The 400 BlowsI love it when movie makers talk about the movies that mean a lot to them, or that changed their lives in little ways. It's interesting to hear what's important to people I respect, and there's always the chance you'll hear something totally unexpected - like the fact that Francois Truffaut's The 400 Blows "changed the way [John Singleton] thought about film." I mean, who could have imagined that? According to Singleton, he not only adores the film but also identifies with both the film's main character and its director - "Truffaut had the kind of life I had...I ditched class, I stole things and might have gone to reform school, but the cinema kept me on the straight and narrow." In addition to the broad, general impact the film had on him, Singleton makes a conscious effort to emulate Truffaut's with the emphasis on non-verbal communication in his own films.

While I've not actually done anything cool as a result, Singleton's Boyz n the Hood did something similar to me. I was home and bored and figured I'd watch it to pass the time, but assumed it would be something hollow and flashy, like a lot of the rap my brother was into. I realized right away that I had been really, really wrong, and actually considered turning the movie off out of fear at what it would do it me. I had never felt anything like that -  the everyday pain of life; the lurking of failure and death in even the moments of greatest triumph. There I was, a white girl living a comfortable, upper-middle class life in middle America, having my world view totally ripped apart by some kid's first movie. I will never, ever forgot how I felt when the movie was over - broken-hearted, of course. But also totally helpless. No movie had ever made me feel that way before, and I love the thought that Truffaut hit Singleton as hard as he hit me. With different emotions, maybe, but with equally lasting power.

God damn. I mean, how much do movies rock?
categories Movies, Cinematical