We often face that Friday or Saturday night dilemma of what to watch: scrolling through Netflix or our DVD cabinet until it’s too late to watch a film anyway. Often we’re in the mood for different things: I studied film at university and have a tendency to chose more classics or art-house films, and James needs to be in a specific mood to watch one. There are classics that I know he’ll love, one example is Spike Lee’s classic Do The Right Thing – a film that I tried to get him to watch for several years before he eventually said yes and conceded that it was “pretty good”. It’s with this in mind that I devised today’s new thing: a film festival for James, to show him classic films he’s not seen before that I think he’ll like. I need to think of a catchier title…
A day spent watching films is a day well spent to me, but I know that’s not the case for everyone, so I tried to pick 3 different styles and genres to keep it interesting: A Matter of Life and Death (1946, dir: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger), Dr. Strangelove (1964, dir: Stanley Kubrik), and The Third Man (1949, dir: Carol Reed). All films I thought James would enjoy, that he hasn’t seen before.
I gave a little presentation before each one, going into a little history and context of the film, as well as a brief summary of the plot. Afterwards, I would also provide some interesting trivia and facts about each film, and ask for his thoughts.
On the whole, he enjoyed the films, some more than others. We’ve seen a few Powell and Pressburger films together, so I thought A Matter of Life and Death was a sure thing. Whilst he enjoyed it, he still preferred The Red Shoes – I’m so proud. Dr. Strangelove was his favourite, which I found surprising, but it’s so dark and funny I should have realised it would have gone down well. I thought The Third Man would have been the winner, and chose to show it last. We both love a film noir, anything with a mystery and a bit of intrigue is always a winner for us, unfortunately, I chose to show it too late, so we were both getting tired and not really concentrating. It wasn’t the ideal conditions to watch it in, and James wasn’t so impressed by it. After I told him how highly regarded it was, he agreed to give it a second chance at another date.
My at-home film festival was a success and a lot of fun. The film nerd in me loved doing the research for each film, learning some new things about each one, but most interesting was hearing James’s opinion on them. I was so happy that I could share these films with him, and he actually (mostly) enjoyed them. I can see us doing this again on various different themes, especially if we’re inside for longer periods.