How did you get into older, obscure films?

Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 11:26 pm

How did you get into older, obscure films?

#1 Post by Sai » Sun Mar 20, 2005 9:59 pm

This topic will probably make me sound like a lost user from, but what the heck.

On this board I see a lot of users talking about films and director's I've absolutely never heard of, and it made me wonder how everyone found out about the lesser-known gems.

A little over a year ago I never even heard of Fritz Lang, let alone Tarkovsky. I was brought up on a whole lot of Disney, and an occasional Italian film from the fifties and sixties that my father loves. With the help of the internet (I'm not ashamed to say the IMDb Top 250 helped me a great deal), DVDs (such as those from Criterion) and online shops (since here, in one of Europe's smallest countries, it's hard to find, say, Pitfall) I started to watch movies I'd otherwise never have seen, but since most of the users on this forum are relatively old (internet-messageboard-speaking) and most likely found out about this huge neither-region of cinema in a different way I can't help but ask myself 'how?' Were it cinema-clubs, video stores or something else? What (movies) made you want to delve deeper in cinema, and how come you guys seem to know everything about, say, Sadao Yamanaka without the help of new media?

User avatar
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

#2 Post by zedz » Sun Mar 20, 2005 10:42 pm

I was thinking about a related (and age-related) topic recently: the idea that world cinema is so much more accessible in the DVD era than it was when I, for one, was growing up, and that this means that new cinephiles probably have quite a different relationship with cinema history than I did.

For me, there were literally hundreds of film classics that I knew intimately through published accounts, but had never actually seen. (Many film texts of the 60s and 70s included detailed synopses or close readings because the author had to assume the reader had not and could not see the film under discussion). There was no repertory cinema nearby, no video stores in existence, so in terms of seeing film classics I was totally at the mercy of television schedules. A film like Citizen Kane, for example, I was well aware of (and desperate to see) for nearly ten years before it turned up at the local film society. That initial film society year filled in some more aching gaps (Rules of the Game, Beauty and the Beast) and stunned me with amazing films I'd never heard of (Gertrud, The Colour of Pomegranates, Three Crowns of a Sailor).

But in the absence of available cinema, all that reading made me a vicarious cinephile, and at least I knew what to look for in the TV schedules. One very important watershed was the fleeting advent of a late night 'World Cinema' slot in the early 80s, which introduced me to subtitled cinema (I still recall the electric buzz of encountering the not-very-good Riso Amaro and the very-good-indeed Knife in the Water and Ivan the Terrible) and set me off vicariously experiencing a new world of film history.

For a long time the films were so few and far between that each discovery would spark off more research (we're talking libraries here, not your newfangled internet junk). Gradually, films became more accessible, but there are still dozens of films I've had in my head for twenty years or more but have never seen on a screen. And now, added to those, are the wonderful films I've seen only once over the years, that I'd love to see again, but remain unreleased and seem in danger of slipping off the critical radar.

So, in answer to your question, some of the idiosyncratic corners of cinema I'm interested in come from that initial vicarious, voracious reading. Film writing in the 60s and 70s was pretty promiscuous, and the canon was still quite fluid, so you'd find authors embracing a whole lot of then-contemporary cinema that has now become fairly obscure (I can still discover enticing little corners of international cinema every time I return to Roud's Critical Dictionary, for example). And the rest of it comes from twenty years of avid moviegoing, and all the odd little surprises encountered at all those film festivals, film society programmes and so on.

User avatar
Steven H
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:30 pm
Location: NC

#3 Post by Steven H » Sun Mar 20, 2005 11:20 pm

I'm jealous of your introduction zedz. Mine is fairly boring, I worked at Pizza Hut in high school and had friends who worked at Blockbuster. I got all the free pizzas I wanted and had a relatively light problem with insomnia (more boredom than anything). These friends wanted pizza and I wanted something to do 'til five in the morning, so we traded for movies. After months of this I started to run out of normal (or I should say "non subtitled") fare and ended up in the foreign section. I can probably credit Wings of Desire with creating a drive in me to see as many art films as I can (though that particular one hasn't quite retained the original shine I was introduced to).

I picked up a book for a dollar at a used book store which was basically just a huge list compiled by Entertainment Weekly called The Greatest Movies Ever Made which also gave me a lot of pointers. I've recently gone back and looked at this and all the titles I have underlined to find out more about I'm either completely familiar with or somewhat familiar with... and it's strange to remember back not too long ago when they seemed so alien and odd to me.

About new media and DVDs though, I certainly think it's good for the exposre of film, but spine number talk and collector edition speak leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Ah well.

User avatar
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:56 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY

#4 Post by rumz » Mon Mar 21, 2005 1:27 am

How did you 'get into' older/obscure films?
Here's a stupid but honest answer: by judging films by their covers. This practice has resulted in many films I've no interest in seeing again, but it's also afforded me the experience of seeing something really affecting for the first time without any prior knowledge of what it's about. I would say very generally that a film is its most potentially effective when the viewer has no idea what it contains or what will happen in it--and my (stupid) advice can afford you this opportunity, although the best discoveries may require a little delving. And after years of doing this, I've begun to trust directors, certain countries, genres and subgenres, decades or other filmic epochs, etc.

User avatar
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2004 2:41 am
Location: Waging War With The DVD Monkey On My Back

#5 Post by bcsparker » Mon Mar 21, 2005 1:40 am

It was an issue of Rolling Stone sometime in '92 or '93. In a little sidebar, in a list, a movie title caught my eye - The Killer. No real plot synopses, mind you. Just the name. Luckily, I saw it soon after in the video store. I've been a John Woo fan ever since, and it definitely sent me off the beaten path. It definitely put me off mainstream Hollywood action movies.

Six or seven years later, during which time I became an intermediate video hound, I stumbled across a book at the library. Cult Movies by Danny Peary. It and it's two sequels changed much of my movie taste. They introduced me to a galaxy of titles I'd never heard of - El Topo, Pink Flamingos, Beauty and the Beast, Emmanuelle, Eraserhead, The Wild Bunch, Freaks....I could go on and on.

It's amazing how the little things can send you along a path. Three years ago, I bought a cheap Lucio Fulci film in a bargain bin. Nowadays, I have a ridiculous Italian horror collection. It's all part of the journey. That's what makes it so fun.

Great idea for a thread, by the way.

User avatar
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 1:38 pm
Location: Berkeley, CA

#6 Post by Anthony » Mon Mar 21, 2005 1:59 am

It all started 15 years ago when I was fired from my job. I filed for unemployment and then stopped by Blockbuster for a little entertainment. My girlfriend at the time thought we should rent something meaningful, to which the teenage clerk behind the counter recommended we watch "My Life as a Dog" by Lasse Hallstrom. It was my first experience/encounter with a foreign film... and I was captured. We then proceded to go back and rent every foreign video that they had (which of course wasn't much... probably 20-30 videos). Later I found a video store that specialized in rare/cult/foreign movies and have never gone back to Blockbuster. I curse the Blockbuster empire today, but will forever be thankful to that kid who recommended that Hallstrom video.

User avatar
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 4:27 pm
Location: NJ

#7 Post by exte » Mon Mar 21, 2005 2:09 am

What has greatly helped me in selecting films I've never heard of before for the last few years? I went there after reading many of their reviews at I discovered there was finally an alternative to, without all the annoying ads. And for me, it's been a wonderful experience, particularly with the various genre links. I'll click on one, and it will take me to a list in descending order of the best ranked movies...

For instance, last night I fell asleep during Sky Captain, but was interested enough to look on allmovie, especially after having seen the making-of docs first. Well, there I found a new genre I hadn't clicked on before: Master Criminal Films. It turns out the list isn't so great, but with most other genres, it's fantastic, and has led me to discover many, many great films. It's my preferred film database destination, for sure. It's also great with director's filmographies, too. To me it's a lot more precise than judging a movie based on its cover... whatever works, though, you know?

It's how I discovered Nashville, Breaking the Waves, Terry Gilliam, Werner Herzog, Jane Campion, Roman Polanski, John Ford, John Cassavetes, and Sergio Leone!

It also confirmed the praise I heard elsewhere for films like the AK documentary, The Duelists, Babe :D, Badlands, Chariots of Fire, American Movie, Chungking Express, La Femme Nikita, Grave of the Fireflies, Harold and Maude, Lone Star, etc, etc... I mean, not all of it is agreeable. For instance, I give a lot more credit to the movie Kids than it does, but so what? It's opened my eyes to soo many movies!
Last edited by exte on Mon Mar 21, 2005 2:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Happy-Fun Sunshine Minion of Intolerance
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:44 pm
Location: Confusing and open ended = high art.

#8 Post by godardslave » Mon Mar 21, 2005 2:35 am

yes all movie guide is definitely a good resource.
so is this forum! :shock:

User avatar
"Without obsession, life is nothing"
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:18 am
Location: Sitting End

#9 Post by Lino » Mon Mar 21, 2005 5:55 am

How did I get into older/obscure films? Simple and chronologically:

* T.V. (Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet did it for me)

* Books (about films and directors)

* the DVD explosion (thank the Lord for that!)

* the Internet (of course and still is)

* The Criterion Collection (de-fi-ni-te-ly)

* this Forum (teh best in the warld!)
Last edited by Lino on Mon Mar 21, 2005 6:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
duane hall
Can I confess something?
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2005 4:18 am

#10 Post by duane hall » Mon Mar 21, 2005 5:56 am

in my mid-teens i got into some quality english language films, films by Kubrick, Lynch and 70s classics like Taxi Driver, Godfather, the Conversation, Five Easy Pieces and newer 90s films, Tarantino and beyond. i read Ebert's great movies reviews and searched his database for four-star films. i got into some more offbeat stuff through my best friend, a local video store clerk. the local stores didn't have much foreign, but we did manage to see decent VHS copies of 8 1/2 (which i instantly, intuitively loved) and Belle de Jour.

a couple years later i took an introductory film class at a community college, and maybe the fourth week in we saw Godard's Weekend, which blew me away. a couple months later i bought a dvd player and started subscribing to netflix. after a few months i began to lag a bit, but then viewing Wild Strawberries and Contempt in the same week fired me up again and i haven't looked back. (i've since switched over to Greencine, for better selection.)

it's now been two years since seeing Weekend. i have to watch a film a day, otherwise my day doesn't feel complete. i get about 6 dvds from Greencine a week, reference everyday, go insane.

User avatar
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

#11 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Mar 21, 2005 6:28 am

zedz wrote:the idea that world cinema is so much more accessible in the DVD era than it was when I, for one, was growing up.
I would definitely second this, but with the proviso that, in the UK at least, television has gotten far worse. My introduction to older obscure films was through avidly watching things like Moviedrome on the BBC - taking more than a passing interest in films at around 13 with things reaching a serious level when I was 15 in 1995. But there was much more on outside of Moviedrome's designated cult film season. For example I fondly remember every Sunday night (very late on - from 1 or 2 in the morning) on Channel 4 being designated World Cinema night for a number of years. I guess this was because no one would be up and watching at that time (if they had to go to work or school in the morning at least), but I have fond memories of watching (and this is just 1995) the first (and so far only) UK showing of Battle of Algiers, Rosa Luxemburg, The Stain, Sankofa, Uccellacci e Uccellini, Bab El Oued City, Imamura's Black Rain, Le Beau Serge etc. In 1995 alone there was a season of Renoir (both the French and US films) on the BBC and Pasolini on Channel 4.

I think I was extremely lucky to get interested in films during this period of British television since in addition to all this the BBC devoted a year to celebrating the centenerary of cinema in their BBC100 season (from obvious classics like Citizen Kane, Stagecoach, Once Upon A Time In The West, On The Town and The Wizard Of Oz to first showings of The Devils, The Night Porter, Beat Girl and Bad Taste in the associated Forbidden Weekend (which also included Performance, the 30s Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde and Pastor Hall), to premieres of Taxi Driver, Easy Rider and Farewell, My Concubine to some relatively obscure classics such as The Days, A Brighter Summers Day. Also they showed so many films that have not showed up on television since then such as Weekend, They Live By Night, Tokyo Story, The War Is Over, Gertrud, Sweetie, The Spider's Stratagem, Aguirre, Wrath Of God, The Long Goodbye, Down By Law, Gun Crazy, Andrei Rublev, The Spirit Of The Beehive, Sanjuro, Ran (and A.K.), Billy Liar, Scenes From A Marriage (though just the three hour film version), Chocolat (1988), Sonatine, Ashes And Diamonds, La Ronde, Hue And Cry, Claire's Knee and Amarcord etc).

Along with the ongoing BBC100 season, the Forbidden Weekend and the Renoir the BBC also did a season of New York films (to coincide with the premiere of Taxi Driver, but it also included Q-The Winged Serpent, After Hours and The Pope Of Greenwich Village), "Behind The Picket Fence" (Peyton Place, King's Row and Blue Velvet), an Idrissa Ouedraego season (Le Cri Du Coeur, Tilai, Samba Trarore), a season of films and documentaries about the Hiroshima anniversary (including premieres of Shadow Makers and Rhapsody In August), the "Hollywood, Vietnam" season (Platoon and Born On The Fourth Of July of course, but also Birdy, Coming Home, The Quiet American and Gardens Of Stone) and an Ed Wood night with the Look Back In Angora documentary and the first showing of Glen Or Glenda? (Also in late 1994 the BBC showed a "Lost and Found" season of rare films which introduced me to The Ghost Ship, the restored A Star Is Born, Christopher Strong, It Happened Here, Tokyo Drifter, Le Samourai, Caged Heat, I Only Want You To Love Me, Pursued, Before The Revolution and the Hitchcock French language war propaganda films Bon Voyage and Aventure Malgache!)

Channel 4 came a close second with their World Cinema Sunday night films, but also their own "Century of Cinema" season which used the Scorsese documentary to do a season of his films (and also showed Faces, criminally the only Cassavetes film shown since on British television has been A Child Is Waiting! Other films in the "US" section included The Iron Horse, The Bad And The Beautiful, Leave Her To Heaven, The Tin Star, Forty Guns - later that year they did the "UK" section with the Typically British BFI documentary by Stephen Frears and a season featuring: Sunday, Bloody Sunday, The Killing Of Sister George, Kind Hearts And Coronets and Room At The Top); an early Polanski season (Replusion, Knife In The Water, The Fearless Vampire Killers, Cul-de-Sac); a Sci-Fi weekend (THX-1138 and The Man Who Fell To Earth in their correct aspect ratios, Outland, the Moroder scored Metropolis, The Brother From Another Planet and I Married A Monster From Outer Space!); a Secret Asia season (Minbo No Onna, Rock 'n Roll Cop, Beijing Bastards, To The Starry Island, The Blue Kite); "Pot Night"(Up In Smoke, High School Confidential and Reefer Madness!); their "Picture Palace" season of modern World Cinema premieres (The Story Of Qui Ju, Mediterraneo, Cronos, La Scorta, Like Water For Chocolate, Europa, Europa, Intervista); the "Reel Women" season (Blue Steel, Orlando, Gas Food Lodging, Making Mr Right, Children Of A Lesser God, Proof, Point Break, Little Man Tate, Crush, A Man In Love); the "Novel Image" season (Mister Johnson, The Rainbow, The Bonfire Of The Vanities, The Handmaid's Tale, Naked Lunch); the "School Daze" season (the Bill and Ted films, Hairspray, Heathers, Stand By Me), the yearly "Film on Four" Channel 4 produced film season (in 1995 it was notable for including Four Weddings and a Funeral and Naked) and other non-season related films shown included Dust Devil, the original The Vanishing, Whore, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky And The Media, Static, Just A Gigolo, Burke And Wills, Howling VI, Paperhouse, The Lair Of The White Worn, The Ghoul (1933) and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me as well as two of my favourite anime series: Tokyo Babylon and Cyber City OEDO 808

Even ITV pushed the envelope by showing Nine and a Half Weeks on TV for the first time and uncut! (They had previously done the same with Basic Instinct late 1994!) :wink:

I was very spoilt by that year of television! So I have to thank all the television schedulers in late 1994 through 1995 for giving me a thorough grounding in the basics - I've discovered so much more over the years but I always come back to the films I saw in that year (many of which I managed to record) as a touchstone before I go off exploring again! And luckily television still had a few good years left in it (1996-2000 or so) before it completely tailed off!

Now unfortunately this kind of stuff is on digital channels (though most of it not even there - I've been keeping tabs on it!) and there are only occasional films shown.

One of the things that disturbs me about this is how someone like myself would have got interested in these films if I had not actually seen them. I come from a family with no particular interest in films, and especially no interest in foreign language films, because of the whole 'having to read a film' issue, so I got no push from anyone to find such films, no introduction, and no film books in my local library about the cinema outside of Britain and the US. And I would not have come across any videos of subtitled films in my local shops - a motivated trip to a big city like Manchester would have to be undertaken to find such films.

So without television showings I would not have stumbled across films which have enriched my life, and I worry about the situation television is coming to in Britain now where these films are shunted to digital channels and in a sense ghettoised. By this I don't pretend to suggest that the films were being shown at 8pm on the BBC in the past, they were always shunted to late night slots (actually I remember when Channel 4 went 24 hours in early 1996 I was really excited when the first film shown the first night was the four hour cut of La Belle Noiseuse - for a minute it seemed like this would be the future, but it was not to be - three words: Big Brother Live!), but creating a specific channel which viewers have to make a choice to watch is depriving many people of the 'stumbling across' film opportunity. In a strange way I think this is what may have been intended - separate television down into specifics so that you can stick with what you like and not have to bother with other things, and it worries me. Would I have found these films if I hadn't seen a couple by chance and had the opportunity to see more? Would I be willing, as I am now, to pay £20 for a video or DVD of a 153 minute Russian film like The Asthenic Syndrome? Or perhaps I would have been blissfully ignorant of what I was missing!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Mon Feb 04, 2008 1:53 pm, edited 27 times in total.

User avatar
wax on; wax off
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:46 pm
Location: Chico, CA

#12 Post by skuhn8 » Mon Mar 21, 2005 8:52 am

Was sixteen and working at a video store when Blue Velvet came out. My viewing habits were still fairly mixed, however. I believe I borrowed Ferris Bueller's Day off same week and enjoyed it just as much. Was busy watching all the Monty Python episodes on video as well.

IJust out of high school a buddy and I started ransacking the video stores of Eureka and Arcata California for Hitchcock and shortly thereafter, those movies reputed to be "important". I recall watching horrible tapes of Seventh Seal, Richard III and Triumph of the Will, none of which did much for me at the time. So I suppose this foray into ''ART FILM" was a bit of a bust. I remember getting some non-film fans to watch Delicatessen at around this time. And then being blown away when Short Cuts came out (we were bit Tom Waits fans so that was a shoe-in).

And then pretty girls...for I soon discovered through films such as Un Coeur en Hiver that really beautiful women were to be found in the foreign film section (and sometimes even browsing amongst the titles)...and this led to finding other gems like Tin Drum, 8 1/2, and the like.

After living in Budapest for over five years and the cinematic exposure in those wonderful art house cinemas I returned to the US to find the DVD boom...and have been hooked ever since. But it did take me a good half year to learn about the CC. I was a little slow on the uptake....and then netflix...damn! how I miss netflix. Looking back I feel that staying in the US would have been worth it for netflix alone if nothing else.

User avatar
Fletch F. Fletch
Big fan of the former president
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:54 pm
Location: Provo, Utah

#13 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Mon Mar 21, 2005 10:42 am

My entryway into the world of obscure/older films came via Twin Peaks and by association Blue Velvet (intrigued by the pilot ep. I had to track down other films by Lynch) and that film blew me away and changed my life. Fortunately, my town's local library had a fantastic collection of classic/old movies and I spent several summers renting a choice seletction of American cinema in the '70s (Taxi Driver to The Last Detail to All the President's Men).

Also, taking numerous film courses in university helped greatly and exposed me to the joys of silent cinema (Keaton, Chaplin, Griffiths, et al) and zillions of other genres as I fortunately had some good profs who knew their stuff.

It's funny how it only has to take one or two films to start the ball rolling and then you end up diving right in to all kinds of movies and genres.

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Spelling Bee Champeen
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England

#14 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Mar 21, 2005 11:10 am

Back in the Stone Age, my (Catholic) high school had a short-lived (parts of two years) film mini-course. We saw some amazing stuff in this ("Citizen Kane". "Wild Strawberries", "Dolce Vita", "Sundays and Cybele", "Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner", "Ballad of a Soldier"....). It came to an end when the organizer made the mistake of showing "Midnight Cowboy".


Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:09 pm

#15 Post by jcelwin » Mon Mar 21, 2005 11:26 am

no idea :?

User avatar
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:45 am

#16 Post by jorencain » Mon Mar 21, 2005 12:02 pm

For me it was through Woody Allen. I saw "Mighty Aphrodite" on TV in high school (or college maybe), and then started getting into his movies. Then, from his references to Fellini and Bergman, I moved on to checking out "8 1/2" and "Wild Strawberries." It has just slowly grown since then, mostly thanks to Criterion, and now, this forum. It's been about 8 years since then and I've just been trying to catch up on what I've missed over the years.

User avatar
Site Admin
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:45 pm
Location: Washington

#17 Post by cdnchris » Mon Mar 21, 2005 12:33 pm

My dad'd movie collection. My dad bought one of those RCA video disc machines back in the early 80's and he started buying movies up left and right (the first one he came home with was Beatty's Heaven Can Wait) My dad didn't buy any foreign films I can remember, but he bought up all the Scorsese, Allen, Kubrick, Peckinpah, Welles, Coppola and so on he could find, as well as all the James Bond and Star Wars films, as well as every John Wayne movie ever made!! :) Over the years I went through all his movies, and once he started buying VHS I went through all those (most anyways).

My one buddy was also a movie buff but he was more into I guess what you would call "cultish" stuff and he showed me stuff like Brazil, Blade Runner, THX 1138 and stuff by Cronenberg, as well as all those Evil Dead/horror kind of films.

It wasn't until high school where I started watching foreign but it was stuff like Kurosawa (I caught Seven Samurai on TV and I guess went from there.) I was limited to what I could watch, though. The closest video store to me that carried older/obscure/foreign was 20 minutes away and I didn't have a vehicle (I spent all my money on tapes), but their supply was limited anyways so I didn't see many. Just some Kurosawas, 8 1/2, and more recent stuff like Delicatessen and the Blue, White, Red films.

My dad got into laserdiscs but didn't buy many, and they were usually newer ones anyways. I found out about Criterion (not until Brazil came out, though) but their discs were so friggin' expensive up here I never bought any, except for Trainspotting.

It was when I started getting the Criterion DVDs, though, when I got more into the more obscure films. I walked into the only place near me that stocked DVDs and found out Criterion was releasing DVDs now (the place at least just started stocking them) and they had them all (except 400 Blows, which I assume was OOP at the time as I ended up getting it off E-Bay later.) I bought Seven Samurai and RoboCop that day, went back every so often and snatched up more.

That was the first time I heard of Tarkovsky, and Rublev was probably not the place to start for me. :) It was probably stupid blind-buying some of these movies (especially for the price), but I'm really glad I did because I ended up falling in love with these movies, and I was really excited when I'd walk in there and see a new release from them (this was before I used the internet for release dates so it was always a surprise), and I'd buy it/them if I could. The weirdest day was when I walked in there and Armageddon was on the shelf. That was definitely a surprise, but didn't get it until much later (the words "Director's Cut" was too tempting at the time.)

Then the major studios started releasing more older/obscure/foreign stuff and I started snatching those up as well or renting them if the video stores stocked them.

I also started hanging around movie forums like the original CriterionDVD Forum (before the guy abandoned it) and found out about other directors, films, books and sites, which led to my awareness of other filmmakers and made me build up a rather large list of films to see.

Next up is once the wife lets me.

User avatar
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:05 pm
Location: Connecticut

#18 Post by justeleblanc » Mon Mar 21, 2005 4:48 pm

My dad had a coworker who would tape everything he rented from the library 3 to a tape. He did this for years and had accumilated over 10,000 titles by the time he started letting me borrow them. His name was Marty and we used to call him "Marty-Buster." Anyway, I'd rent a film like "Help!" and then fast forward through the other films on the tape to see if there was any great sex scenes (I was 12, btw) but a lot of times I found myself watching the whole movie and starting watching others by the same director. I started with Kubrick & Scorsese and moved into Hitchcock, De Palma, Argento..... and then when I stopped caring about hot women & violence I started watching everything. I didn't get into really cult films until college when I found myself watching horror and science fiction films. Cronenberg & Gilliam were gods to me. As were von Trier and Spike Lee oddly enough, though now I find myself obsessing more and more over German films between the wars. If only Hitler was a filmmaker instead of a dictator, I'm sure his films would have made it into Criterion right away. Meth & Megalomania = Great Cinema. I just don't like it when they get too political. Maybe not Criterion... surely MoC though.

If only Karlheinz Stockhausen was a filmmaker as well.

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:11 am
Location: Vancouver

#19 Post by rossbrew » Mon Mar 21, 2005 5:41 pm

When I was an adolescent , a much older male use to pay me for sexual favors and while I was there I used to check out his cool artsy VHS film collection...

User avatar
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2004 10:35 am
Location: Mexico City

#20 Post by swingo » Mon Mar 21, 2005 5:45 pm

There was some guy at the local tv network that used to show movies every friday, he had good taste and always put some very interesting stuff.

I watched "Bycicle Thief" "1900" and all those kinda flicks back when I was 8-10 years old...


User avatar
King of Kong
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 7:32 pm
Location: New Zealand

#21 Post by King of Kong » Mon Mar 21, 2005 5:58 pm

The starting point for me was, of course, the Sundance Channel. Some film courses at uni did the rest.
Last edited by King of Kong on Mon Mar 21, 2005 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.


#22 Post by cbernard » Mon Mar 21, 2005 6:38 pm

They was foisted upon me by an unknown consciousness what has yet to reveal its true nature, &c.

User avatar
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:28 pm

#23 Post by Dylan » Mon Mar 21, 2005 6:52 pm

My pathway to becoming in love with foreign/art cinema is rather strange. Growing up, I was an avid sci-fi/monster movie geek. At about six, I was watching many, many black and white sci-fi/horror movies, because back then (1992, before the advent of CGI), most monsters were in old movies. Films like "Invasion of the Saucer Men," "Invaders from Mars," and "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (and hundreds like them) were always in the VHS player. Then around 1995 at the age of nine, I moved onto stop-motion animation, and animation in general. I was obsessed with Harryhausen and other animators for about seven years after that, aspiring to be an animator. During this time I was also becoming an avid listener of film music, particularly Danny Elfman. However, in early 2002, everything changed. Everyday I was catching up on an old friend on the sci-fi channel, the original 1960s Outer Limits TV series, and was hugely enjoying all of the episodes, but in the midst was also being impressed by the black and white photography. The one episode in particular, "The Forms of Things Unknown," I give full credit to my eventual obsession with art cinema. It's a masterpiece, directed by Gerd Osward and written by Joe Stefano, this episode was the first "nightmare on film" I had seen. The cinematographer was the one and only Conrad Hall, and every single shot impressed and astounded me, to the point that I wasn't blinking...this was the first time in my life I had realized how beautiful black and white truly was, and what it's infinite photographic possibilities were, and by the time the episode ended, my life pursuit was to be a cinematographer.

The next week, I sought out similar black and white excellence at the video store, where I started with Orson Welles ("Citizen Kane" completely blew me the fuck away, as did "Ambersons" and "Touch of Evil"), David Lynch (especially Blue Velvet, Eraserhead, and Elephant Man), and Alfred Hitchcock (I saw them all). Being a Bernard Herrmann fan also inspired me to see many old films, sometimes initially just to hear the music, but unexpectedly falling head over heels in love with the film (Vertigo is a good example of that). This eventually lead me to the foreign films section, and it is there I saw "Seventh Seal," "Wild Strawberries," "Hour of the Wolf," "400 Blows," "Shoot the Piano Player," "8 1/2," "Through a Glass Darkly," "The Green Room," "Virgin Spring," "La Strada." Turner Classic Movies also introduced me to many great films, including the best work of the artist who started it all for me, Conrad Hall's B&W opus "In Cold Blood." In early 2003, TCM aired Martin Scorsese's marvelous documentary on Italian Cinema, where I saw clips from films I hadn't even heard of (La Dolce Vita, The Bicycle Thief, L'Avventura, Ossessione, Senso, etc.), and found myself actually crying several times, not only at the poetry of what the docu was showing, but also at the sheer thrill that films like this exist, and that an entire new world of film is waiting for me to discover it. I've been obsessed with foreign/art films ever since. Since then, I've discovered countless films and filmmakers I have grown to love (Visconti, Godard, Wong Kar-Wai, Bertolucci), and needless to say, I'm still discovering new films and directors every week. At the moment, I'm aspiring to be a writer/director, and I feel that it's being into this kind of cinema that has paved the way for the rest of my life.


User avatar
jesus the mexican boi
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 5:09 am
Location: South of the Capitol of Texas

#24 Post by jesus the mexican boi » Mon Mar 21, 2005 7:13 pm

rossbrew wrote:When I was an adolescent , a much older male use to pay me for sexual favors and while I was there I used to check out his cool artsy VHS film collection...
Had you said "Beta film collection," I'd have believed you.

My interest in film stems from childhood - growing up in the late 70s/early 80s, and being absolutely starved for the cinematic experience. It's hard to remember what my first "art" film was. I know when I was about 12 or so, FITZCARRALDO came to a local art theater that only had intermittent showings and no regular schedule. I called to inquire about tickets and the $15 was too cost-prohibitive on my lack-of-allowance. Later, a buddy and I scoured the video stores for posters to decorate our walls -- a la Rumz, getting turned on to good movies merely by an attraction to their marketing ploys. I confess here and now I actually set up a sham video store in order to get promo items, posters, etc. I remember finding movies like Godard's HAIL MARY this way. Reading the reviews in NEWSWEEK also turned me on to folks like Cronenberg; I wrote an essay about "Videodrome" sight-unseen which included the term "vagina-like opening" and was called on it by my English teacher. So I think it was just the desire to find new things that led me beyond Hollywood fare. Taking three buses across town to see "Brazil" and then being turned away at the door for being under 17. Ah, the snapshots of a misspent youth.

User avatar
Take a chance you stupid ho
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 3:23 am
Location: three miles from space

#25 Post by devlinnn » Mon Mar 21, 2005 7:31 pm

A steady diet of Ivan Hutchinson and Bill Collins introducing 5-10 films a week from the age of around 6-15. A mother who didn't care if her son preferred the dark, quiet peace of watching films on tv to playing out in the sun with the other boys. Discovering the voices of Paul Harris and John Flause at age 12 on the radio discussing film with insight, passion and humour. Collecting big chunky filmbooks for the pics of babes in chemises with those bobs, then discovering in same books articles on the history of film. The introduction of SBS in the early 80s leading to Tarkovsky, Bergman, Godard etc. More reading, more watching, more reading. The wonderful realization early on in the piece that the more obscure the film and theater, the more beautiful and individual the women in attendance. More reading, always more reading.

Post Reply