Monday, June 20, 2011

The Film That Changed My Life by Robert K. Elder

The Film That Changed My Life: 30 Directors on Their Epiphanies in the Dark by Robert K. Elder (Chicago Review Press, 2011).

If you love movies and talking about them, you will enjoy browsing this book. It’s like participating in a book club about films. Robert Elder, a film columnist in Chicago, interviews 30 directors on what film changed their life. He asks good follow-up questions, so you get to hear the directors talk about individual scenes and turning points. It makes you want to see the movies again.
Some of the directors and their choices are Danny Boyle on Apocalypse Now (and he’s not a fan of the recut, extended version Apocalypse Now Redux); Edgar Wright on An American Werewolf in London; John Woo on Rebel Without a Cause (which inspired Woo to comb his hair and talk like James Dean); and John Waters on The Wizard of Oz (his favorite scene and line: when they throw water on the witch, and she says, “Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness.”). I didn’t recognize all the directors, and learned a lot.
Elder’s own personal favorite is Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs—specifically the scene in which an undercover cop learns how to be an undercover cop.

Another book of interest to film lovers is Conversations with Scorsese by Richard Schickel (Knopf, 2011). Film critic Schickel has collected his talks over the years with this great director and the results are a fascinating read for any film buff. Scorsese admits he wants to make a classic love story. "It's not like a test," he says, "but it's like a canon of work that every filmmaker or novelist should be able to do."

~Mirdza, Adult Services

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