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The Film That Changed My Life: 30 Directors on Their Epiphanies in the Dark Paperback – January 1, 2011
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Thirty disparate directors discuss their transformative moviegoing experiences in this collection of revealing and entertaining interviews. The subjects cover the cinematic gamut, from mainstream veterans (Arthur Hiller, Bill Condon), art-house auteurs (Guy Maddin, Atom Egoyan), and young turks (Jay Duplass, Richard Kelly) to cult figures (Kevin Smith, John Waters), documentarians (Alex Gibney, Steve James) and animators (Pete Docter, Chris Miller). Some watched their pivotal flick as children—John Landis saw the fantasy epic The 7th Voyage of Sinbad at age eight and said, “Hey, I could do that”—while others were already committed to the medium and viewed their picks in film school. Many of the choices show an obvious influence—for instance, John Woo, renowned for his hard-boiled Hong Kong crime epics, cited Rebel without a Cause and Mean Streets—but others are genuinely surprising, such as horror auteur George Romero’s picking Michael Powell’s opera adaptation The Tales of Hoffmann. The discussions provide insight not only into the chosen films—most have been viewed repeatedly by the enthusiastic interviewees—but also into the directors’ own works. Their heartfelt and passionate tributes are cinephilia made concrete. --Gordon Flagg
"If you love films and care about filmmakers, you'll have a hard time putting this book down..." -- Leonard Maltin, author of Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide
"A great and provocative read...It's addictive." --Michael Phillips, film critic, Chicago Tribune
A bonanza for film buffs & a wonderful recommendation to all who love movies. Elder has done us all a favor: read this book --Lawrence Grobel, author, The Art of the Interview
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Highlights include Danny Boyle talking about how "Apocalypse Now" affected him (Boyle comes across as the most intelligent and film-literate in a very bright bunch of directors), as well as Richard Linklater's tale of how Martin Scorsese's "Raging Bull" literally changed his life (Linklater was planning on becoming a writer until he saw the movie, at which point he decided he wanted to make movies).
Some of the directors may seem like odd, or even poor choices, when one first gets a look at the table of contents. My first thought on discovering Brian Herzlinger's entry on "E.T" was, do I really want to hear about how a guy who made a documentary about Drew Barrymore feels about E.T: The Extraterrestrial? But the surprising answer to that question was Yes, yes I do.
The "old Hollywood" crowd gets its say, alongside the younger auteurs, with solid interviews featuring John Landis talking up "The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad" and John Waters explaining why "The Wizard of Oz" has provided him with his own prayerful mantra that he recites daily. Highly recommended, both for film buffs and those generally curious about how to skillfully conduct an interview