Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Top 5 Films

It's very hard for me to do a Top 5 Films list without at least three of them being film-musicals, I hope everyone appreciates that difficulty.

I'm not generally a feature-length sort of girl, really, due mainly to the combination of factors a) that I'm too much of a penny-pincher to see films whilst they're at the cinema, and b) that I fall asleep during anything over half an hour long when watching it at home. I don't go in for "movies" a lot, so please excuse how pretentious this list looks - I assure you it represents the films that have really stayed with me.

5. Picnic at Hanging Rock
This film was the first film I ever studied, in year 7 English. There are three things that really stick in my mind with this film - the opening quote: "All we see, and all we seem, are but a dream... A dream within a dream..." - the beautiful-slash-completely creepy panflute-dominated score, and the strange, sometimes disturbing aura of pubescent feminine sexuality that pervades the film. The howling winds (genuinely recorded at Hanging Rock), the omnipresent ants, the white roses pinned to every breast, Sarah's straining, tragic affection for Miranda, and the unanswered question of the girls' disappearance make the film so perfectly disjointed, truly one of the great mysteries of our culture.

.. That being said, if you read the last chapter of the book on which it's based, it transpires that they've all turned into bush-dwelling creatures. Which not only destroys the mystery but is a very crap ending. Great thanks go to Peter Weir for avoiding that one.

4. Slumdog Millionaire
Slumdog has got to be one of the best pieces of storytelling I've ever born witness to. The way that Jamal's story weaves so perfectly through the questions, the way his life is reflected back on to you as an audience is just so wonderful and engaging, not only did I sit through the whole thing, but I stayed awake watching it again at home. Jai Ho indeed!

3. Akira
If you haven't seen this film (1988, first example of a completely cel-animated feature) then I cannot explain it to you. Go watch it, it's a visual masterpiece and an unusually intricate and genuinely disturbing representation of a futuristic dystopia. No seriously, just go watch it. The reason that it's on my list (and it's the one film that hasn't left my top 5 since I was 13) is because I think it's so important to the way that film has developed as a medium, not to mention art and anime practice.

2. Y Tu Mama Tambien
This film hasn't left my Top 5 since I was 15, so that's also a pretty big deal. Y Tu Mama tells the story of two young men who pick up an older, married woman and whisk her away on a varyingly debaucherous and introspective road trip, learning many important lessons on the way. The reason it's imprinted itself so successfully on my soul is definitely due to the tragic ending it has - the two young men are estranged by their sexual experiences with each other, and the woman leaves their lives just as she entered them, suddenly and without warning or explanation. I cannot describe how hollow I felt after I watched it for the first time, its a beautiful sort of ache that I don't think I've ever experienced again.

1. Love Actually
And now for something completely different!
Well, we're coming up to Christmas and Love Actually is my favourite film. I'm not too proud to admit that four amazing, affecting and important films (and the rest) rank below this one for me. Because it's a British rom-com featuring all my favourite British boys (Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant, Andrew Lincoln, Colin Firth and Alan Rickman) that gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling and always puts me in the mood for that tea-and-biscuits, cuddly brand of romance.

Eclectic, no? That's definitely the case with me and films, they're not really my thing until one I love comes along. What are your favourites?

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