Over the last few years I have started to appreciate, and very much love, film musicals. I used to find them stuffy and old fashioned, the kind of films that Grandparents would watch. But as I get older I think I’m moving past the preconceived notions that I had about film from when I was younger.
I’m more in need of the joy, colour, movement and enthusiasm of the movie musical. I now just enjoy movies that I like, not for what it says about me as a person - and I no longer believe in guilty pleasure watching. If you like something that’s a pleasure to you there’s nothing to feel guilty about. And I love musicals (and romantic comedies, but you already knew that).
Over winter at Eden Court we took part in the BFI musicals season. Screening films from the UK, Japan, India and the US. Hopefully you managed to get along and watch something from the season on the big screen, which is where the movie musical shines. I’ve subscribed to Sight & Sound magazine for the past 15 years, and their video on the evolution of the musical is well worth a watch. It takes in some fantastic clips of some of the greatest musicals throughout world cinema (well, predominately Hollywood, but there are some great clips from other countries sprinkled in there).
Last week I watched possibly the most iconic of Bollywood films, Sholay. It was 200 minutes of music, action, romance and singing (it felt like 90 minutes). It might be the most watched film of all time, but for my first watch it went straight into my top five films I’ve seen this year.
Sholay (Ramesh Sippy, 1975)
The BFI Player has dozens of must see musicals, some of which I’m going to check out while I’m stuck on my couch watching films (I mean I usually choose to do that anyway); Gold Diggers of 1933, Love Me Tonight, Cabin in the Skyand First A Girl (which I missed when we screened it in December) are at the top of my list. You can currently subscribe to a 14-day free trial of the BFI Player if you’d like to take a look.
Aside from my current obsession with musicals, there are some new films on MUBI that I would recommend watching (hopefully you’ve taken up the offer of three months free MUBI through Eden Court). Henri-Georges Clouzot was a French director who began film making in the early 1930s, he moved to Berlin and ended up being fired from UFA (who made some of the greatest German films of the 1920s) as he was friends with Jewish producers. In Nazi-occupied France he worked for another German company and in 1943 made the classic Le Corbeau, he was fired before the release of the film due to what the film said about provincial France under occupation. The French government then banned him from making films for four years for working with the German company and he didn’t make another film until 1947’s Quai des Orfèvres. Both these films are classics of European cinema and it’s worth subscribing to MUBI for them alone.
Musical or not, I hope you manage to watch some great films this week.
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