“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
As I write this, winter seems to have a stranglehold on our weather, though I swear I see some trees stubbornly budding. I’ve decided it doesn’t matter what the actual temperature is—or the fact that we’ve still got snow—it’s March! It’s spring break! And spring is sometimes a feeling more than a state, especially in Canada.
But to truly give myself (and you, dear reader) that spring-is-coming feeling, I’ve decided to compile a list of my favourite films that make me feel all hopeful and peaceful and green and blossoming. (Those are all real emotions, I promise).
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I don’t know what it is about November, but for me it’s a very nostalgic month. Something about the cold and snow sweeping in on the heels of a vibrant autumn, the enveloping gloom, the time change, and the burgeoning anticipation of the holiday season all conspires to make me want nothing more than to be cozy and re-watch all my favourite action/adventure movies.
I’m not sure why action/adventure is specifically the genre I go for. Maybe to counteract the urge to hibernate? While the natural world slows down and beds down, we as a society keep grinding, and so I suppose I seek out some fun and adrenaline to revitalize me in this nippy, busy time without…actually exhausting myself by doing more*.
*Fittingly, a lot of these movies take place in warm, sunny tropical or desert climes, so it only makes sense that I want to watch them when everything’s grey and freezing outside.
If there’s one uniting thread to experiencing winter around the world (for those who have winter, anyway), it’s that it’s a time of story telling. After all, what better way is there to pass the long cold nights than to gather with friends, family, and community and entertain ourselves?
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Summer may have just started, but is anyone else’s brain already in vacation mode? Are we all ready to be sitting on patios in the sunshine, sipping margaritas? If you need a little inspiration, or if you’re unable to head out into the sunshine just yet, now is a good time to dip your toes into summertime vibes with some hot weather movies. Below, I’ve pulled a list together of some of my all-time films for the summer season that you can find in the VPL catalogue (sorry, no Palm Springs or Fire Island just yet). But this list is by no means exhaustive (keeping it to five was a struggle, as you’ll see), so feel free to share your own favourites in the comments!
Before Sunrise (1995)
Really, any movie in Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy would be a good choice (take your pick of locale: Vienna, Paris, or Greece), but since Before Sunrise is the first in the series, it’s best to start there. The 1995 film takes place on a single summer day. Jesse (American) and Celine (French) are on separate paths, but those paths cross for a moment on a train. Deciding to make the best of fate, they disembark and spend the rest of the day (and night) wandering the streets of Vienna, deep in conversation. That’s literally the whole plot, so your enjoyment of this kind of movie hinges on how much you love listening to people talk. The acting is so naturalistic that it’s easy to mistake Ethan Hawke’s and Julie Delpy’s performances as improvisations. The Before trilogy holds a special place in cinema history for its sequel rollouts: Before Sunset catches up with Jesse and Celine nine years later, this time in Paris. It’s a treat to see how they’ve matured, and we’re gifted another glimpse into their lives with Before Midnight, which takes place another nine years later, this time in Greece. But Before Sunrise holds a special charm owing to Jesse and Celine’s youth, with all their naïve philosophizing, and the will-they-or-won’t-they pull between them. These are two actors who play beautifully off each other, Delpy with a keenly European romanticism (and prettily messy French girl hair) and Hawke with the depth to match it (he has recently come out with what is, in my opinion, the correct take on the “are superhero movies art” debate—something very in line with Jesse!).
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