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The Film Club: A Memoirby David Gilmour
What kind of father would allow his son to drop out of high school as long as the kid agreed to watch three movies of the father's choosing each week? Want to start an interesting conversation about parenting and education? Talk about what Gilmour did. Before the book was published, I'd already given advance copies to four friends. Yes, there's plenty inside for film geeks to savor, but, casual moviegoers, don't be deterred. The Film Club is full of love and short on answers — come to think of it, not unlike some of those good friends.
Synopses & Reviews
At the start of this brilliantly unconventional family memoir, David Gilmour is an unemployed movie critic trying to convince his 15-year-old son Jesse to do his homework. When he realizes Jesse is beginning to view learning as a loathsome chore, he offers his son an unconventional deal: Jesse could drop out of school, not work, not pay rent — but he must watch three movies a week of his father's choosing.
Week by week, side by side, father and son watched everything from True Romance to Rosemary's Baby to Showgirls, and films by Akira Kurosawa, Martin Scorsese, Brian DePalma, Billy Wilder, among others. The movies got them talking about Jesse's life and his own romantic dramas, with mercurial girlfriends, heart-wrenching breakups, and the kind of obsessive yearning usually seen only in movies.
Through their film club, father and son discussed girls, music, work, drugs, money, love, and friendship — and their own lives changed in surprising ways.
"In this poignant and witty memoir, Canadian novelist Gilmour (A Perfect Night to Go to China) grapples with his decision to allow his teenage son, Jesse, to leave school in the 10th grade provided he promises to watch three movies a week with his father. Determined not to force a formal education on his son, former film critic and television host Gilmour begins the film club with Truffaut's The 400 Blows — with Basic Instinct for 'dessert.' There are no lectures preceding the films, no quizzes on content or form: just a father and son watching movies together. Expertly tracing the trials and tribulations of teenage crushes and heartbreak, Gilmour explores not only his choice of films but also Jesse's struggles with his girlfriends and burgeoning music career. There are 'units' on everything from undiscovered talent (Audrey Hepburn's Oscar-winning debut in Roman Holiday) to stillness, exemplified by Gary Cooper's ability in High Noon to steal a scene without moving a muscle. Gilmour expertly tackles the nostalgia not only of film but also that of parents, watching as their children grow and develop separate lives. With his unique blend of film history and personal memoir, Gilmour's latest offering will deservedly win him new American fans." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"I loved David Gilmour's sleek, potent little memoir, The Film Club. It's so, so wise in the ways of fathers and sons, of movies and movie-goers, of love and loss." Richard Russo
"If all sons had dads like David Gilmour, then Oedipus would be a forgotten legend and Father's Day would be a worldwide film festival." Sean Wilsey
"David Gilmour is a very unlikely moral guidance counselor: he's broke, more or less unemployed and has two children by two different women. Yet when it looks as though his teenage son is about to go off the rails, he reaches out to him through the only subject he knows anything about: the movies. The result is an object lesson in how fathers should talk to their sons." Toby Young
"[A] touching, witty story about cinema, and how fathers and sons really interact." Very Short List
"Both for its smart, engaging movie talk and for its touching depiction of a father-son relationship, The Film Club gets two thumbs way up." Booklist
"Accompanying [Gilmour's] wisdom on life and love is a father's seasoned understanding and support for his teenager's crippling romantic distresses." Library Journal
Gilmour offers his 15-year-old son an unconventional deal: Jesse can drop out of school, but he must watch three movies a week of his father's choosing. Through their film club, father and son discuss everything from love to drugs — and their own lives change in surprising ways.
About the Author
David Gilmour is the author of six novels, the most recent of which, A Perfect Night to Go to China, won the 2005 Governor-General's Award for fiction in Canada. His work has been praised by William Burroughs, Northrop Frye, and People magazine. Gilmour worked for the Toronto international Film Festival before moving into a broadcasting career with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), where he served as the national film critic for the country's flagship news show, The Journal. He went on to host his own talk show on CBC's Newsworld, Gilmour on the Arts, which won a Gemini Award.
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