MARK KERMODE’S FILM CLUB KICKS OFF WITH JIM MCBRIDE’S “BREATHLESS”
As a teenager in the U.K., I grew up reading the reviews of film critic Mark Kermode, whose smart and opinionated engagement with contemporary cinema rapidly won him a following and led to him becoming a familiar presence on TV and radio arts programs. Kermode is now one of the most passionate and prominent voices in (populist) film criticism — his slot on Simon Mayo’s BBC Five Live radio show has been a very successful podcast on iTunes for some years — and he has used his position as a figure of influence to champion films and directors that his listeners/viewers/readers might not otherwise be aware of. Recently, Gareth Evans’ The Raid: Redemption was a movie he gave special attention; those long familiar with Kermode will know all about his obsession with The Exorcist, a film he used to (and still may) claim was unquestionably the greatest film of all time.
Via Twitch, I found out today that Kermode has started an online film club, housed on his Kermode Uncut blog. He will choose a movie, his blog readers will track down and watch it, and then there will be a discussion of the film on Kermode’s blog. It’s the kind of idea that can be hit-or-miss, but in this instance I hope that it will have some longevity as I think Kermode’s polarizing views and his often very good (if unusual) taste in movies will stimulate some interesting debate. Case in point: his inaugural selection is Jim McBride’s Breathless, historically one of the most maligned remakes of all time but a film that has recently been revisited by a new generation of filmgoers who are less precious about (if no less adoring of) Godard’s original and who have been singing its praises to me. Now seems like the ideal time for me to finally check it out…
Kermode’s introduction to Breathless is below: