Movie Memories: Feast Fam’s First Film Loves

Feast Fam's first movie memories!

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Theory: everyone has two ‘first movie memories.’

There’s the one you tell people about. This highly-inspirational movie masterpiece changed your life, forever leaving you enamoured with all things cinematic. It’s the one you tell all and sundry about, usually after you’ve talked about the first album you bought. Mine was Return of the Jedi and I was seven years old.

And there’s the one you can actually remember. This movie memory lurks at the back of your mind despite knowing full well that you saw Batman, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and err…Superman IV. Mine was Hook and I was…older than seven.

Robb Sheppard’s Movie Memories

The 1991 Peter Pan sequel was directed by Steven Spielberg. Not that it mattered to me at the time (or indeed, now). It was one of those films that you get taken to. Aside from a giant crocodile falling on the titular Hook, the film is a distant (repressed?) movie memory which has never been revisited.

ABC Cinema Leicester - ABC Cinema Leicester - First Movie Memories

But what has been visited a countless amount of times is the cinema itself. The ABC in Leicester was what was affectionately referred to as a fleapit. The aisles were stickier than a nightclub’s dancefloor after 90’s night. Ashtrays sat in the arms of the seat, filled with Opal Fruit wrappers. The red faux-velvet chair covers wore the scars of where cigarettes missed their mark.

The screening had staff selling ice creams before the film. It had an intermission regardless of the running time and it was always preceded by the video for New Order’s True Faith. Many more dubious films were seen in the same setting (not least Indecent Proposal) but that experience cemented the cinema as an event in itself. It became a place where, as clichéd as it is, people come together. A place where memories are made. Even if the film itself was completely unmemorable.

Joe Bull’s Movie Memories

Wow! Thinking back beyond a week can sometimes leave me with head in hands, screaming madness like General Owen (Marshall Bell) from 1997’s Starship Troopers. But when tasked with my first movie memory a sudden clarity transcended from above.

Krull - First Movie Memories

The film in question features the friendly giant of an actor in the form of Liam Neeson, another friendly half-giant Robbie Coltrane, the relatively unknown Ken Marshall, and some bloke from Eastenders (Todd Carty). It has been a firm favourite of mine from the first TV viewing. Krull (1983) is my first film memory. The Science fantasy swashbuckling masterpiece captivated me from the get-go.

To a child (and now adult) it has it all: an incredible opening of a rock space ship travelling to an unsuspecting planet (even now the soundtrack gives goosebumps); a captivating voice-over giving some nice backstory; an evil monster known only as The Beast; epic battle scenes between the planet’s inhabitants and The Beast’s vile ‘Slayers’ and Fire Mares. Gotta love Fire Mares.

Krull epitomizes my childhood: the feel of sitting on my parents’ sofa, watching on a box the size of a house

Perhaps it is nostalgia which makes Krull so remarkable and the first movie to remain in my memory. Sure, the graphics and plot seem quite dated now but for me, Krull brings back a time of warmth and innocence when tales of Princes and Princesses were cool and novel. Back then, I didn’t care about the critical reviews (I still don’t sometimes), nor its “derivative and nonsensical plot”. Krull epitomizes my childhood: the feel of sitting on my parents’ sofa, watching on a box the size of a house (TVs were big back then), the laughter and emotion coursing through the film…I can practically smell the Salt and Vinegar crisps in front of me.

It was the first film at which I cried – the selfless act of the Cyclops (Bernard Bresslaw) haunts me today. More could be written about the film but instead I’m going to dig out the DVD; sit on my sofa; get a box of tissues ready and relive my dreaming childhood where I am Prince Colwyn with a band of outlaws set to rescue my Princess. Oh and don’t forget the Glaive!

Katie Smith-Wong’s Movie Memories

My parents used to work in a takeaway so films taped on videos were a constant source of entertainment. One of my first movie memories was of Enter the Dragon. As a kid, the violence didn’t really sink in until later. Now that I am (much) older, I think what stands out, aside from the amazing martial arts and the legendary Bruce Lee, was the East-meets-West cultural aspect.

Enter the Dragon - First Movie Memories

Ours was the only Chinese family living in the town so seeing Lee – a reputable Chinese actor – interacting and speaking English with Caucasian actors such as John Saxon and the late Jim Kelly was refreshing. Everyone was on the same level and pre-supposed cultural differences between the characters did not play against them, and instead made them equals.

In a time and industry where diversity is constantly developing, the lack of leading Asian actors in Western cinema is not an issue often addressed. So, whenever I think about Enter the Dragon, it makes me think how it broke more ground than fans realise.

Chris Watt’s Movie Memories

There are few moments in my life that I can say are unforgettable. My parents’ divorce, my first kiss, the birth of my child. You get the idea.

Films were a big deal in my family. Probably because my mother had three boys to entertain, and a husband who was rarely there.

…a movie that would lodge in my memory forever as being the experience that has shaped everything since.

So, on a Friday night in 1982, my mother, most probably carrying me in her arms, my two older brothers in tow, took me to see a movie that would lodge in my memory forever as being the experience that has shaped everything since.

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial is a gentle sci-fi tale about a young boy and his relationship with a small, squidgy alien he finds rummaging through his bins one night. Essentially a giant metaphor for the devastating effects of divorce on the family unit, the film is a charming, at times incredibly moving weepy, shot with a waist high naturalism by walking talking currency converter Steven Spielberg.

ET The Extra Terrestrial - First Movie Memories

Spielberg has always had an uncanny ability to tap into the popular culture and looking deeper, my relationship with his work grounded in me a fundamental understanding of how important imagery can be. At 2 years old, there was no possible way I could have appreciated the technique on display in E.T.: from the editing, to the way the adults would always be filmed from the child’s perspective, to the subtle, naturalistic performances, to the downright miraculous suspension of disbelief when it came to the titular alien himself (although, despite Elliot’s insistence that he’s a ‘boy’, E.T. remains un-sexed, just going to prove how ahead of its time the film was in its treatment of non-binary gender fluid people of all nations, and galaxies, if you really want to read that much into it, which you don’t).

The iconic shot of the bike silhouetted against the moon is so important to me. It’s the perfect visual encapsulation of childhood.

And that’s the pleasure of my relationship with E.T. It’s refreshingly uncomplicated. I just soaked up the experience. I allowed the film to wash over me, in a way that, sadly, since becoming more critical about film, I have been unable to recapture. It’s why the iconic shot of the bike silhouetted against the moon is so important to me. It’s the perfect visual encapsulation of childhood.

Every time I see it, it takes me back to that night. I sat on my mother’s knee, dividing my attention between the images of pure magic on the huge screen before me, watching the dust particles dance in the beam of the projector. It remains my earliest memory, as well as my first movie memory and exposure to the art form that would dominate the next 30 or so years of my still-developing life. It’s also the reason I keep coming back for more in a vain attempt to recapture that most innocent of feelings: wonder.

 

Have you got some fond first movie memories? Let us know below: it’s good to share.

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