Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The 30 Day Film Challenge - Day 1: My favorite film

Facebook has a fun new game going on called the 30-Day Film Challenge. Being a film buff, I can scarcely resist  a Film Challenge. And since I can't keep my mouth shut when the subject turns to movies, I'm going to expand and expound upon each choice in this blog.

For the first day, you are asked to name your favorite movie. And that's not such an easy thing for a film buff. Presented with that ubiquitous query, we are bound to rattle off title after title. When I get asked this question I always name three movies (more on the other two below).

Forced to name one, however, I always choose one by the greatest director of all time. And that choice is Vertigo. And among Hitch's films, that's actually an easy choice.

Why? Well, consider the fact that I first saw it on the USA Network, via a crummy, faded print that was edited for time, and not very cleanly to boot. Even with all that, the movie still entranced and devastated me.

As Martin Scorsese has pointed out, it was remarkable that directors like Hitchcock could work within the studio system making films that were commercial and simultaneously very personal statements. And yet, at the time, it was perhaps a little too personal for some people. Commercially, it did OK but wasn't one of Hitch's bigger hits. Critics tended to be dismissive, with one cracking that Vertigo was another "Hitchcock and bull story."

Time has been generous to the film, however, which is slightly ironic because of the way the movie plays with time. Vertigo, better than any other movie, captures the timeless state of a dream - how a dream feels at times like you're lost in a fog - and how at other times it amplifies your most intense emotions - especially when the dream turns into a nightmare.

The story revolves around Jimmy Stewart trying to remake a lost love - and since I've been through some heartache recently, Vertigo would probably resonate all the more if I watched it now.

No matter when I see it, though, Vertigo washes over me and envelops me.  And like all the greatest movies do, it feels different every time I see it - not unlike a dream.

Other titles consideredCitizen Kane, A Hard Day's Night

1 comment:

Scott Copeland said...

I've said before that if you are making up a list of the 10 best films, first you write down Citizen Kane and then think of what the other nine are.

That said, the one film I rate above it is Schindler's List, which illuminates a true life story without turning Schindler into a saint, and tells the story with a black and white cinematography without overusing camera tricks, has memorable image after memorable image.