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Culture Vulture Schmulture – K

In a feature shamelessly “inspired” by The Times‘s Culture Vulture, British Expat brings you the above titled (subtitled “Things you should own, if they’re the sort of thing you might like…”)

The best thing about being a Film Studies student, aside from having so few lectures it caused the cleaner to ask my flatmates if I was actually enrolled on a course, is getting to watch lots and lots of films in the name of research. I don’t need to tell anyone who reads my wibblings regularly how much I love researching stuff. The best thing about watching lots and lots of films, apart from having every girl in my flat in my room on a regular basis, is that you develop diverse tastes. That’s why I could easily recommend this week, having thought very long and very hard (one hell of a change for me these days), that you might like to consider at least seeing (if you haven’t already. It’s your choice. Apparently. I think you’ll all be against the wall come the revolution. Vive la Résistance) King Kong and Kramer vs. Kramer. Though I’ll never be able to face my friends and associates for saying this in an almost public forum (have we passed the magic million yet, Ed??), Kate Bush – The Whole Story is actually pretty good. Well, inoffensive at least. What do you want – blood?

But there’s something better out there. And I can’t believe it took me this long to remember what I wanted to say you might quite like to think about quite liking. I’m going to take my lead from my bible – the phonebook. Kane, Citizen (d’you geddit?) is a superb film, in fact you could almost call it seminal. So well respected is this film that a large proportion of Southampton University’s Film Studies course is devoted to the question “Citizen Kane – the greatest film ever made?”. I’m not going to tell you that it is, it may well not be to your tastes and it’s not my place to tell you how to run your lives, though I’m happy to give you all a prod in the right direction (all of you? I’m assuming someone somewhere is actually reading this, but I wouldn’t know because still no-one has suggested anything for “Z”, and I genuinely am in need of help!).

I’ve mentioned this film before, in a thinly veiled dig at Ben Affleck (“G” – qv), so you’ll remember that Orson Welles was only 25 when he made this film. Frankly the first two minutes, and I don’t want to become a Film student bore here (yet), are cinematographically stunning. Count the edits!! Given a free rein by RKO Radio Pictures (who incidentally have made only two really good films – this and King Kong) Welles and Mankiewicz the screenwriter came up with a project beautifully photographed by Gregg Toland, possibly the real creator of possibly the only good reason to remember 1940.

The fact no-one bothered to see it at the cinema does not truly reflect everything that has been put into this film, the technological and financial risks taken by RKO, the time given of themselves by Welles, Mankiewicz and Toland. Watch it. Make their effort worthwhile. It’s cheap on video as well!

Next time (why pretend it’s weekly any more?) – “L”, and probably another film (sorry, but you’ll understand why, trust me!)

PG Author: Atoz

(aka Dave Stock:) the first person in the world to write to britishexpat.com, and probably the last to send in his biog. After a few useful one-off contributions, Atoz started his irregular A to Z of cultural icons. At the time of writing this, he’s up to “O” – but there’s still no sign of the biog. (Update – he still hadn’t sent it in by the time he’d reached “Z”!)

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