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Listed below are just a few of my favourite films, the ones I could think of in 5 minutes. Unfortunately, there don't appear to be any DVD-releases for either Raise The Red Lantern or Kiss Of The Spider Woman yet, or they would have featured here too.

I was surprised to see that many of my favourite films are actually quite violent -- not just my beloved Asian fightfilms but Hollywood movies as well...I always thought I was more of a psychological drama person; but I suppose violence can be quite dramatic too, can't it?

Some of these films and me have a history. Take Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, e.g.: I've seen this film more times than I care to remember, and never by choice to begin with. However, for some time in the late 80s/early 90s, it seemed to always be the one thing on the telly in the wee small hours that wasn't TellSell or the worst kind of soft pr0n imaginable. And after a while, I began to really get into it. Burl Ives's Big Daddy makes me smile, Elizabeth Taylor's Maggie makes me admire her, and Paul Newman's blue blue eyes make me go weak at the knees.

The Sound of Music makes me think of my childhood, when my mum took us to see it a couple of times (there was a cinema in my hometown that ran it for 25 years from when it was first released, and didn't show anything else), and Jesus Christ Superstar reminds me of my schooldays, when for years our Easter break was preluded by it. Since then, Jesus has always had the face of Ted Neeley in my imagination.

Thrillers and horror movies tend to give me nightmares, and for years, I've avoided seeing them like the plague. The first time I broke this habit, was on a night crossing to England in 1993 (this was before cheap airlines made flying a better alternative), and the film that was shown was Bram Stoker's Dracula. What swayed me was that my fellow travellers swore to me hand-on-heart that it wasn't in the least bit scary and that they would warn me when to close my eyes, and the fact that Gary Oldman was in it. I love Gary Oldman. He's by far my favourite actor.

Amadeus is a film I adore. I was already a fan of Mozart when the film was released, but afterwards, I was doubly so...and it also led me to add some of Salieri's music to my -pitifully small- collection of classical music. Tom Hulce and F. Murray Abraham give the best performances of their careers in this movie, and I can happily watch it again and again and again...preferably in the days leading up to Christmas.

Which reminds me: I'm missing another of my favourite films here -- Frank Capra's 1946 It's A Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart.


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Comments

( 7 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
bogwitch
Feb. 4th, 2006 11:40 pm (UTC)
You have excellent taste (mostly).

I had to buy a Chinese copy of Raise the Red lantern on Ebay.
gamiila
Feb. 5th, 2006 09:02 am (UTC)
Apparently, they're preparing a DVD-release later this month.
kassto
Feb. 5th, 2006 09:37 am (UTC)
Ted Neeley is a fantastic Jesus. I just bought the DVD a few weeks ago and had forgotten what a great movie it is -- both as a musical and a drama. For me its the only Rice/Weber musical worth listening to or watching. Neeley has a fantastic voice -- almost the range of a Robert Plant, and he so looks the part. I read a very funny piece at salon.com recently by some woman who was in love with Ted Neeley and was embarrassed that she was hot for Jesus!
gamiila
Feb. 5th, 2006 09:53 am (UTC)
I googled Ted Neeley once, and found to my surprise that he was still touring with Jesus Christ Superstar.

But I agree that's it's a fantastic film, and I have the utmost admiration for Neeley's vocal performance when he's up on the mountain and first rebels and questions, then consents to his sacrificial death. Always gives me goosebumps, that scene does...
kassto
Feb. 5th, 2006 10:09 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's quite extraordinary that he's still at it. The DVD was only made recently and has a great commentary version with Neeley, who's a very sweet and laidback chap and the director, Norman Jewison, (who's a pretty prestigious guy -- I mean, he made In the Heat of the Night, which is a hell of an impressive film) taking you through the whole film. I think the whole cast are brilliant actually, and I've been completely familiar with the songs since I was a kid since we had the soundtrack album at home.

I googled the film and found articles from back in the '70s which showed it was just as controversial then as movies about Jesus are now -- with protests and boycotts and the works. Part of the controversy was that Judas was black and this was supposed to be racist as Jesus is the good white one, and Judas the bad black one. But I think the movie is very sympathetic to Judas -- he's a wonderful character and the movie makes it plain how much love there is between Judas and Jesus. It's just that Judas completely misunderstands Jesus (as that wonderful opening song, Heaven on their Minds, makes clear). In fact, one thing that struck me from watching the movie is that everyone misunderstands him -- Judas, the disciples, Mary, the high priests, Pilate (whose song about his dream is another one that sends shivers down my spine), Herod -- and it gets of course to the point where Jesus knows his path is so beyond comprehension that he stops saying anything at all.

And yes, that Gethsemane agony-in-the-garden stuff is brilliant.... ``I will drink your cup of poison.. nail me to your cross and break me... bleed me, beat me, kill me, take me now, before I change my mind...''

Quite aside from anything else, it's quite a brilliant story, whether you're religious or not, and a very powerful part of our culture.

(excuse rant!)
gamiila
Feb. 5th, 2006 10:52 am (UTC)
You're excused your rant, as I happen to agree with it wholeheartedly! ;-)

I don't remember there having been any controversy over the casting of Judas over here, but then I suppose that not being American, we're far less sensitive to these sorts of things. It's a brilliant role and Judas is shown in quite a sympathetic way, in which we see his motivation and inner turmoil portrayed quite realistically and with great skill. Also, I think the white jumpsuit with the long fringes he wears in the final scene is very sexy...;-)!

But by far my favourite voice in the whole movie is that of Caiaphas, so deep and dark and chocolatey...
kassto
Feb. 5th, 2006 07:18 pm (UTC)
Bass voices are pretty sexy.

And yeah, I think the white jumpsuit is great at the end, and it would not have looked great on a white guy!
( 7 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
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