By Adam Ray Palmer
I’ve wanted to do this feature for a while and finally, I have sat down and had the chance to get on with it.
This article is near enough a substantial diary entry of my personal film history, throughout my entire life. I thought I would share with you all six films that shaped my film passion.
I’m hoping to get more people to tell their film history on Cineroom soon, but for now, here’s mine…
I’ve always enjoyed films, but I think most people would say that. When you’re young and your parents are busy doing their parental duties, sometimes a quick fix is to put a movie on to keep you distracted; I imagine I had that a few times. Films like The Flintstones, Jurassic Park, Little Shop of Horrors and The Italian Job stick out for me – strange mix I know. But none of those is the first film that ‘made me’… that accolade goes to Pans Labyrinth.
I chose this film because this is my earliest film memory where I actually connected to cinema. It was a school trip with the Media Studies class and it was our first outing to see a film that not a lot of people had seen at the time of its releasing. This was the first film that made me love cinema even more, and confirmed to me I wanted to study the art of film further (I didn’t even want to do Media Studies at the time). Pans Labyrinth is whimsical, alluring and beautifully shot – this is where it all began.
Within 12 months of seeing Pans Labyrinth, I had decided my future at college and began reading Media Studies in more depth. This took me to my first ever film festival in the north of England. My classmates and I went to the Bradford Film Festival for the day and managed to catch three films. One of which was Die Welle (The Wave).
This is my second film that ‘made me’ for two reasons. Firstly, I caught this film at a film festival, nevertheless how prestigious the Bradford Film Festival was (or in this case, wasn’t); it still opened my eyes to film events. And secondly, this is one of the first foreign-language movies I saw, along with Pans Labyrinth, that struck a chord with me. I found The Wave thrilling from start to finish. It begins so calmly but the intensity ramps up and up and never stops until the credits – it’s relentless. Looking back now, it annoys me that I didn’t open myself up to more foreign-language films at that time. You miss a lot of hidden gems if you keep to the mainstream.
The third film that ‘made me’ is a slight curveball. It doesn’t hold much ‘important’ significance in my life a part from being my favourite comedy of all time, and the fact that a best friend and I could re-quote the movie line by line. Obviously, I am talking about the comedy giant I Love You, Man.
The chemistry between Paul Rudd and Jason Segel is fantastic, the writing is as witty as can be, the comedic quips throughout are gut-crunchingly funny and don’t get me started on how many memorable sequences there are. I was so infatuated with this film in 2009 that I even made my Facebook profile ‘Peter Klaven’ for a few days – is that weird? Maybe, but I don’t care… Laters on the menjay!
The fourth film that was the making of my movie passion is the incomparable It’s A Wonderful Life. Setting the scene… it was December 2009 and I was in my first year of university. The module I was currently studying was American Hollywood. We were looking at early Hollywood movies and the stars that anchored the classics. We needed a case study to watch and analyse alongside what we had been learning, as Christmas was upon us, there was only one film.
Along the similar lines of my reasons for Die Welle, like foreign-language films, before studying this module I had very limited experience of classic Hollywood. I hadn’t watched many Hitchcock films, Marilyn Monroe films or any of the classics. This module opened my eyes to the beauty of pre-1960. It’s A Wonderful Life struck me so impactfully that I now watch it every Christmas holiday. Watching this film, Die Welle and Pans Labyrinth at various times of my academic life; it confirmed to me that I didn’t want film and cinema to just be a hobby, but now a career.
The next film that will live long in my memory as a piece of my personal film history is a weird one. It’s not the best film, it doesn’t really mean anything to anyone and it won’t go down as a classic in years to come – but Everest is special to me.
When I left university, I knew I wanted to work in television or film. My first few jobs were in the TV industry and something just didn’t click with me. After a year, I wanted to pursue other options. I always loved to write, whether it be poems or film treatments, but then I decided to turn to reviewing. I started blogging in 2014 and then out of this, Cineroom was born in mid-2015. So, what’s this got to do with Everest? Well, in September 2015, I attended my first ever international film festival (Venice people, Venice!) as a fully-fledged accredited reviewer. The first official day of my first official festival visit had one film screening early doors, and that was the epic tale of Everest. So that’s the main reason why Everest makes this list… because it was the first film I saw as an accredited reviewer.
The final film in this ‘made me’ article is a movie that has only been out for a couple of months. I first caught the movie at the Venice Film Festival and then again in London a month later; and both times it just connected with me. I can’t help but just fall in love with La La Land.
For the two-hour runtime, La La Land has me perplexed every time. It’s astonishing filmmaking from Damien Chazelle and top-quality acting from Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. It’s just whimsical and gives me chills whenever I watch it. It’s one of my favourite films of all time and the type of a film that I think I would love to make – if I was a tiny bit talented at filmmaking that is.
So, there we have it, the six films that mean a lot to me. I’m sure in years to come I could revisit this article and add to it. For now, though, you have had an insight into my early film-life and read what movies made me.
What’s films have made you? Comment below.