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.
Message
Author
User avatar
HerrSchreck
Posts: 6324
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#76 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun Feb 03, 2008 1:34 pm

So much sentiment involved that I can't resist.

My older brothers always laid around watching Chiller theater & such back in the early 70's & earlier. I'll never forget the famous early 70's broadcast of Horror Hotel (u.s. title of City of the Dead) which scared the blood right down to my toes.

But all throughout elementary school I wanted to be "a horror movie actor" when I grew up. Boris Karloff in the 1930's was what I wanted to do all over again. I worshipped that sinister face. When PBS would show stuff like any of the original Universals it was cause for celebration. After a while by the time I was in 5th grade I moved towards silents, I'd take out books on horror movies from the lib and stare at those great fuzzy old pics of Max Schreck and Connie Veidt, and dream about seeing those old ancient films on tv. By the 6th grade I believe I saw Nosferatu (blew my mind) and Cabinet of Dr Caligari.

Late in the 7th grade I discovered drugs and Bronx Street Trouble so my little film obsession disintegrated for awhile. Then in eleventh grade I rented out Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, and The French Connection within a two month stretch from one another and it was back in the saddle. I actually turned into an (non horror Karloffy) actor for a bit there. But it was Coppola & Scorsese who reignited the pilot light.

User avatar
Belmondo
Posts: 334
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2007 9:19 am
Location: Cape Cod

#77 Post by Belmondo » Sun Feb 03, 2008 1:55 pm

We're talking about the early 1960's here, which means:

a) I'm now old and in the way
b) I have the wisdom of age
c) You've already stopped reading

Older boys and young men are interested in one thing only - scantily dressed women (or boys ... depending) and all sex all the time. American movies were teasers and European movies offered the promise of something far more adult. They also offered women who were so fascinating to a young man that, even now, I am incapable of articulating the impact they had on me. Claudia Cardinale, Romy Schneider, Monica Vitti, Francoise Dorleac, and a dozen others quickly transcended mere masturbatory fantasies and made me consider the other side of the battle of the sexes in a way that proved far more maturing than anything Hollywood was offering. They did not even need to be attractive - I never thought Jeanne Moreau was particularly attractive and no one ever thought Rita Tushingham was a sex bomb; but I loved them all and I still do.

Young men lacking a drivers licence need the same criminals need - motive, means, and opportunity.

I was in a distant suburb of Boston, but the public transportation system was excellent and cheap, and every European movie worth seeing was playing at one of the many art houses in Boston or Cambridge; and I saw them all.

I went for the women. I got much more.

User avatar
s.j. bagley
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: rhode island, and occasionally much farther north
Contact:

#78 Post by s.j. bagley » Sun Feb 03, 2008 2:25 pm

for me, it mostly developed from my love of strange fiction which led to an interest in horror films when i was small, which led me to first seeking out smaller and more obscure films that the piles of 80's slasher shitfests released at the time.

my interest in obscure and foreign (to me) cinema grew entirely out of the fact that they tended to be genuinely stranger than mainstream hollywood films.

and then i discovered 'cineaste,' one day in high school, after giving a blowjob to a substitute teacher that i had a major crush on and seeing them in his back seat. he lent me them, and they opened my ideas to the possibilities of cinema.

sadly, i never saw him again after that. i think he was a bit bit frightened about what would happen if his little affair with a male student was discovered. a shame really, because i think i could have learned a lot more about film from him.

User avatar
miless
Posts: 1497
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:45 pm

#79 Post by miless » Sun Feb 03, 2008 3:54 pm

that has to be one of the more interesting stories about discovering cinema.

User avatar
thirtyframesasecond
Posts: 1033
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:48 pm

#80 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Mon Feb 04, 2008 9:40 am

Citizen Kane was recommended to me by my A Level history teacher, so I bought it on VHS, and you probably couldn't ask for a better introduction to cinema as an art form, rather than the more Hollywood films I would have seen beforehand. He also loved Alexander Nevsky, though that was more difficult to get hold of, and I still haven't seen it to this date. It kicked off a bit later though, when I was 19-20 or so and saw a Hitchcock season on the BBC for his centenary, and I started working in my local library during university holidays. With staff privileges of course, I worked my way through much of their world cinema season for free, mainly with the French New Wave (Truffaut mainly, though I've never really been enthusiastic about him much after). Since leaving university and working for a living, I've had the financial means to search out films from all over the globe. Second Run has been great for discovering Eastern/Central European cinema; the films they distribute and the films they don't.

User avatar
foliagecop
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:42 am
Location: Scotland

#81 Post by foliagecop » Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:22 am

For me, the defining moment had to be joining a film club my first year at high school (1981). No particular reason for doing so, but had I never been subjected to those dark, after-school screenings of Alien (for 12 year-olds? I still can't believe they chose that one, but I've since had it confirmed by others who were there), the original 'King Kong', and 'The Great Race', I probably wouldn't be as obsessed with cinema - and films in general - as I now am.

Another source was books, in particular those Maltin-type encyclopaedias, which I'd pore over and get all goose-bumply at ('Big Deal On Madonna Street' - that sounds great!; 'Bob Le Flambeur' - what a title!). I've got a naturally left-fieldish mind, so anything out of the ordinary made a connection. And then I discovered Lynch, Herzog, and Tarkovsky, and it was pretty much game over as far as normality was concerned.

Never looked back since.

bufordsharkley
Posts: 68
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2005 2:08 am

#82 Post by bufordsharkley » Mon Feb 04, 2008 1:39 pm

Senior year of high school ('03-'04)-- I instigated stupid bet against a friend or two, on the nature of the IMDB top 250 poll. We had all seen about 70 or so of the pictures thus far-- the winner of the bet (no money of course) was whoever could see the most before the year was over.

...I was up to 150 by Memorial Day, and over 200 by the time summer ended.

It's a flawed list, sure, but a great introduction to many filmmakers, all of which I'm embarassed to say I've never seen anything from before (Bergman, Lang, Keaton).

And I reiterate, it's a flawed list, but it's a great gateway into more hardcore canons (I currently consult upwards of 25), and can pique one's interest into viewing the more obscure films in a director's oeuvre. (I'm a completionist by nature-- I can't resist, say, seeing Dassin's early screwball films.)

Gee, barely four years have passed since-- the "film journey" seems somehow much longer.

brunosh
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:47 am
Location: London

#83 Post by brunosh » Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:06 pm

I’m another brought in young by BBC2, in my case in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. I remember seasons of Bergman, Bunuel, Bresson, Godard, the Czech New Wave, G Rocha, S Ray, Pasolini, Kurosawa, Wajda and more, all introduced by Philip Jenkinson in a scruffy leather jacket or seedy tweed, searching desperately and usually unsuccessfully for something enlightening to say. Whenever I have been lost for words about any film subsequently, I haven’t hesitated to use the all-purpose words of wisdom he delivered before Woman of the Dunes: “Fraught with symbolism and inner meaning!”

Then off to college where I lost little time in worming my way onto the university film society committee, then headed by Robert Beeson, until recently of Artificial Eye. We showed 4 programmes a week in term, usually in a zoology lab theatre with only one projector, which allowed mid-film contemplation during reel changes as well as giving an opening for the occasional vociferous complaint, usually an objection to having to sit through an opener from Jacobs or Kren or Zwartjes or Kubelka or the such like before the Herzog or Kluge or von Stroheim or Epstein or whatever other more mainstream arthouse fare the punter had paid his 30p (or £2.50 for a season ticket, allowing entry to all 30 programmes that term - those were the days!) to see.

Of course, the committee got in free and chose what was shown and so could pick the films we wanted to see, subject only to making sure costs were covered by slotting in a couple of world cinema blockbusters early each term. We also wrote the programme notes and when short of copy were not beyond making up the odd outrageous quote which was then invariably attributed to the equally fictional “Dani Engel of Village Voice” (no prizes for guessing the inspiration for that name).

Robert Beeson’s successor spent his vacations working at the Cinématèque Française and managed to persuade Langlois to come over with an armful of films to give an illustrated talk to a full house – definitely a highlight whether he said anything worthwhile or not, and since I was sitting in the semi-soundproofed projection booth I can’t be sure one way or the other.

User avatar
MichaelB
Posts: 12299
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

#84 Post by MichaelB » Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:22 pm

brunosh wrote:Then off to college where I lost little time in worming my way onto the university film society committee, then headed by Robert Beeson, until recently of Artificial Eye.
I first met Robert face to face after four or five years of regular phone conversations (minimum weekly, sometimes daily)... whereupon we discovered that we'd been commuting on the same train all that time without realising it!

brunosh
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:47 am
Location: London

#85 Post by brunosh » Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:31 pm

Michael

Do you know what Robert has moved on to post AE? Although I have run into him at the NFT (sorry, BFI Southbank) from time to time over the years, I haven't come across him since he replied to my complaint to AE when they screwed up the AR of Gabrielle during the course of last year.

User avatar
MichaelB
Posts: 12299
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

#86 Post by MichaelB » Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:36 pm

brunosh wrote:Do you know what Robert has moved on to post AE? Although I have run into him at the NFT (sorry, BFI Southbank) from time to time over the years, I haven't come across him since he replied to my complaint to AE when they screwed up the AR of Gabrielle during the course of last year.
No idea, I'm afraid - our paths rarely crossed over the last ten years. In fact, the last time I heard from him was in similar circumstances, when I complained about faulty subtitles on the digital print of Hidden!

But there was a piece in a recent Sight & Sound about the changes at AE - did you read that?

User avatar
jt
Posts: 242
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:47 am
Location: zurich

#87 Post by jt » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:26 pm

I was always the go-to guy among my friends for film recommendations and thought of myself as a bit of a film expert. My taste was the good side of mainstream and indie with the occasional (commercially popular) foreign thrown in.

Then in 2002, two things happened; first, the Sight and Sound decade list came out and I realised that I knew nothing. I had seen less than a dozen of the top hundred and had only heard of about half.

I started off by checking out a film each by all the most popular directors on the list; Fellini, Kurosawa, Godard, Welles, Renoir, Ozu etc (I'd already seen a bunch of Hitchcock and Kubrick) and then investigating further.

Second, I saw Mulholland Drive. I clearly remember the feeling of simultaneously loving every minute of the film whilst not having the faintest clue as to what was going on. It was a revelation for me that the enjoyment of a film isn't directly linked to the linearity of the narrative (or 'how good the story is', as I used to say). From then, I started to enjoy films for the cinematography, the art direction, the way they made me feel etc.

Finally, I'm a collecting geek, so I shifted from buying a reasonable number of dvds and an obscene number of albums each month to the other way round. I'm now at about 1000 of each and have promised to slow down the dvd buying until there are fewer than 50 films I own that I have yet to get round to watching (down from about 120 now...)

User avatar
Antoine Doinel
Posts: 5356
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:22 pm
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Contact:

#88 Post by Antoine Doinel » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:45 pm

Great, interesting thread.

For me, my journey into film is still going but it's roots are familiar to many people here. For me, it all started when my parents (finally) got a VCR and cable. I was exciting at the prospect of finally being able to rent and watch movies on TV! Each week when the TV Times came with the Saturday newspaper I would dilligently take out a highlighter and mark any film that seemed interesting. I was lucky in that my youthful enthusiasm had no filters. I was ready to watch anything. This was also during the era when A&E showed a lot more classic films, particularly during late night hours. This random sampling got me introduced to classic films, and noir right off the bat.

The next that happened was - love him or hate him - Roger Ebert. During the Siskel years, they turned me onto a lot of films and directors I probably would've otherwise not heard of.

From there it was my late high school/first girlfriend phase. As I was into the punk scene, most of my friends were loveable outcasts or university kids or both. As such I got turned on to a huge array of films and directors, particularly the American indies like Hal Hartley and Jim Jarmusch. My first gf was brought up in a household that adored classic film and as such she was my gateway to silent cinema and Hawks, Huston and the rest.

While living on my own for the first time, I was situated beautifully between two great videostores. One was a conventional, but independent store, with both new releases and an amazing classic cinema collection. The other was run out of a former art gallery and consisted of nothing much but the owner's own eclectic library he had built up over the years. It was there I first got into everything from Mellville to Tsui Hark to Ali G (he had a bootleg of his British work eons before anyone on this side of the Atlantic knew who he was).

When I moved to Montreal with my gf we were again close to an amazing video store. We didn't have cable or TV whatsoever for many years and we would rent movies on an almost daily basis. Everything from Fellini to Tarkovsky to Allen and more.

I'm still learning a lot. This thread has been a great resource with some wonderful contributors. I sadly don't live near a good video store right now and rep house situation in this city is painfully non-existent. However, there is a healthy first run circuit here for both mainstream and otherwise films as well as the wonderfully freaky Fantasia fest every summer (a pure joy attending that festival. The audiences are phenomenally enthusiastic). I'm still digging, still learning and thankfully still in love with a dark room, two hours and the sound of a projector.

portnoy
Posts: 303
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 11:03 am

#89 Post by portnoy » Tue Feb 05, 2008 2:32 pm

I was bored the summer I was nine, so my dad got us a membership to a local independent video store - occasionally he'd indulge and let me get a new movie but most of my summer was spent picking movies from the 49 cent rental aisle, which consisted almost entirely of 50s and 60s creature features (as well as curious oddities like Larry Cohen's THE STUFF). My favorites were Godzilla movies - I've seen all the classic-era Godzilla and Gamera features, as well as a lot of the newer ones. I became hooked on movies and started seeking them out obsessively. I would read the Friday 'Weekender' supplement, in which Bob Polanski and Larry Ratliff (our local critics) assigned ratings to movies on a scale of zero to four jalapenos. If a movie had four jalapenos and wasn't rated R, I'd beg my parents to take me. In retrospect, these two critics are among the most offensive hacks in the industry.

Early moment in nerdiness: getting beat up in the fifth grade for saying I liked Forrest Gump, which my classmates referred to as "that retard movie." Finding a copy of 'The 400 Blows' (titter titter) when I was in seventh grade at the local branch library didn't help matters either.

j. alfred prufrock
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 5:02 pm

#90 Post by j. alfred prufrock » Thu Feb 07, 2008 1:12 pm

I can't resist from posting, even though I tried. Who didn't like adventure films as a kid? We probably all had something of an introduction to film in a basic sense, where we were captivated by the sheer energy of Star Wars and other such films. But what really did it for me was Twin Peaks. I was a sophomore in high school in 1990 when this new show came on and it was brilliant. It was brilliant because I had never seen someone create mood and mystery like that. It was also cool to watch Twin Peaks because most of the kids my age didn't get it or care, but my group of friends would gather on Friday and then Saturday nights to watch, to see if Bob would be hiding somewhere. The mythology of the series seemed so complete and compelling. This led me into a deep infatuation with David Lynch and I learned quickly about Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, The Elephant Man (so engaged by that movie that I mounted a production of it my senior year) and Eraserhead.

The thing that captivated me most was the feeling that understanding was just out of reach, that with continued viewing and work I would find the key to the mystery. Lynch has gone on to perfect the extraction of that feeling in his audience.

I also distinctly remember sitting in a community college class and seeing a poster for 400 blows. I would stare at that and wonder why he so longingly gazed through that chain link.

I later worked in a video store, in the mid 90s and watched 2 or 3 films a day, sometimes more. This job put me in contact with people who knew more and had more experience with cinema that I did. I probably rented the entire catalog of that store and found Kurosawa. It was about 1998 and the Criterion Collection was just getting into gear with DVDs. From that point on Criterion was my jumping off point for obscure cinema-one thing would lead to another and that led me to this forum and honestly, over the past 5 years, this forum has aided greatly in my film education. Thanks!

User avatar
malcolm1980
Posts: 254
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 4:37 am
Location: Manila, Philippines
Contact:

#91 Post by malcolm1980 » Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:21 am

Ever since as a kid, I've always been interested in how movies were made ever since I saw Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Since then, I've been fascinated by it. It really hit when I was 14 and I saw Pulp Fiction. It made me feel that film was where my future lies. Since going on-line, I've encountered people who watched classics and foreign films and art films. I got curious about it and started watching a few and I was hooked ever since.

User avatar
Chaplinesque
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2010 6:41 am

Re: How did you get into older, obscure films?

#92 Post by Chaplinesque » Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:04 pm

Very interesting thread, I'm happy to bring it to life after 2,5 years...

To me, it all began with my father's "teaching methods"... don't worry I'm not gonna tell you some scary parenthood tale :) For example, if I was to say to my dad "I want to read a book" he would say "all right, so pick a book of your liking, then we shall begin with the classic novels, in a chronological order". Same thing went on about the movies, "to begin with the pioneers" was always the motto. But of course, Charles Chaplin has all the blame... First Chaplin movie I watched is The Kid and I was 8 or 9 years old. So since I'm very little, I'm watching old B&W films, for more than 20 years now. And no need to say, I'm thankful to my dad for that. He told me which old movies to watch, and his recommendations were always good ones like Bicycle Thief, Seven Samurai, Metropolis, Dejeuner sur l'herbe (Renoir) and Chaplin... how often did I watch Chaplin masterpieces with dad, I even "memorized" whole sequences of Chaplin full length or short movies. And in this DVD era, I'm very lucky since Criterion, Masters of Cinema, MK2, Artificial Eye, etc. are in my reach, companies full of "new old movies" I have never heard of, so much more to explore, to discover...

User avatar
Erikht
Posts: 165
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2008 5:31 am

Re: How did you get into older, obscure films?

#93 Post by Erikht » Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:00 am

I bought a cheap Kurosawa boxed set with horribly bad Scandinavian subs, because "7 Samurais" is bound to have some nice action scenes in it, right? The film was so dark that none of the night scenes made any sense. But hey, t'was great! 1.500 DVDs later....

Oh, and then I bought Rober Ebert and crossed them off one by one. :oops:

User avatar
YnEoS
Posts: 440
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:30 am

Re: How did you get into older, obscure films?

#94 Post by YnEoS » Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:27 pm

Really envious of some of the stories here. I miss my early fascination with non-mainstream film since it seemed like in the DVD generation there was very little time to be in awe of new discoveries and it became more of a race to school myself on the essentials.

As a kid I rarely watched old movies, and never anything in black and white, my parents were pretty much into current hollywood movies and I had little exposure to anything else. I did have a slight obsession with a few godzilla movies I caught on the sci-fi channel and got my Dad to tape for me on VHS. In high-school I became a bit of a japanophile but was mostly focused on music, not film. I did re-explore my old godzilla fascination on DVD, as well as some Japanese martial arts films, particularly ones starring Sonny Chiba. Then I took a high school film class and got to see lots of clips from old movies as well as watching Un Chien Andalou and Citizen Kane in their entirety, which I liked a lot but didn't really hit me as any sort of revelation. That came a bit later when my film teacher made us watch an do a report on a film from a top 100 list. I decided to do a report on Seven Samurai, since it was japanese, and this was perhaps my huge revelation. I'd never seen a film encompass the entire emotional spectrum the way Seven Samurai did and it really blew my mind. I also had a friend at the time who was obsessed with Kubrick and he showed me Barry Lyndon, which I loved, and A Clockwork Orange, which I was less enthused about.

For some reason I decided to go to film school, where I got acquainted with lots of new films, and realized I'd have to get a netflix account to catch up to everyone else. Some of the first things I watched on it were 13 Tzameti, City of Lost Children, Aguirre: The Wrath of God, La Dolce Vita, and 8 1/2, Pan's Labyrinth, and Oldboy all pretty amazing to me. I watched a mix of classics and contemporary non-american films, and started to gravitate more weird off-beat films like Jan Svankmajer's Alice. For a while I got caught up in bad low budget films, and was obsessed with spaghetti westerns, Turkish films, and low budget horror films. I kind of OD'd on these and realized I should be watching more good movies, and that's kind of where I'm at now. I've seen lots of the big names in film, and am currently on an obsessive silent film watching spree. Hoping once I get through a lot of these I'll move all the way through the entire history of cinema.

User avatar
tenia
Posts: 3630
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: How did you get into older, obscure films?

#95 Post by tenia » Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:24 am

You know how they say the being curious is a bad habit.
Well, now, I can say, looking at my bank account that they were right. :)

At the beginning, when I was young, my parents brought me about once a week to the theater. Of course, it was for blockbusters, or family movies. It could be Terminator 2 or Titanic.
But, progressively, I became more and more interested by movies. First, in all these big movies, but at some point, when I was about 18, I started to have some money to spend on my own, so I started to read a lot : magazines, books, websites, blogs. And then, I realized that I had about 100 years of cinema to catch up.

So, depending on advices, readings or simply what was just in stores, I started to look around, and to get a lot of various things.

And then, I found out that I appreciate more and more the old movies than the new ones (though there are still some very good movies each year, of course).

I fell in love with Ozu, and Lynch, but also with Renoir and Hitchcock became some kind of funny uncle.

The worst part in all that is that I'm kind of the only one to have such a passion, and it's hard to find people among my family or my friends to discuss all this with (it's already hard to find someone that understand all the buyings I do).

User avatar
Guido
Posts: 127
Joined: Sat May 31, 2008 11:31 pm

Re: How did you get into older, obscure films?

#96 Post by Guido » Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:42 pm

The story I remember took place many years ago, in the nascent stages of my cinephilia. I must have been around 15 or 16, and I'd fell in love with the world of Fellini without having a seen a single film; I can remember leafing through a few dusty anthologies and monographs, looking at stills from La dolce vite and 8 1/2, and images of Fellini on set, peripherally experiencing the circus that would turn out to be my first real cinematic love. I contacted every single library I could think of, and after a few dead-ends, I was told that a brand-new, shinny edition of 8 1/2 had just come in at a south-side branch.

At the time, I lived in a township maybe 15 miles south of the city, which normally would have been a simple drive, but this day was atrocious; it must have been mid-December, and a morning storm had not only blanketed the country stretch between my town and the city with about 4 feet of snow, but had also covered the two-lane road with a terrifying sheet of ice. Now, a person with any degree of sanity would recall that library holds last a few days, so the safest thing to do would be to drive the next day, under better driving conditions. But fuck that, right? I've been waiting months, maybe years to see this film, and no blizzard is going to deter me! What should have taken 20 minutes in the car ended up taking an hour and a half, one way. But I got that damn thing in my hands, and made it home only three hours late for dinner to boot. I can still remember watching it with my dad that evening, the storm still raging outside, and thinking it was absolutely perfect.

To this day, I still thank the nameless German engineers who designed the seat-warmers in the old, battered '86 Jetta that got me to the library that evening.

alben1
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 12:07 pm

Re: How did you get into older, obscure films?

#97 Post by alben1 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:28 pm

I grew up with old films. When I was a child the main bill of fare was cartoon shows and movies from the 30s through the 50s. There was Million Dollar Movie which showed the same film every day for week, which resulted in my having it practically memorized by Friday. And as my mother was often in the room watching with me (well at least one showing) I could generally depend on her to say, "Ah! Allen Jenkins!" or "Ah! Guy Kibbee" and so forth. By the time I was eighteen the Warner stock company seemed like old friends.
Last edited by alben1 on Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
ambrose
Posts: 309
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:16 pm
Location: Durham United-kingdom

Re: How did you get into older, obscure films?

#98 Post by ambrose » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:13 am

The pre digital bbc and channel four used to be repositories for older and subtitled films,everything from the new wave to eastern european classics(and of course ingmar bergman)would be screened on a semi-regular basis. (mostly friday to sunday.) this made it relatively simple to acquire a taste for such films if one wished to. Now such films are ghettoized (mostly shown on bbc four on a far from regular basis) i can not see how and where future cinephiles will be nurtured!.

User avatar
fiddlesticks
Posts: 894
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:19 pm
Location: Borderlands

Re: How did you get into older, obscure films?

#99 Post by fiddlesticks » Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:21 pm

alben1 wrote:And as my mother was often in the room watching with me (well at least one showing) I could generally depend on her to say, "Ah! Allen Jenkins!" or "Ah! Guy Kibbee" and so forth.
My father would do that, too. I'd be watching some old movie and if he happened to be passing through the room, he'd stop and identify every actor who was on the screen at that moment. To me, this was like magic, since who could possibly identify such hopelessly obscure (to 10-year-old me) figures as Edward Everett Horton or Lizabeth Scott or Andy Devine? Every time he'd do that, he made movies 100% more interesting to me, and this is probably the ultimate answer to the question posed by this thread.

User avatar
Murdoch
Posts: 3245
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 11:59 pm
Location: Upstate NY

Re: How did you get into older, obscure films?

#100 Post by Murdoch » Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:30 pm

My dad does that, a spark of recognition crosses his face and he'll say "Oh, that's Burt Lancaster" or whoever is on screen. Part of me always wanted to possess that same trivial knowledge, and it was through such instances as us watching Apocalypse Now and him pointing out the differences between the original cut and the redux that my interest emerged. But it wasn't until college that I became passionate about film.

I discovered the All Movie Guide and some other internet resources and was surprised by the sheer expanse of it all, I suddenly realized how ignorant I was to movies and dived in head-first. I started off by seeing all the films that "you HAVE to see" and guided my interest by whatever was held high in the canon, sometimes assuming the position of liking something because it was canonized or acclaimed - an naive position but it was through my presumption of liking a film that I was able to move past merely saying, "I liked it" or "I hated it" and focus on finding out why a film was held as high as it was, whether through pondering the film's merits or researching critical opinion.
My insatiable hunger to see more led me past the Godards and Kubricks of the world, and when I saw praise from a critic I liked for a certain film by a director I hadn't heard of I sought out the film. I soon stumbled upon this forum, which expanded my interest more (along with nurturing my growing DVD addiction) and I was able to stumble upon Ruiz, Kluge, Angelopoulos - who may not be obscure to many members here, but for me five years ago they were complete strangers.

I later took a film noir class as an undergrad, having had brief exposure to the genre, and it greatly kindled my interest in pre-60s Hollywood cinema - it was a sot of second gateway to the medium as my passion found new ferocity in discovering this era which I had only passively gazed upon in adolescence. I now just seek out anything on a whim, I here good things about it and think I'll enjoy the style then that's enough for me to give it my time. And I'm glad I do things like this because it has exposed to the likes of Guitry and the Kuchars. I think that brings things up to speed.

Post Reply