by Catriona Mills

Articles in “Film”

Humiliation, Round Five: A Slight Difference

Posted 30 November 2008 in by Catriona

I’ve been slack on the blogging front the last couple of days, due to enthusiastic birthday celebrations. But a discussion last night that we should really have another round of Humiliation segued into a suggestion of holding a round of Film Humiliation.

That’s an idea I like, but it’s trickier, I think, than books.

For all Bayard argues that it’s not necessary to have read a book in order to claim to have read it, it is fairly straightforward—for the purposes of this game—to say, “No, I have never actually opened a copy of this book.”

But films—it seems to me that it’s trickier to say, “Nope, I’ve never consciously watched this film.”

And I’m not even talking about the broad tendency to use the television set as a kind of aural and visual wallpaper, because I don’t do that myself: I don’t put the telly on unless I’m actually intending to watch it (with the exception of test cricket).

But films seem to be more easily and readily quotable than books—or perhaps I mean that we’re more likely to recognise a quote from a film than from a book. It depends, of course, on the book and on the quote: anyone will spot “To be or not to be” or “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” but unless we’re actually looking for literary influences, more obscure quotes may well slip past in casual reading.

But I’m not convinced this works with films, when the quotations are as often visual as they are verbal, not to mention the broad geek tendency to speak almost exclusively in quotations from film and television.

I, for example, have never consciously watched Citizen Kane—how’s that for humiliating? But I wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable taking that as my offering in this game of Humiliation, because I’ve seen the core scenes, The Simpsons episode based on the film, the episode of Mad About You that focused on when Jamie had seen the film, documentaries about Orson Welles . . . and so on.

But it’s been too convivial a weekend for me to work through these ideas clearly.

So, how about a round of Film Humiliation instead?

Same rules apply as in the book version: in the comments thread below, nominate a film you haven’t seen but that you think everyone else has.

Nominations will close on Tuesday 2nd December at 5 pm. Then I’ll open up a new thread for the voting. One point per person who has seen your film—and the person with the most points will be the humiliated winner.

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