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The Film That Changed My Life: 30 Directors on Their Epiphanies in the Dark

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  137 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Spanning several generations-from newcomers to Oscar Award-winning veterans-this volume features a discussion of the movies that shaped the careers of these filmmakers and, in turn, cinema history. Here directors, including Peter Bogdanovich, Kimberly Peirce, Arthur Hiller, and John Waters, explore the film they saw at an especially formative moment, how it influenced thei ...more
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Published January 1st 2011 by Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
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"When they throw the water on the witch, she says, 'Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness.' That line inspired my life. I sometimes say it to myself before I go to sleep, like a prayer." --John Waters, describing the movie that changed his life

Terrific interviews with filmmakers about one (or sometimes two) films that profoundy affected their lives and work. My favorites were Edgar Wright (who picked An American Werewolf in London) and John Wate
Oct 13, 2010 Jr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i read the uncorrected proof of this prior to its publication. thus far i am enjoying it very much. more to come.

this was a consistently interesting read. granted, i am an unabashed cinephile. there were directors interviewed from quite a wide swath of film history, and there were even some i knew nothing about. i was most moved by the clear indication that it is a damn good thing danny boyle has an editor (b/c his mind is constantly ratcheting away at a million miles an hour drawing connections
Dan Jardine
Jul 12, 2013 Dan Jardine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining and engaging read that will occasionally surprise you (Richard Linklater choses Scorsese's Raging Bull. Neil Labute tags Truffault's Soft Skin), and often make a whole lotta sense (Atom Egoyan's selection of Bergman's Persona, John Waters goes ga ga over Wizard of Oz). Some directors cannot seem to stop talking (the aforementioned Egoyan has plenty of interesting things to say about Persona) while others appear somewhat tongue-tied(Chris Miller barely seems to get started on Woody A ...more
Sep 30, 2015 E_h rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I particularly enjoyed reading about the films with which I'm familiar and about the directors I admire. There were a few interviews with directors or about films I'd never heard of, and those were, of course, less compelling. Still, it is fascinating to see how these artists influence and inspire each other. And after reading this book, I'm fairly certain that everyone is influenced and inspired by Martin Scorsese and Orson Welles.
Carnegie-Stout Public Library
"If you love movies and talking about them, you will enjoy browsing this book. It’s like participating in a book club about films."

Read Mirdza's review on the library's blog:
This collection of interviews with filmmakers discussing the film they remember as important to them becoming filmmakers is fairly hit or miss. If anything, the films are all worth seeing and most of the filmmakers add something to a potential viewing.

However, some of the interviews, like Frank Oz talking about Touch of Evil or Edgar Wright talking about An American Werewolf in London set really excellent contexts for why they were personally important. Danny Boyle's interview was underwhelming
Jan 12, 2013 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: only the most hardcore movie fanatics
Shelves: bathroom-book
I bought this for my bathroom at home, thinking that it might be interesting to pick up once in a while and read interviews with famous (and some not-so-famous) filmmakers about the ONE film that inspired them to get into filmmaking.

Unfortunately, many of the interviews are just a bit boring. Perhaps it's because of the interviewer -- who seems to interject a lot of his own opinions into the interviews where they don't really matter -- but in many cases, none of the epiphanies are really all tha
Jan 22, 2012 Mel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-as-an-adult
I found the interviews in this book a bit hit-and-miss. I liked Edgar Wright very much, as “An American Werewolf in London” is the only horror film I have ever enjoyed and his comments clarified a lot of my own thinking about the film. John Landis, John Waters and Kimberly Peirce articulated their thoughts very well but some of the other directors wandered between pretentious and uninterested. A lot of it may depend on how you feel about the films they claim changed their life. Rian Johnson said ...more
Nov 03, 2015 Cate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I throughly enjoyed this book. I have only seen maybe a few of the movies listed, but am intrigued to see the others. It was interesting to read about other directors and the one film( or sometimes two) that changed their lives!
Apr 18, 2016 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, film
First of all, it was really nice to read this book in conjunction with Farber's book. While Farber can be overwhelmingly negative, every chapter in this book is an interview with someone gushing about a film that had a huge impact on them. Something about this interview format felt too unpolished. The author is just too present, and I maybe would have preferred the answers as an sort of essay instead of straight-up Q&A. I agree with some other reviewers that the concept is good, but perhaps ...more
Ming Siu
It was interesting, but I don't think I actually learnt anything. Maybe I was expecting too much.
Dec 09, 2015 Mauri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The concept was really clever and the interviews I ended up reading were cool and revealing but nothing could save this book from the fact that I didn't know of/hadn't seen/actively disliked every movie featured except for ET, the Wizard of OZ, and the Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. Okay, and maybe Paper Moon. So I probably wasn't the audience for this.
Jan 23, 2013 Joey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are few things as wonderful as reading people who are passionate about something talk about it. It's even better when they're people you respect and are interested in and the thing they're passionate about is something that you're also passionate about. Anyone interested in films, filmmakers or filmmaking should read this book.
Don LaFountaine
Apr 20, 2013 Don LaFountaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an enjoyable book for movie buffs. It not only describes the movies that are selected, but they give some good background information on directors. This in turn fills out some the these director's movies as you can now see how they were influenced and the results of that influence. A very interesting book.
I read five of the thirty: guy maddin and l'age d'or, Michel gondry and le voyage en balloon, jay duplass and raising arizona, george romero and tales of hoffman, and john waters and the wizard of oz. Some of the others interviews looked interesting but I'm not going to read them.
Nov 27, 2013 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Found the book really insightful. For my own personal picks If I had to pick one it would truly be hard, it would be between GOODFELLAS, PULP FICTION and CLERKS
i couldn't resist checking this out from the library when i saw the first interview was with Edgar Wright talking about 'American Werewolf in London'!
Raimo Wirkkala
A mixed-bag of thoughts on films considered influential by film-makers. A worthwhile read for film buffs.
Jun 13, 2011 Lauren marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
just heard the author give a commencement speech at the University of Oregon Journalism graduation.
Mar 05, 2012 Hanna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bit hard to get through if you haven't seen the film they're talking about. But I powered through.
Carl Laamanen
Some interesting interviews; others, not as much.
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