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Snow: the highlights

January 7, 2010

Snow day today! The children were at home, and thanks to the lack of buses into town, so were me and Sarah.

Tonight’s post is inspired by the cyncism of Andy Kelly, who on twitter earlier stated: “I refuse to do a #oneaday about snow.” In the spirit on contrarianism I thought I would do exactly that, and so here are my top three films which include snow. Yeah snow! Christmas movies are disqualified for reasons of sanity (so The Nightmare Before Christmas is out, even though it’s arguably a Halloween film. A shame, because this bit would’ve been number two). A warning: I’ve picked Japanese films about dying as numbers one and two, which is probably quite pretentious. And I’ve forgotten The Thing. Balls.

3. Eureka (1983)
Lots of justified fuss was made about the spectacular There Will Be Blood last year, but not enough about the fact that this fantastic Nic Roeg film was clearly a big inspiration. For the opening scene, imagine the intro oil-finding sequence of Blood, only with Gene Hackman instead of Daniel Day Lewis, gold instead of oil, and SNOW! instead of sand and that. Trailer here.

2. Afterlife (1993)
The hook of this strange and beautiful film by Hirokazu Koreeda is that, following death, everyone selects a favourite memory which they then experience forever. So the first portion of the film consists of improvised and real talking-head interviews (the counselling room of heaven with a odd social services feel), before the memories themselves are recreated and captured on film for eternity. As much as anything, it’s a film about filmmaking – we see the makeshift, Gondry-esque special effects of heaven’s film crew (cotton wool on string for clouds) transformed into perfect, glowing memories during playback – the magic of cinema. Anyway, it snows around the compound, and the best bit in the film is one elderly lady’s recreated memory of sitting in a garden as pink blossom falls all around her, which is also a bit like snow. Clip here, slightly clunky US trailer here. It’s really worth finding and watching.

1. Ikiru (1952)
Akira Kurosawa’s best film (yes it is) about a terminally ill civil servant finally brave enough to disrupt the stifling bureaucracy in order to achieve something postive before he dies. It’s a bit like a Japanese It’s A Wonderful Life, only a million times better (weird fact: Afterlife is called Wonderful Life, or Wandafuru Raifu, in Japan). Anyway, one particular scene is like being stabbed through the heart with a sad icicle – when Takashi Shimura, as the civil servant Watanabe, is alone on a child’s swing at night, singing a desperate song as the snow falls. It’s amazing. Trailer here.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 7, 2010 3:02 pm

    This is more a blog about films than about snow. And a good one at that. It's almost as if you're a film student or something.

  2. January 7, 2010 5:06 pm

    You massive ponce. Seven Samurai is Kurosawa's best film As Any Fule Kno, and the best Japanese film with snow in is Lady Snowblood. The best film with snow is, of course, Cliffhanger. Yeah!

  3. January 7, 2010 5:45 pm

    I've never seen Afterlife, but I really do want to now. As for you, Joel, anyone who doesn't agree that dying civil servant > samurai epic HAS NO SOUL.

  4. January 9, 2010 1:36 am

    Ha! I've never loved Seven Samurai. This or Stray Dog are definitely better. I've never seen Cliffhanger either, so technically I can't disagree with you even though I really want too. I also left off Trains, Planes and Automobiles.

  5. January 23, 2010 1:25 am

    How have you never seen Cliffhanger?Ikiru rocks a hard one, though I loved his late films and that early one about the nuke that has about five alternative titles…IMDB says:Ikimono no kiroku (1955) (story) … aka I Live in Fear (USA) … aka I Live in Fear: Record of a Living Being (International: English title) … aka Record of a Living Being (Japan: informal literal title) … aka What the Birds Knew

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