Nuovo Cinema Paradiso
It all started with a silly cat and mouse chase. Me chortling, clapping with my little podgy fingers and bouncing on the couch, watching the moving pictures with wonder. That was the starting point or so my mom says. I have no recollection of the moment but it does make an interesting story. This love affair with the television which later translated into a love for English cinema probably began (as my mother claims) when my parents were changing my nappies. ‘Love affair’ though reeks of impermanence, my emotions were anything but.
By the time I was twelve, STAR had nothing more to offer. At fifteen, I got a late birthday present in the form of HBO. I gorged on mini series, movies and by end of season, was a veritable scholar on ‘entertainment ’. At eighteen I joined college and was introduced to a whole new world of pirated CDs. All my pocket money went into that one big splurge at Palika Bazaar. Amidst people haggling and bickering over T shirt prices, shopkeepers peddling X-rated discs to innocent kids, there’s a tendency of getting distracted. But the thrill of the hunt for that elusive piece of art was reason enough for multiple appointments. Of course, DVDs came a little later and therefore my demand for a ‘bigger pay packet’ was justified at that juncture. By the time I turned twenty, my world was rocked again by a radical breakthrough in technology. Broadband made Palika redundant; it was to be the age of DVD rips and torrents. Piracy had assumed a whole new level and students were basking in its sunshine.
I realize now that I really started getting my feet wet in the late 90s. The decade was the perfect time to mature as a cinephile, since it had the highest concentration of flat-out masterpieces. With regard to films, as you will see from the list, I do have significant blind spots, the most glaring of which is avant-garde.
What does Umberto Eco say about lists? That we like them "because we don't want to die"? I guess I take these ridiculous exercises so seriously because, deep down, I think he has it exactly right.
My list of underrated cult classics (in no particular order)
2. Before Sunset
3. Mulholland Drive
4. Blair Witch Project
5. 25th Hour
7. Dead Ringers
8. Boy A
9. Session 9