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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

OMG, You've Never Seen...: BAMcinématek Confessions

All those hours we’ve spent in the dark, and BAMcinématek still harbors secrets about inescapable film classics and pop-culture favorites we’ve never seen before. The Vulture staff’s list of blind spots has given us the courage to confess some of the titles we’re most embarrassed (or, in some cases, downright proud) of having overlooked.

Florence Almozini
Program Director

There are so many popular, mainstream or "iconic" films that I have never seen. No James Bond (none, not even with Roger Moore who I like very much), no Lord of the Rings, nothing adapted from popular Broadway shows, pretty much no movies with super heroes, a very high number of Oscar winning films, etc... In my ideal world, I would have liked to say that I have never seen a Spielberg film, but unfortunately, that is not true. Then, looking into this a little further, I just realized that I have never seen a Tom Hanks film. Of course, I have seen some bits and pieces of several of his movies, from Splash to Saving Private Ryan, from Philadelphia to Sleepless in Seattle, and none of them made me want to see more. He is not believable as a romantic lead, an action man, a funny guy or whatever he is playing. I find him so bland that it is like he never existed. He is my invisible man of sorts!

Andrew Chan
Marketing Assistant

The problem with getting your cinephilic education from canonical lists (Sight and Sound, AFI) is that you get acquainted with very particular kinds of films—prestigious classic Hollywood fare, high-brow European seriousness à la Bresson and Dreyer—while whole oeuvres of important filmmakers fall through the cracks. Brian De Palma is one such auteur for me, and over the years, despite my best intentions, I’ve never gotten around to addressing my ignorance of him (with the exception of Carrie and Dressed to Kill). The one film people are surprised to discover I have never seen is Scarface. I can name favorite songs inspired by the 1983 blood-soaked Al Pacino vehicle (Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments,” Mobb Deep’s “G.O.D. Part III”), but all I’ve heard from the film itself is the famous “Say hello to my little friend” line. As a longtime fan of Pauline Kael, who praised De Palma to the skies any chance she could, it’s doubly surprising that he remains such a blind spot for me.

Nellie Killian

My colleagues seem most astonished that I’ve never seen Apocalypse Now, but that’s only because they don’t know about some of the other stuff I’ve missed. There are definitely a few big directors that I’ve never gotten that into (cough, Kurosawa) and a few rare screenings that I regret missing (I love Rivette, and I’ve seen almost everything else, but somehow I just didn’t get it together to see Out 1:Noli Me Tangere when it screened a few years ago). What’s a blind spot if not something to look forward to correcting?

David McCullouch
BAMcinématek Assistant

I have a friend. Her name is Mimi. Mimi saw Titanic roughly 12 times in the theater when it was first released. Mimi saw Titanic another three times when it was re-released in 3-D. I have never seen it. I worry that if she ever finds out, she will fly nonstop from Indianapolis to La Guardia, kidnap me and arrange a private screening. This is not out of the realm of possibility... after all she has seen Titanic a documented 15 times. I'm not planning on seeing it anytime soon, so this has to be kept secret so that she never finds out. SHHHHHHH!

David Reilly
Assistant Programmer

Despite having seen several community theater productions of the stage show (and overheard my mother rehearse the music dozens of times for said productions), having been an active member of a "Movie Musical Club" during college, having visited some of the film's iconic locations in Salzburg, and even having performed Rolf's half of "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" at karaoke, I've somehow never mustered the enthusiasm (endurance?) to watch The Sound of Music beyond the inevitable awards show clips. My best excuse at this point is that I'm waiting to see it on 70mm, though I've skipped the opportunity several times while living New York. Maybe I should take the plunge at the Hollywood Bowl's annual singalong instead?

Lisa Thomas
Publicity Assistant

Rocky encapsulates a variety of movie blind spots for me. Sure, it’s in the AFI 100 and considered essential movie viewing, but I’ve never seen it, probably because of lack of interest—I’m not ashamed to admit that sports dramas are not really my bag (blind spot #2). I’ve also seen so many clips and parodies of the movie’s key scenes that at this point I feel like I’ve missed my window. I’ve even run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art with my hands raised high in the air, but no, I don’t know why, really. In my research for this blog post I realized I also haven’t seen any of Stallone’s Rambo films, so there’s another blind spot. And John G. Avildsen, the director of Rocky, also helmed the other sports drama I haven’t seen and always get flak for—The Karate Kid. So sue me.

1 comment:

  1. I make no claims to be a cinephile, so i have plenty of movie blind spots, but I LOVE sports movies, and somehow haven't seen any of the Rockys or Karate Kids either. Also, since we're confessing, I fell asleep during The Shining AND Psycho, so need to get back to those.

    My main pop culture blind spot that i was SO proud of for years was I'd never heard a Justin Bieber song, but as of December, I can no longer make that claim. sigh.