Darren has fired off a film meme in my direction.
1. Total number of films I own on DVD and video.
About four hundred or so on DVD.
And about two thousand on video, obsessively taped off cable over a period of about ten years. I have an upstairs closet full of them, all (once again, obsessively) labelled and indexed. I hope to watch them all some day!
2. Last film I bought.
Last week I picked up Xala (1975) by the Senegalese director Ousmane Sembene. It blew me away when I saw it on the big screen a few years ago and I never thought it would see the light of DVD. Definitely the most under-hyped DVD release of a great movie this year.
3. Last film I watched.
Late last night I popped Sergio Leone's For A Few Dollars More into the player, thinking I'd fall asleep to its desert-sun Morricone. Two hours later, eyes bugging out, I was rooting Clint Eastwood on to plug Gian Maria Volonte in the final duel.
4. Five films I watch a lot (or that mean a lot to me).
The Young Girls Of Rochefort (Jacques Demy, 1967) — The film I've seen the most number of times, upwards of twenty. It's a technicolor widescreen French musical with Catherine Deneuve and Gene Kelly. Three reasons why it's so damn amazing: Michel Legrand, Michel Legrand, Michel Legrand.
Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958) — Reminds me each time that cinema is a medium of pure hypnosis. Also, the greatest movie about romantic obsession that I know.
Frantic (Roman Polanski, 1988) — The most satisfying thriller I've ever seen. Harrison Ford is an American doctor whose wife Betty Buckley goes missing in Paris. Filled with all the Polanski trademarks — dread, absurdity and black humor. And it's carloads of fun.
Nenette Et Boni (Claire Denis, 1996) — Nobody, just nobody films the physical world and the bodies of men and women with the attentiveness and utter wonder of Denis. And her cutting is so beautiful and startling that it reminds me of a composer sustaining, for an hour and a half, an ever-surprising chord progression. I get all rapturous for a day or two after I've seen a Denis movie. How I wish this one was on DVD.
Happy Together (Wong Kar-Wai, 1997) — Most people prefer In The Mood For Love, but I like this one best because it's Wong's darkest, most visceral film. And ironically, it's got visual lyricism to burn. Maybe I just like its feeling of deep displacement (Hong Kong lovers in Buenos Aires), maybe it's the Astor Piazzolla tangos, maybe it's the performances of Tony Leung and Leslie Cheung. This one practically lives on my night-stand.
5. If you could be any character portrayed in a movie, who would it be?
Since we're wishing, why not wish for something we know will never come true? I'm thinking of a pregnant Japanese girl named Yoko who lives in Tokyo, travels a lot, teaches Japanese, and spends her free time researching a modernist composer and the places he might have lived and worked. It's the quiet, contented, self-sufficient urban existence that I've always dreamed about. Except for the "pregnant" part.
This meme is now on its way to John and Ed should they feel inclined to receive it.