned 23, I had an interest in film that was very strong, but hadn’t been developed at all. My dad, as a birthday present, got me all access passes to the New Orleans Film Festival (not exactly the world’s strongest, but that’s where we lived). I saw two movies there that completely sunk me into this – Sokurov’s “Russian Ark” and the Japanese horror film “The Eye.” I didn’t even particularly like “The Eye,” but they were the first foreign films I’d ever seen in a theater, and I remember that night thinking that I needed to see a whole lot more. Almost seven years later, now I might have seen too many haha.
You can never see too many foreign films. Or any other kind for that matter. ;)
You know, Josh, I personally feel the same way. It’s my wife who disagrees. :)
My wife also disagrees. I have to sneak in subtitled films—and even though when I do, she ends up loving them—it’s a battle every time.
None, for me independent comics led to independent film. I did remember markers when I backtracked, however. I remember at 16 or seventeen being bored one night and randomly switching on the television. What was happening on the screen made no sense. Characters were talking incessantly about the nature of love or talking over each other about selfish concerns. It was like the film turned so many cliches inside out and I had no idea what I was watching or whether it was any good or not.
The film was Love Streams by John Cassavetes and while I didn’t get it at the time when looking back it somewhat prepared me to never expect anything from great cinema but the unexpected.
Isn’t that crazy? My wife complains all the time about the movies I watch, but the other day, I put on Bille August’s Pelle the Conqueror and within 10 minutes, she’s HOOKED. That was like three days ago. Today she’s back to complaining about it. What a weirdo.
Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
That film moved me so much, really got to me. Visual poetry.
I do not particularly enjoy films touching my clothes.
Kai: Oh, well that’s just plain unavoidable. Surrender before you’re discovered! ;)
For me it is not so much a case of any one film changing me massively as it is several films changing me in small ways. American Beauty, 12 Angry Men, Pan’s Labyrinth and The Fountain are the four films I usually say got me in to films and developed my interests in the medium, however there are many other films which have changed me in smaller, subtler ways – Pather Panchali, Last Year at Marienbad, Oldboy, West Side Story, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Taxi Driver and Brazil to name a few.
“Passion Fish.” Not a particularly mind-blowing film, nothing groudbreakingly cinematic, but it was the first film I saw as a child that wasn’t about superheroes, action, the mafia, explosions and other blockbuster aspects, which is what i thought films were. And then I saw this film, which had NONE of that. It confused me and I needed more films like that to understand what this was.
So for me; “Passion Fish”
Fanny & Alexander
Yes Alex, I see that’s where you got your name from. :)
I have to choose a few movies and I present them in the chronological order in which I saw them:
Rashoman (Akira Kurosawa)
I caught this on TV as a young teenager and while it did not make me a cinephile, it had an effect on how I have been interpreting reality since then.
Working Girls (Lizzie Borden)
My first low-budget Indie film courtesy of my university’s film club. It made me realize how such films can show topics in a way that is very different from mainstream flicks and I started attending more of the club’s screenings.
Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders)
Film images can be poetic?? I was getting hooked.
La Strada (Federico Fellini) & Seconds (John Frankenheimer)
I had a sick day off and was scanning the TV to fight off boredom when I stumbled on to them. Then, I made the great discovery that ‘old’ B&W films weren’t as boring as I had imagined. (I guess I had not learned the lesson from Rashomon…)
La Promesse (Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne)
So films can intelligently highlight contemporary social issues and leave a lasting impression?? (I guess catching glimpses of it in my surroundings or via news and articles wasn’t enough – I was shallower…)
L’avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni) & Andrei Rublev (Andrei Tarkovsky)
Seeing these back to back as part of a Kino Films retrospective had such an effect on me that I actively started seeking auteur cinema of the so-called masters.
Sullivan’s Travels (Preston Sturges)
The sharp wit of this movie opened my eyes to the goldmine of early American cinema. I had also just purchased a DVD player and I was beginning to appreciate how DVD extras can illuminate films and filmmakers. I condemn the Criterion Collection for wasting several hours of my life since then…
The Magnificent Ambersons.
Andrei Rublev (Andrei Tarkovsky)
La Dolce Vita, it turnly changed my movie perferences after I watched it.
I hope every single member of this forum posts in this thread.
This is the kind of stuff I can read forever.
So anyway, during the summer of 1970 (when I was but a lad) my parents left me to be babysat
by my father’s cousin, a college-age girl who was having her school mates to the house for a sleepover.
Once they got bored with me, I was told I could stay up late and watch television all night—as long as I did not bother them.
Fair deal, because I had already enjoyed during childhhod a steady stream of movies.
I loved movies.
One problem: that night’s feature was a re-run of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,
a 1968 tv version produced by Dan Curtis (Dark Shadows) and directed by Charles Jarrot.
Jack Palance in the main roles, with Denholm Eliot and lots of Brit stage and screen legends.
Excellent production, by the way.
This was my introduction to the RADICAL idea that a mere man could embody evil, cruelty, and destruction.
Think about it: a lone male taking London apart, as opposed to a group of vampires, space monsters, Godzilla, or sundry fantastic beings.
Throw in the fact that he was ENJOYING these bad deeds and bragging about it all,
and you have a new creature: a man capable of anything, and incapable of caring about the results.
I don’t know why, but the very concept shook my young psyche to its core.
Somehow, even at that tender age, I suspected that I was seeing things I was not meant to see.
More significantly, I was to some extent self-aware enough to appreciate a discovery.
Since I was so troubled and frightened and CHANGED by the story I was watching unfold,
it must be possible to get “lost” in a movie.
Prior to this moment it was my conviction—drilled into me by grownups—that “movies were not real.”
But I discovered on that evening that what motion pictures can do to you is entirely real.
I never looked back.
confession time: i was a teenager with raging hormones so im always eager to see skin on films. and then i had my hand on chen kaige’s temptress moon. very sensuous but not enough skin for me hahaha so i decided to rent this film entitled ’in the mood for love" and then bam…. i never stopped craving for more quality films foreign or not hollywood or local. skin or no skin. hehe
btw, i have probably seen in the mood for love (and most of wkw’s) 50 times or so….
“In 1945 I saw my first movie with my grandmother — Anchors Aweigh. All I remember was a man dancing with a sad mouse. When I was eight I was allowed to see Strangers on a Train, and while I did not understand all of it, I did sense enough to convince me that movies would never be the same for me. Since I had a job at a supermarket hauling customers’ groceries home, I could not see the normal kids fare on Saturday. However, half of the money I made allowed my to see the Sunday and the Wednesday features each week. So I saw movies such as Singin’ in the Rain — a movie that made me happy; Rear Window — during which I bit off the top of an umbrella when Grace Kelly went to Thorwald’s apartment; Cinderella — a movie that turned me into a rabid anti-Disney fanatic; and Vertigo — even now my old friends mock my movie suggestions reminding me that I excitedly recommended a movie that they thought was very, very boring.”
American Beauty was giving me a whole new outlook on life, if not just in film. After that film I think it was that I decided I’d like to be a writer and director, and since then I’ve been just getting into as much of every director’s work as I can (though I have to admit, I really don’t appreciate all the films I end up seeing when trying to fulfill a more well-rounded knowledge of films, it actually gets to the point where, sadly, watching some films seems like work…) A Clockwork Orange was also really inspiring, though I don’t concern myself so much with what the film is saying so much as I do with its style and use of music and composition and other techniques.
“A Clockwork Orange.” Being 16 years old, trying to figure out how I could make choices for myself that would positively affect my life, and then for this story to show in its imitable way that people are, and should, be left to make their own choices, and to suffer or reap the rewards that come from them.