David Gilmour‘s “The Film Club” is nominally about his decision to permit his 15-year-old son, Jesse, to drop out of school as long as he agreed to watch three movies a week of Gilmour’s choosing. That’s it? No requirement to write about them afterwards? No digesting and reprocessing them in some creative way (like shooting a short-film tribute)? Just watching three films a week doesn’t seem like enough to engage a 15 year-old. I would insist on at least four or five.
Douglas McGrath‘s 7.6 N.Y. Times article about the book reminded me, in any case, of that i-Village article I co-authored with my son Jett about three years ago that covered…well, vaguely similar ground. The title was “Kazan for Recess? Kubrick for Snack? How to create a passion for film in your kids.”
The underlying point, now that I’m thinking about it, was that unless a movie-fanatic father saturates his kids with first-rate films early on (and I mean starting at the toddler stage), any effort to implant or encourage a sense of taste in movies will be an uphill one, and may well prove fruitless.
Kids are off into the wild blue yonder by the time they hit 15. Friends, school, burgeoning sexual urges, media distractions…forget it. The spiritual divorcement process actually begins sometime in their late tweens. You have to reach them early on, when they’re still soft clay, or you’re spinning your wheels. Even if you’ve gotten to them early they still go away in their mid teens. But if you’ve done your work they’ll come back after three or four years.
I love two Gilmour lines that are excerpted in McGrath’s article. The first is a statement that Peter YatesBullitt “has the authority of stainless steel.” The other, as McGrath writes, “captures the reality-altering magic that movies cast.” After seeing Bullitt as a kid, Gilmour recalls “emerging from the Nortown theater that summer afternoon and thinking that there was something wrong with the sunlight.”