In a 1.22 N.Y. Times interview with former (i.e., recently canned) Village Voice film critic Jim Hoberman, co-authors A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis include a quote that struck a chord with me. Hoberman mentions Francois Truffaut‘s Shoot The Piano Player as “the first movie I really wanted to live.” He meant that Truffaut’s film was the first “sacred text…a kind of synthesis” that he really want to live in.
That’s about the most passionate thing anyone can say about a film they’ve fallen in love with. Not that they merely admire it, per se. Or adore what it’s saying about this or that aspect of life, which is fine in itself. Or are deeply impressed by the mood or style that informs it, or the craft or cunning or instinct that went into its making. But that they would be happy to unhook themselves from their own life (at least temporarily) and literally take up residence in the world of this film, like Mia Farrow briefly did in The Purple Rose of Cairo.
I like my life a lot and don’t want to leave it, but when I was younger there were definitely films I’ve wanted to take brief vacations inside of. I used to dream about submerging myself in the 1959 world of North By Northwest, providing I was well dressed and had lots of cash in my pockets. In the early ’80s I wanted to live inside Michael Mann‘s Thief, and inside Heat and The Insider in the ’90s. I do know that one realm I would never, ever want to live in would be the world of Jason Statham movies. That would be hell.