Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Friday, May 30, 2008

David Gilmour's Film Club,a cinematic study of the parenting heart

In The Film Club,writer and film critic David Gilmour talks about the unusual way he decided to bond with his son,Jesse,during Jesse's troubled teen years. Jesse was on the verge of quitting school and his father realized that it was a make or break time for them both.

Therefore,he gave Jesse an interesting proposition:if you want to leave school,fine. I won't make you get a job or pay rent,but you have to watch three movies a week with me,movies that I pick for us. Jesse thought about it(his dad insisted that he not answer him right away)and then agreed to the plan,which went on for about three years.

The first movie the Gilmour boys saw was Truffant's The 400 Blows,which set the tone of this impromptu film school right from the beginning. While David didn't exactly go thru the entire history of cinema with Jesse,he did touch on many of the big film movements of the past century.

While Jesse did get into many of the movies,they were some that he just couldn't connect with. A prime example of that is A Hard Day's Night,which his father felt would fully explain the phenomenon of the Beatles to his son. Not a chance;Jesse thought it was boring and found John Lennon to be the least impressive of the group.:

However,they did find some films to admire in common and even had some fun with them. One of the things they did was play "Spot the great moment",pick a scene that is your choice for the highlight of the movie. One of David's is in The Shining,the part where Jack has that chilling chat with the former caretaker of the Overlook Hotel.

Jesse's great moment pick from The Shining is at an early point in the film,where Danny Torrance and his dad share a private moment together that's subtly sinister in it's foreshadowing of the terrors that lie ahead:

It wasn't just all film talk for the Gilmours,Jesse was going thru a number of things,such as a couple of troubled romances, and trying to figure out what direction he wanted his life to go in.

David had many doubts about his method of dealing with Jesse and a few worries about what he might be teaching his son by example. During the week that the two of them saw The Bicycle Thief,David enlisted Jesse's help in discouraging folks from buying a nearby house that he had been promised first shot at,only to be turned away. Jesse didn't think any less of his dad but David was still bothered by his own behavior in handling that and wondered about just how good of an influence he was being.

Jesse was able to go to his father for advice,especially when it came to romance. While David was a sympathic ear,he also gave him a few warning about overindulging in lovesickness,using some film clips to bring his points home such as the end scene from La Dolce Vita.

The Gilmours did find inspiration and harmony in their lives thru the Film Club and even shared cinematic bliss with films like the classic Ran,trashy delights like Showgirls and Basic Instinct and brilliant hybrids of art and entertainment,as with one of my personal favorites,True Romance:

The most important and compelling theme of the book and the Gilmour's growing relationship is that they were able to really talk to each other,about life,film and love most of all. Regardless of how you may feel about the way David went about dealing with his son's foibles,the matter of the fact is that whatever he did worked.

Jesse did eventually go back to school,his own choice,and while his father misses some of that intensive time that they spent together,he is ultimately glad that his son was able to stumble thru some tricky moments(involving alcohol and drugs)without falling too hard or boxing himself into a narrow corner from which there would be no escape from.

The Film Club is now playing at a bookstore near you,and while it would make a great Father's Day/Graduation gift for the men/boys in your life,I urge my fellow females not to turn away from it. This is an open,honest and touching account of a parent reaching to their child during one of the most turbulent points of their relationship and being just as nervous and vulnerable as their kid is. This is a book about family and how film love,or any other mutual interest,can keep that bond alive without bringing it to the breaking point.

Hey,don't just take my word for it. Here are the Gilmours themselves to state their case in point:


Ladytink_534 said...

Someone sent me a link to the NPR (?) interview with the father and his son who wrote this. I really liked the idea behind it! 400 Blows doesn’t really sound like something I could sit through but Hard Day’s Night might be an interesting movie. I love The Shining, the book and the movie (have you seen the Ghost Hunters episode where they went to the hotel that gave King the idea? Creepy!) but I haven’t seen a few of the others listed here but some of the ones I haven’t seen I have heard of. Basic Instinct is one of those but now that I’ve seen the clip I have to go rent it! I have seen True Romance because I’ve always liked Christian Slater but it’s not my favorite movie because Arquette got on my nerves a little. Really great review!

lady t said...

Thanks for the props,LadyTink-the funny thing about the Shining for me is that the Kubrick film had all the scares but none of the intricate family drama that the book had(which annoyed Stephen King to no end)and the TV miniseries remake of The Shining was the complete opposite!

Kind of like that old Reese peanut butter cup commercial,someone needs to make those great tastes taste great together.

Basic Instinct is a fun trashy movie to watch and one of the good things about Film Club is that it makes you want to see some of these movies for yourself(I have to rent Giant,for example).