I knew that I was going to choose a film about Australia’s First People for this prompt and was gearing up to feature The Song Keepers (2017), Naina Sen’s radiant documentary about the funny and spirited women of the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir. Dujuan, the star of Maya Newell’s In My Blood it Runs, has been on my mind, though, with the talk in the news and our socials lately about systemic racism and violence.
This one was a hard one to decide. There are a few that I’ve already listed for other prompts and I was going to choose Yiorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster (2015) until I realised it’s in English (duh!). It came down to exquisite Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In or astounding Estonian B&W In the Crosswind (Risttuules) (2014).
The experience of watching this unique musical tragedy by Danish director Lars Von Trier is burned on my brain. I was a new mum and it was a rare moment when the baby was asleep and I had a few hours to watch a film.
My favourite family-friendly films have a bit of salt and sour with their sweetness and this gorgeous British comedy is genuinely funny, a little bit sad and a tad subversive. It also has some of the best child actors in the business.
I’m not at all an expert on LGBTQI+ films and will be interested in what my more learned friends post. I nearly chose Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden (2016), which was a delight from start to finish, but Maya Newell’s Australian documentary about same-sex parents remains one of the best documentaries I have seen.
I found this the hardest prompt of the lot but, in the end, I couldn’t not choose Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Trois Couleurs (Three Colours) trilogy. After Hal Hartley, Kieślowski was my next favourite director and this trilogy was the first time I saw films that interconnected.
My first favourite director was Hal Hartley, born from seeing and loving his first two features; The Unbelievable Truth (1989) and Trust (1990). Trust might not be typically classed as a romcom – the romance doesn’t drive the narrative and the comedy is decidedly dark – but it is hands down my favourite.
Have you heard of the Bechdel Test? The concept was created by Alison Bechdel in 1985 in a strip called The Rule in her comic Dykes to Watch Out For. It tests films on three criteria: it must have at least two women (named characters) talk to each other about something other than a man. It is a very low bar to pass but still more than 40% of US films fail it.
The definition of guilty pleasure is “something that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard.” I have a trousseau of romcoms that would fit this brief and one of my favourites is this British gem starring Kelly Macdonald and David Tennant.