It was whilst laying on a beach on the beautiful Dalmatian coast earlier this month, listening to a Desert Island Discs podcast, that I had the idea for this blog post. A constant listening habit of mine on the daily commute, the legendary radio show – in which guests choose which 8 music tracks they would take with them if stranded on a desert island along with a book and a luxury item – keeps me entertained for hours. Guests on the show have been choosing tracks for over 70 years either because they represent a significant time in their life, a special person or simply because they like them.
So, back to the beach. I got to thinking, whilst listening to Russell Brand’s selection, (highly recommended – a hilarious luxury item by the way!) if I had to come up with a film-lover’s desert island 8, what would they be…?
Believe me, this wasn’t easy!
Here goes and in no particular order –
1. Moulin Rouge (Luhrmann, 2001) – My first taste of Luhrmann, the first “cool” musical and the moment in which I realised how much I really enjoyed the cinematic experience. I’ll never forget the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end upon hearing Ewan McGregor’s opening line of Your Song.
2. Green Card (Weir, 1991) – My first “grown-up” film, my first introduction to Depardieu and still the best non-Hollywood ending ever. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I mean if you haven’t … do! Also, I NEED that apartment!
3. Cyrano de Bergerac (Rappeneau, 1990) – Ok, I got into this film as an easy way around understand the text at French A-Level. I’ve never looked back. Sad, poetic, full of “panache”, I think I knew the script as well as Depardieu in 1997.
4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Cuarón, 2004) – ok, if I could cheat and take the whole box set, that would be splendid but if I had to pick my favourite, it is HP 3 – by far! The first time we got to see the book’s true dark side and a chilling performance by Helena Bonham-Carter as Bellatrix. Sorry, literary fans but a rare example of the film being better than the book. Don’t stupefy me Potter fans!
5. Volver (Almodóvar, 2007) – There had to be an Almodóvar, of course there did. This tragicomedy is (so far), my all-time favourite of his. A solid plot, outstanding acting (Cruz and Maura), stylish, funny and sad. Love, love, love it!
6. Dirty Dancing (Ardolino, 1987) – Every girl my age spent the summer of 1987 at Kellerman’s and swooned at every line that Swayze uttered… *sigh*… because “no-one puts Baby in a corner!”
7. The Orphanage (del Toro, 2007) – One of my favourite all time films. Excellent balance of chilling, hide-behind-your-cushion scenes yet at the same time, sensitive and full of universal emotions.
8. Open your Eyes (Amenábar, 1997) – Like no other film I have ever seen. Clever, tense and sophisticated and I still don’t fully understand the ending!!! To be honest, I think I’d now be disappointed if I did… I also like how it means I can say I like Sci-fi! I love it because it reminds me of when I lived in Madrid in the early noughties.
The ones that didn’t quite make it…
It’s a Wonderful Life – the timeless classic, one of my all-time festive favourites but, let’s face it, who would ever feel Christmassy on a desert island?
Pan’s Labyrinth – Guillermo del Toro’s ground-breaking masterpiece is a favourite but I already have The Orphanage which just pipped it to the post!
Luxury item? Can I have a Mark Kermode please? To watch and discuss my 8 with – and maybe he can help me decide which 1of the 8 to save from the waves!