Hi, my name is Trudie Graham. I’m a Scottish filmmaker who recently finished her first feature and can’t seem to go more than 2 days without watching a movie, so choosing 5 films to represent my love for all things cinema is among the hardest of tasks I’ve been set. Luckily for me, over the years I’ve taken to keeping a ranked list handy so when the age-old question of favorite films comes up I can refer to my messy numerical rundown of what has most inspired, moved and ultimately changed me.
1. Mulholland Drive
David Lynch’s Hollywood dreamscape was my introduction to surrealism, and I never turned back. I remember the moment after I finished watching it perfectly. The confusion, the admiration, the excessive Google-ing that took place. I treated myself to a screening of Mulholland Drive at Glasgow Film Theatre for my 18th birthday. Every color, sound, and question it sent out in waves my mind soaked up like a sponge. If you’re looking for a living nightmare, Mulholland Drive is a perfect introduction to abstraction.
2. Donnie Darko
One of the first questions I’m met with after being introduced to someone is, “Is that a Donnie Darko tattoo?” It is. My entire forearm is covered by Donnie, Frank, and relics from, what is in my opinion, one of the most original sci-fi films ever produced. Donnie Darko is a coming-of-age mind-bender that challenges me philosophically every time I return to it. My aunt introduced me to it a few years back, and I’ve not been fond of airplanes or rabbits ever since.
3. The Shining
In college, we were set a task in class one day to recreate a famous film opening. I had never seen The Shining, but my friend insisted on using it. That night I went home and finally pressed play on the Blu-ray my dad had handed down to me months before. The camera glided toward the car ominously, like a ghost. Then the music, overbearing and dreadful, casting a shadow over what’s to come. Before we even reach the Overlook Hotel, warning lights are blinking and telling us to turn back. The Shining provides sickly atmosphere, exquisite direction and ultimately nightmare fuel. Winter weekend getaway, anyone?
Yup! I’m one of those edge-lords that favor James Cameron’s entry into the franchise over Ridley Scott’s original masterpiece. It’s only a slight leaning (I tend to rank them as one entity together which goes against every favorites list rule ever) but the thrill ride provided in this charming sequel is unparalleled. Sigourney Weaver running back into the colony base to face her fears and save Newt is one of the most maternal yet havoc-wreaking moments of instinct I’ve ever seen. As contradictory as that might sound I think that’s what’s special about the Alien series. It understands nature and horror go hand in hand.
5. Kill Bill: Vol. 1
Tarantino’s indulgent revenge tale is the genre mashup of this girl’s dreams. The violence, slick pacing, and general story-telling madness are delivered to us through a great Uma Thurman performance that has me placing my bets on her right away. A true spark of determination and one mission take us a long way. In online film nerd terms, she did that.