We were re-watching Fatih Akin‘s "Head-On" the other day, and were again struck by just how good the first real scene of interaction between the two characters is. Their initial two encounters, Birol Ãœnel‘s poleaxed Cahit just shrugs Sibel Kekilli‘s Sibel off, but when the two sneak away from for a late-night drink, she actually draws him out. It’s warmly lit, intimate and flirty, which makes it all the better when he once again turns down her demand that he marry her, and she immediately smashes a beer bottle against his chair and uses it to gouge her own wrists.
It got us thinking about our other favorite cinematic grand gestures, the ones that would look far sillier in real life but that, committed to celluloid, may well be the very thing film was made for. For some reason every one that immediately rose to mind we’ve already included on some other list before:
"Jules et Jim": Jeanne Moreau‘s Catherine, beautiful and terrible as an army in array, is so incensed with an argument about women that, in protest, she jumps into the Seine. The world leaps to its feet in admiration.
"Me and You and Everyone We Know": Same as above, and perhaps it’s just our apparently sadistic streak, given that the majority of our choices involve people hurting themselves, but we were completely hooked by Miranda July‘s oh-so-highly praised debut from its calmly observed opening scene of self-immolation, as everything slows and John Hawkes tries to extinguish the hand he set on fire by beating it against the pristine California lawn.
"Last of the Mohicans": We watched Michael Mann‘s purpled historical epic at the extremely impressionable age of maudlin early teendom, and it has doubtless influenced our taste in film more than we’d like to admit. That being said, we still weep in veneration when watching the, like, ten minutes it takes Jodhi May to leap off a cliff for no particularly reason. She turns to the camera, turns away, and turns back to the camera, all in slow motion…and then down she goes in a flutter of petticoats. What former goth girl could resist a scene like that?