When you're young it's often easy to identify a favorite film. When you you haven't seen that many, choosing one of them to be the one you want to watch again and again and again is simple
And that's the correct metric for identifying a favorite film, isn't it? How much you want to rewatch it correlates precisely to how you favor a film.
Of course, when you're young, life is simple, so yes, that works. Later? not necessarily so much.
And then there's the thing that your most favorite film forever and ever, which came out last month, is quite likely to be replaced by a new favorite film which comes out next month. Or maybe it has a bit of staying power and lasts until you're blown away by a big release in the summer.
As we grow older, and see more films, then identifying a favorite may very well become identified with either a life event, or the way the film makes us feel.
For that first one, the first film you see in the cinema without your parents, or the first you see with a sweetheart can easily climb to the position of favorite, and that can be in the face of the actual film being less than fantastic because the important thing is the event the film was tied to and so, anytime you see it or think of it, you are transported to a special time.
The second aspect is similar, but less about feelings predicated on external things, and more about the film itself reaching inside you and making you feel something you haven't felt before, making you think in ways you hadn't thought possible, making see the world through different eyes.
A film which makes you do that, will stay with you forever.
Then you get older still, and see more films. And you see new films that are remakes of films which you watched when you were a kid, or young adult, and it's difficult to decide on a remake as your favorite film, because it feels like betraying your youth.
It's also more difficult, as you get older, to pin a single film as your favorite. The reality is you have seen so many and a whole number of them will be tied in some way to something special. So, essentialy, the choice of choosing a favorite boils down to a set of parameters you have to impose and for most of us those parameters are going to have less to do with any artistic merit or cinematic excellence, and everything to do with our emotion.
Now it's time to move away from generalities, to speaking vaguely about the general mass of humanity.
Now it's time to talk about my favorite film.
I'm not a film junkie. I'm not a massive fan of the cinema. There's plenty Top 100 or Must See films that have passed me by. That being said, if I find a film that resonates, then it'll stick in my head.
A good example of this is Washington Square. My wife and I saw this in '98 or '99 in Edinburgh and oof, what a gut punch of a film. Loved it. Never watched it again, but still a powerfully emotional film.
And there are a whole bundle of films I really enjoy, some to the point of having seen multiple times. Some pretty mainstream, some less so, some viewed as having artistic merit, some which focus heavily on car chases and explosions.
But they can remain undiscussed at this point. Time to reveal my favorite film.
With Alec Guinness (The original Obi Wan Kenobi) playing 9 different roles, it is the story of a young man who murders his way to a postion of wealth and prominence in British society.
It's a film from 1949 and black and white, yet it remains a firm favorite of mine and on occasions, such as this, happily claims the favorite crown.
The film makes us sympathise with a serial killer, or at least understand his motivations, and does so without us being exposed to gruesome or bloodthirsty scenes.
The final scene, where the main character is faced with a difficult choice, and has a horrifying realisation, is utterly brilliant.
text by stuartcturnbull image by igorovsyannykov via Pixabay