B.C. on Film: My Favourite Films

These are just a few of my favourite films:

The Hunger

The Hunger (1983) dir: Tony Scott.
Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, Susan Sarandon, Cliff de Young

My friend Chris once spoke about this movie when I was in high school; he was a Bowie fan, and mentioned that David Bowie gets old. Several years later, I rented it on videotape, and was amazed at the colour and atmosphere of the film. There's a quietness about the film, an understatedness that amazes me. And the music: Bauhaus singing Bela Lugosi's Dead, Shubert, and Lakme. I have the soundtrack (which lacks Bauhaus, incidentally), and Bach's Suite # 1 for Solo Cello in G-Major can always make me sad.

The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs (1990) dir: Jonathan Demme.
Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Diane Baker

I saw this film nine times in the theatre (once at the Ontario Place Cinesphere), and I am fascinated by the film. My friend Diane and I would go see it over and over again. It was one of the first films in which I noticed Scott Glenn and Diane Baker, although I've seen them in many more since then; Scott Glenn, in particular, intrigues me.

I generally don't like scary films; certainly not serial killer flicks with blood and gore. But I'm amazed by the way that this movie gets into all the dark places in your brain and terrifies you without needing to horrify you. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of telling my film prof that I like this movie, and now she thinks I can't really be a serious film student.

I also really like the treatment of women in this film. Clarice Starling is clever, resourceful, and tough. Even the kidnap victim refused to be a wimpering wallflower; she comes up with a reasonable, intelligent plan to escape.

Annie Hall

Annie Hall (1977) dir: Woody Allen.
Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane, Paul Simon, Shelley Duvall, Janet Margolin, Christopher Walken, Colleen Dewhurst, Marshall McLuhan
also, look for Jeff Goldblum, Shelley Hack, and Sigourney Weaver!

One of the first films that taught me that film conventions can be broken! I love the way Woody Allen can talk to the audience, walk into his own flashbacks, and interact with cartoons. The scene with Marshall McLuhan had me in stitches.

I like the way Woody Allen uses humour to talk about really deep topics, and although "relationship stories" abound in Hollywood, there aren't many treatments of what relationships are about (although Forget Paris was a pleasant surprise). Woody has a meta-discussion about relationships, which starts out with "There's this joke...".

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1993) dir: Francis Ford Coppola.
Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves

Again, a movie with colour. Beautiful picturesque scenes, rich with detail. It really began to irritate me that people would go to see this film and say that they didn't like it because it wasn't "realistic", and it wasn't scary. Feh.

As for realism, I love the way the film doesn't try to be realistic; rather than, for example, create historic Transylvanian castles and costume, it creates what a Victorian might imagine Transylvavia looks like. And as for scary, hell, it was a love story. Some people claimed that the whole romance thing wasn't true to the original story, but I've always believed there was an underlying theme of repression of sexuality in the book; Dracula is a monster not only because he's undead -- he is also able to enter the bedrooms of young women, and take them in their sleep. Tell me that's not a sexual image! And Gary Oldman just oozes sex. Yum.

"See me. See me now."

Cinema Paradiso

Cinema Paradiso (1989) dir: Giuseppe Tornatore.
Philippe Noiret, Jacques Perrin, Antonella Attili, Pupella Maggio, Salvatore Cascio

This is such an uplifting film. The first half is fun in a childlike way, as the movie explores the relationship between Alfredo, a curmudgeonly projectionist, and Toto, a wide-eyed altar boy with a love of cinemas. Then it becomes sweetly sad, and then reflective, and finally, there's a final scene that never fails to cheer me up. I can't describe it; go rent the videotape and see for yourself.

The Linguini Incident

The Linguini Incident (1991) dir: Richard Shepard.
Rosanna Arquette, David Bowie, Eszter Balint, Andre Gregory, Buck Henry, Viveca Lindfors, Marlee Matlin
(and cameo appearance by Iman).

Well, it's a very quirky film. Lucy (Arquette) is a waitress at Dali's, a terminally trendy restaurant, but she dreams of being a world-famous escape artist. Monte (Bowie) wants to marry her, or anyone, but it must be by Friday, or he may be killed. Is he a secret agent, slimy bartender or just a pathological liar? And Vivian is designing self-defense lingerie. It's an odd film, but a really fun trip.

Lucy: We should go to the park this weekend and watch all the children shooting squirrels with their BB guns.
Vivian: True. We don't appreciate nature, enough.

Dangerous Liaisons

Dangerous Liaisons (1988) dir: Stephen Frears.
Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Uma Thurman, Keanu Reeves

I don't know why, but I've always been fascinated by characters who a great manipulators (it's the reason I'm fond of House of Games), and this film is fascinating in that you have two great manipulators toying with people around them while also outsmarting each other.

This is one of those films that ends with a powerful final scene.

When Night is Falling

When Night is Falling (1995) dir: Patricia Rozema.
Rascale Bussières, Rachel Crawford, Don McKellar, Tracy Wright, Henry Czerny, David Fox

This is another movie that is wonderfully visual, with amazing colour. Camille is a professor at a Christian college who is engaged to Martin, a fellow theologian. However, she becomes fascinated by, and then attracted to, Petra, a circus performer, putting her in conflict with everything in her life.

Rozema is the director of I've Heard the Mermaids Singing, and she guest-lectured one of my Screenwriting classes back in '92.

Copyright © 1997 by B.C. Holmes. Last updated December 25th, 1997.

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