When faced with the most difficult question you could possibly ask a film fan ‘What’s your favourite film?’ I tend to stutter and mumble for a while before coming to the conclusion that there is no way I could choose just one film that pinpoints my obsession with cinema. Choosing five films to define myself by is no mean feat either, but I have given it a go, and here are my choices:
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
I remember picking this up on DVD some years ago in HMV; a wise old man resembling Obi-Wan Kenobi was browsing through the films next to me when he stopped and uttered those magical words; no, not ’Use the force Luke’ but ‘That’s the best film ever made’. I had never met him but for some reason I had no doubt that he was speaking the truth (this was probably a Jedi mind trick) and promptly brought the film with no idea that it would soon become one of my all-time favourites. Grounded by Nicholson and Fletcher's Oscar winning performances, this captivating drama set in the confines of a mental institution is a deeply poignant story that should be compulsory viewing for every film fan. The humour throughout is note perfect, and Forman does an excellent job of combining the elements of comedy with more emotionally charged scenes in order to reel the audience in before tugging at their heartstrings. I have lost count of the times I have watched this film, and wish I could go back to the man who intervened in HMV, shake his hand, and take him for a pint.
A Clockwork Orange
I would happily include almost all of Kubrick’s films in this list given the space, but seeing as I am limited to five; it had to be A Clockwork Orange. Based on Anthony Burgess’ controversial novel, the story follows Alex, a manipulative teen gang leader who has an unhealthy obsession with Classical music and ultra-violence, much to the horror of the adults in his life. Withdrawn from distribution by Kubrick himself due to acts of copycat violence attributed to the film, A Clockwork Orange’s notoriety precedes it, and even today, fourty years after its initial release, the film retains its shock value. I was the tender age of fourteen when I first watched A Clockwork Orange at a friend’s house and ever since I have had an unhealthy obsession for controversial films that push the boundaries of cinema - if they've been banned, then even better.
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