Print Editor Kitty Grant takes us on a trip back into the past as she goes through some of her favourite films
I typically struggle to name a favourite of anything—foods, colours, books—because my tastes change so often, and I tend to forget how much I actually do or do not like things. But there are some films that have stuck out to me, whether as recent favourites or old loves with special memories connected to them. The following is a list of what I would currently consider to be the most important films to me in order of when I watched them, but I am sure if I made the same list in a years time, it will look completely different.
The Simpsons Movie (2007)
I’m sure The Simpsons Movie was not the first film I saw in a cinema, but the memory of going to The Trafford Centre in Manchester at age six to see the characters I loved on the big screen feels like my first experience of the cinema. As a kid, The Simpsons was my favourite TV show; it was just on the border of being mature enough that watching it made me feel grownup, but kid-friendly enough that my parents let me watch it. The Simpsons Movie feels like a real love letter to fans of the series, while standing on its own brilliantly too. It may not be the perfect film, but, as arguably the last great moment in the history of The Simpsons, and my earliest cinema memory, The Simpsons Movie holds a special place in my heart.
Image credit: The Simpsons @Facebook
Pretty Woman (1990)
Choosing which ‘90s rom-com to include on this list felt like choosing which of my hypothetical children is my favourite. Whenever I see Notting Hill or Clueless or Four Weddings and a Funeral on TV, I will watch it. These films are always a source of comfort in their familiarity—saying my favourites lines along with the actors, not having to give them my full attention, and always knowing things are going to work out alright in the end. It is the brilliant chemistry between Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, as well as the amazing costumes that puts Pretty Woman, the story of a prostitute who falls in love with a wealthy client, in my top five.
Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Dr Strangelove opens with a message telling the audience that the events of the film could not really happen, and yet, watching it 30 years after the end of the Cold War, I was left terrified. The film follows a group of American politicians attempting to prevent a total nuclear apocalypse after a rogue general orders a nuclear strike on the Soviet Union. Dr Strangelove is a comedy, and while it was funny, my overwhelming emotion after watching was anxiety, but it was probably the strongest emotion a film has ever made me feel. Maybe on re-watching, I will be able to appreciate the comedy and technical brilliance, but I still have not mentally recovered from the first viewing.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)
I watched The Umbrellas of Cherbourg on YouTube with badly translated subtitles, which would usually put me off a film completely, but I was so captivated that I did not care. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg follows the story of Genviève and Guy, a young couple who are separated by Guy’s military service. It is a musical where all the lines are sung, but are, for the most part, just regular lines of dialogue that happen to be set to music, which sounds awful but works so well. Nothing about The Umbrellas of Cherbourg particularly appeals to me on paper, yet it was one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen, and has quickly become one of my favourites.
Come And See (1985)
Come And See frequently tops lists of the greatest films of all time, but for the first half an hour or so I thought it was just another overhyped old foreign film. By the end of this Belarusian film about the Nazi occupation of the Eastern Front, I completely understood the acclaim. Even many of the most disturbing films about the Second World War and the Holocaust still tend to sanitise the events because the true horrors that took place are simply too disturbing for most directors to even attempt to put on screen. Come And See shies away from nothing though, and makes sure the viewer knows what really happened on the Eastern Front. Though its message is incredibly important, Come And See is not a film for everyone; when it was first released, ambulances had to be called at some cinemas because audience reactions were so strong, but for those who can watch it, Come And See is essential viewing.
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