I promised a few days ago that I would post about my own favourite film scenes. And I feel it is time to push back the boundaries, to embrace new genres, to boldly go where no blogger with any self-respect has gone before. So here is my first quiz.
Here are the fifteen greatest scenes from the fifteen greatest films of all time (in my humble opinion). The clues are not cryptic – they are more-or-less factual descriptions of what goes on. So you either know them or you don’t.
If you think you know a few answers, then post them in the comments section below. I will leave the comments secret for the first week, just to give everyone a chance to compete with a level field. Then I’ll make them public and anyone clever can try and fill in the gaps. There is a major prize for anyone strange enough to recognise all fifteen films in the next week (the prize being: public recognition on the comments pages of this illustrious blog).
Here they are:
[FINAL UPDATE, 16 April 2010: So I have added the answers in below. Congratulations to Neil for getting the best score (10/15), to Berenike for giving the Polish language version of no. 1 (although was it first screened under the French title at Cannes? – only nerds need reply), and Radha and Fr Martin for mopping up the more obscure auteur films at the end.]
- A woman catches a glimpse of her double in a Polish square. (The Double Life of Véronique)
- A boy pretends he knows how to cast a bell. (Andrei Rublev)
- A spaceman discovers he’s not who he thought he was. (Toy Story)
- The mother of the saviour escapes from a psychiatric hospital. (Terminator 2)
- A man catches sunburn in the night on one side of his face. (Close Encounters of the Third Kind)
- An early hominid flings a bone into the sky. (2001: A Space Odyssey)
- A woman deals with the cops and escapes down a phone line. (The Matrix)
- Two men flee into the rush hour chaos of Waterloo Station. (The Bourne Ultimatum)
- A woman is transformed into the woman he once loved. (Note: I had scruples about giving this clue after I had posted it. As regular readers will know, I hate it when people give away twists and crucial bits of plot; and although this isn’t a direct piece of plot information, it could ruin what is one of the greatest ever moments in cinema. I count it as one of the great blessings of my life that when I saw this film at the NFT I had no prior knowledge about the twist and didn’t twig it until the last moment when it is revealed. And it blew me away with the force of an almost existential revelation. This is my convoluted way of saying that, in conscience, I can’t tell you which film this is! But if you have really never seen it, and really want to ruin it then go to this website and look for film number 65 . Yes, I’m making it difficult on purpose – to help you save your cinematic soul.
- Snow falls on snow at the end of the evening as the carriages pull away. (The Dead)
- A camera falls from the sky and a radio programme announces that it’s just some aircraft debris. (The Truman Show)
- A man wakes up to discover that today is yesterday. (Groundhog Day)
- A woman weeps on the top deck of a night bus as it takes her back to South London. (Wonderland)
- A French chef in exile delights the taste buds and lifts the hearts of her Puritan hosts. (Babette’s Feast)
- A hermit leaves his cell after his fall and finds redemption. (See note from no. 9. Click here and look for film no. 7 if you are desperate to know).
[UPDATE at 15 April: I’ve unhidden the replies in the comments section. Neil gets the prize with ten answers. I’ll put all the answers together in a few days, but just to see if there are any film geniuses out there: No one has got the following four films yet (very difficult, so I have added some clues) – 9 (not Orlando; a classic, always in the Top Ten), 10 (not It’s a Wonderful Life; the swan song of one of the great directors, who also has a daughter who is a famous actress), 13 (by a prolific contemporary British director with a film coming out soon), 15 (Italian directors).]