THE FILMS THAT MADE US: RAW (or, ANY FILM STARRING HILARY DUFF)
I started working for Curzon, completely by mistake, in 2014. The cinema had recently opened in my home town, where I’d returned to have a breakdown. I’d just completed a ludicrously expensive Journalism postgrad and hadn’t immediately been offered a weekly column in The Guardian. This crushing failure was too much for me to deal with.
I started working 18 hours a week at Curzon Knutsford, before which I thought Jean-Luc Godard was a brand of perfume, that Al Pacino was just one name, and that Hilary Duff was the greatest actress to walk the Earth. I still love Hilary, obviously. She's my girl. But I cannot describe A Cinderella Story as 'the film that made me'.
In a way, Curzon has redefined cinema for me. Films used to be something we’d talk through at sleepovers. Occasionally we’d shut up to swoon over Chad Michael Murray or to marvel at a particularly well placed Goo Goo Dolls song, but mostly they were just background noise. The exposure to cinema I’ve had whilst at Curzon and, more importantly, to people who talk so passionately about cinema, has given me a new perspective. Cinema isn’t elitist at all, it’s for everyone. It challenges things, and it can change things. Now I go to the cinema when I’m sad, I go when I’m happy, and most of all I go when I'm lonely. You can always find yourself at the cinema.
When it came down to actually deciding on one film that has made this post-Curzon version of me, I really struggled. I’ve seen more films in the past three years than I had in my whole life previously, films like Wild Tales, Hell or High Water and The Look of Silence, that I would never have even heard of were I not been surrounded by them. But the film that shows the biggest change in me, is a film that hasn’t had an official release yet.
It's a film called Raw, directed by Julia Ducournau, which had an exclusive screening at Sheffield’s Celluloid Screams Horror Festival. Before Curzon I’d have had no interest in a foreign language film about cannibalism. Before Curzon I'd have had no interest in a horror festival at all. But post Curzon, that’s the sort of thing I seek out. And provided this sacrilegious confession doesn’t get me fired, I can’t wait to continue this cinematic education...
[Grace Clarke, Curzon Aldgate]