I must confess that at the end of a busy workday I watch Discovering Film on Sky Arts. Meanwhile our 4-year-old is watching a thing we call “Rubbish Anna and Elsa.” It consists of videos of small Barbie-like dolls living a very materialistic lifestyle. The dolls are manipulated by people and given voices and of course they say things like, “Hey that would be really cool.” They use the cool word rather a lot. My brain rebelled so I stumbled across Discovering Film and there are so many episodes.
The format introduces you to the film star of the day. This can be any famous big screen actor from the 1930s to the present day. I love it. You get to hear where they were born and where they were raised and then the story of their work through their films. There are about 4 or 5 critics who interject with their own take about the work and give it some context. Finally, you get an overview of their work, what they would be remembered for and details of what happened to them – some very much still working like Judi Dench or Ian McKellen.
It washes over you, but it also points you to some films you had never heard of but might like to see. Sometimes the critics can pinpoint exactly what it is about someone’s character or voice or look that makes them interesting as an actor. So often you discover that an actor had a difficult childhood, and it was partly that that made them prove themselves to the world. Sadly, some of them found the pressures so difficult that it impacted upon their lives.
But what a fantastic body of work. Stories of all kinds from all cultures. Stories that give us a real insight to a different age, that shine a light on some many different aspects of our lives.
It becomes a little addictive – even watching the critics with their personal mannerisms and expressions. Some so articulate that you learn something new every time. I wish I had hours to watch some of those films but at least by watching the clips I get a sense of them and how they fit into that enormous collection of great films in the sky.
I hope one day that our four-year-old will see the vacuous world of rubbish Anna and Elsa for what it is, emptiness. But I also hope she later discovers what a rich store of wonderful films awaits her. Now where’s that remote gone?
At Theatretrain, we strive to offer our pupils the best possible opportunities and theatre experiences. In addition to our quality classes in acting, singing and dancing pupils who have trained with us for 6 months or more, can audition for our theatrical agency. Our affiliated agency actively seeks auditions for our young pupils in TV, Film, Theatre & Commercials. For further information on our actor’s agency and our weekly performing arts classes for kids and teens visit www.theatretrain.co.uk.