OPINION: Truly great films celebrate life

Peter FiorenzaGeraldton Guardian
Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.
Camera IconRichard Gere and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

I’m not an avid film buff, but I do like a good movie.

And I suppose my taste could not be restricted to any one genre.

As a kid, though, I did like westerns, along with pirate movies, and those Hollywood classics that had an Arabian theme.

War movies are good too, especially the ones that focus on World War II.

Then there are the films that have great actors taking on leading roles.

Robin Williams embodied the role of John Keating in the film Dead Poets’ Society.
Camera IconRobin Williams embodied the role of John Keating in the film Dead Poets’ Society.
Mark Lee and Mel Gibson in the Peter Weir classic Gallipoli.
Camera IconMark Lee and Mel Gibson in the Peter Weir classic Gallipoli. Credit: Unknown/Supplied

The late Robin Williams is a definite stand-out for me, especially in one of my true favourite flicks, Dead Poets’ Society.

Williams not only played the role of English teacher John Keating; he was John Keating — a role that would be hard to see with another playing the part.

For some reason, I’m a big Julia Roberts fan when it comes to women on the silver screen.

Roberts, like Williams, has made some of her roles her own.

There is no doubt the role of Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman is now synonymous with Roberts.

The chemistry between Roberts and co-star Richard Gere was so good I could watch the film again and again.

Yet possibly my favourite of favourites is the Peter Weir film Gallipoli.

Even though it was made back in 1981, I reckon its great combination of cinematography and location work make it, still, so plausible.

Featuring a very young Mel Gibson and Mark Lee, Gallipoli is an affecting saga in so many ways.

Weir captures the young, fearless and adventurous attitudes of the young men who rallied to join the war effort.

He also shows so well the remoteness of Australia in respect to World War, which was so far away from our shores.

His depiction of mateship is compelling and so important to the film’s plot.

And, the six degrees of separation that is demonstrated in the fact the movie centres on the Light Horse mounted troops from Western Australia makes it special too.

I’m also convinced the outback depicted in this story was our own Mid West hinterland.

Films are, indeed, a reflection of life — the many and varied lives that are lived every day.

Our current situation, caused by the coronavirus pandemic, is sure to create more of these.

But when the cameras eventually start rolling again, will the focus change to one that reflects the realisation of how precious this life of ours is?

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