Ask the Filmmaker: The Film That Changed MY Life

Dear Filmmaker:

Recently you reviewed a book called The Film that Changed My Life: 30 Directors on Their Epiphanies in the Dark. If this book’s subtitle were “31 Directors…,” you being the 31st, what one movie would you have talked about?

Curious in Burlington.

Dear Curious,

Oh, this is a tough question. I wrote a post for Extracriticum called And The Films in My Life, a reference to the Truffaut book (The Films in My Life) and a Brian Jonestown Massacre CD, “And This Is Our Music,” which is a reference to a Galaxie 500 CD called “This Is Our Music.” But I digress. Actually, I’m stalling, because I’m finding it very difficult to choose one. But I will. Here’s an elaboration on the E.C. entry.

Simple Men: Here was a film, a small, quirky, intelligent, stylized film that seemed like something I would have made, from the color pallet to starting and ending the film with the same line of dialogue, “Don’t move,” which in the context of the scenes mean very different things. Yep, that’s something I would have done, would still do. More importantly, this film seemed like something I could have done. A smart script, a few good actors, commonplace locations, and a little American Playhouse money, and boom! An excellent independent film is hatched!

As fate would have it, I saw this film around the time I became interested in making films, then as a screenwriter (the idea that I could direct a film was still inconceivable). I can’t say Simple Men motivated me to write my first screenplay or direct my first film, but what it said to me was, “You can do this, if you really want to.”

Thanks for the question, Curious. It’s a good one.

Would you, Dear Reader, care to share the film, book, play, song, painting, sculpture, etc. that changed your life? I’d love to hear about it.

And of course if you have a question, just leave it as comment or send me an e-mail at d a v i d { a t } b l o o d o r a n g e f i l m s { d o t } c o m.