“Film was a sort of rarified, special thing you might luck into,” says Marlon James, recalling his first encounters with the art form as a child in Jamaica. Growing up in Kingston in the 1970s, he got his cinema education stumbling onto the art-house staples that played on the country’s one television station and watching movies projected in people’s homes. Now an internationally acclaimed novelist—his book A Brief History of Seven Killings won the Man Booker Prize in 2015—he continues to turn to the movies as a source of creative inspiration. Our latest episode of Adventures in Moviegoing, now playing on the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck, features the author as a guest curator, selecting a series of favorite films and talking about some of the experiences that turned him into a cinephile. In the above excerpt, James focuses on Wong Kar-wai’s Happy Together, an aching portrait of love on the rocks, which he considers the “only effective depiction of a gay relationship” on-screen—and one of the few not made for a “straight gaze.” Head to the Channel to watch the episode in full alongside James’s series, which includes Alfonso Cuarón’s Y tu mamá también, Dusan Makavejev’s Sweet Movie, and Errol Morris’s The Thin Blue Line.
John Schlesinger’s Cinema of Failures and Outcasts
A gay man in an age when homosexuality was against the law in his native Britain, the Oscar-winning director eschewed political statements in favor of compassionate portrayals of the human condition.
The Lurid Intensity of Shock Corridor’s Long Takes
In the latest episode of Observations on Film Art, now playing on the Criterion Channel, Professor Jeff Smith breaks down the audacious style of one of Samuel Fuller’s most provocative works.