Christy and Emily live in New York and channel chamber folk through a fuzzbox misplaced by Lou Reed in 1971. Their last album, ‘Queen’s Head’ was released on The Social Registry label and is a masterpiece of understated, evocative pop. They’ve just got back from Berlin where they were recording with producer Joachim Irmler of krautrock ÃÂ¼ber-pioneers Faust. European listeners can expect a release in the spring. In the meantime the video for a new track, ‘Superstition’, is up and scaring the YouTube rabbits right now. You can find out more on Christy and Emily’s website. This is their film jukebox. Interview by Nick Dutfield.
1- Flower of the Arabian Nights (1974)
This movie rules because it’s beautiful to watch. Pier Paolo Pasolini’s camera work is organic and simple but amazing. A lot of his players are non-actors, or actors that he ‘discovered’; but with this movie it really seems like he drafted the communities that were around him. I can just imagine Pasolini running around with his skeleton crew shooting on the fly, pulling people in and giving them minimal direction. He really celebrates the natural beauty in all the faces. It’s not make-up and styling that make these people amazing, but rather their real youth, the real sweat on their foreheads. The whole movie is about sex – straight, gay, whatever, and a bit of kink thrown in too. There’s some great optical printing to achieve rudimentary special effects and anyone who sees film as a photographic medium can appreciate its rough edges. Ennio Morricone does the music and that’s beautiful too.
2- Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982))
This film is always brought up whenever the genre of teen movie is discussed, and for good reason: it sets the template. The one thing that really separates it from the others is the coming-of-age story of a teenage girl. It’s probably the most realistic portrayal as well. I mean, she actually has the abortion (Juno this is not)! I don’t know the numbers on this issue but in the neo-conservative world we live in, female sexuality seems to be totally taboo or made to fit into some idealised vision of the world where everyone makes good. OK, Fast Times never means to be this serious and it’s really just fun to watch, but I’m glad it exists for the more adult themes it addresses.
3- Black Orpheus (1959)
Almost every scene of this movie has awesome music playing in it. The people dance everywhere, compulsively. Even when summoning souls beyond the grave there is beautiful singing. Life in this movie is music and only in the darkest and stillest moments of death is there silence. I’ve never been to Brazil – is it really like that? No, it’s all metaphor. At the end Orpheus sings, ‘The happiness of the poor is the great illusion of Carnival’. This movie too is full of amazing beautiful faces, and I really dig Death’s skeleton costume.
4- Starship Troopers (1997)
This movie is really dumb. It’s kind of like watching a Disney adventure movie but then Verhoeven will throw in some graphically violent blood and guts just to remind you you’re not. Science fiction is successful when it can convince you of the world it creates. I really like the themes of this world. Like the citizen versus civilian thing, the military propaganda ads, psychics, and the big bugs from space. There’s always going be more bugs to kill, right? There’s always going to be an enemy. It’s tongue-in-cheek satire, so maybe this movie isn’t so dumb after all.
CHRISTY AND EMILY:
5- The Parent Trap (1961)
Let’s get together yeah yeah yeah, two is always better than one. Let’s get together, oh yeah. We can have twice the fun. Although we haven’t got a lot, we should be sharing what we got. Let’s get together. Oh yeah, I really think you’re swell! Huh uh, you really ring a bell. Ooh wee, happy as can be… Let’s get together!
6- The Thin Man (1934)
This first movie in the Thin Man series is really boss. We can watch it over and over. Nick and Nora are the coolest alcoholic socialite super sleuths ever. The scene where Nick is shooting an airgun at the Christmas tree is especially amazing. Future instalments of Thin Man are enjoyable, especially the one where Asta has a significant subplot involving dog infidelity.
7- North by Northwest (1959)
I love this movie because of the aerial shot of the gardens at the UN in the scene where the protagonist is running away after being framed for murder. The simple geometric shapes from this angle are really stunning. It’s hard to believe they are buildings. I visited the UN building for the first time immediately after I first saw this movie and I’ve been obsessed with its architecture ever since. Like, renting-a-hotel-room-across-from-the-UN-so-I-could-stare-at-it obsessed.
8- Up with People
This is a very low-budget movie about the band Oneida, as they tour through the US. You will never laugh as hard at any movie. They are an amazing cast of characters and whoever shot and edited it did a fantastic job. The extent of food planning that goes on during an Oneida tour is a revelation. They have a menu book of the Southeast and will drive as much as an hour off route to eat where they want. I would never want to watch a movie about the dumb things I do on tour, even though I have a great time doing it. I wonder why this is so fun to watch and think the truth is the Oneida guys are just hysterical.
9- Amadeus (1984)
This movie was very important for me in terms of my sexuality. Because it’s about Mozart, I was sort of forced to watch it at a very young age, and in Christy’s words: ‘It’s not a kid’s movie.’ Educational sure, but not a kid’s movie. Music camp is a very educational place.
10- Madagascar (2005)
Like any great New York movie, Madagascar understands the city well enough to make wonderful jokes about it. I really relate to how the characters of this movie feel trapped here and fantasize about nature. I can’t decide who my favorite character is. The hypochondriac giraffe who has a daily MRI is very, very funny! The team of scheming penguins, top-notch! But my heart totally goes out to the lion, who really struggles as he realises that he wants to eat his friends.