The top ten films of our relationship – Part 1

One of my primary pleasures in life is making lists, so over the next five days,to celebrate our upcoming 10th wedding anniversary I decided to write about the 10 most significant films in mine and Terry’s relationship.

1) Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

I can remember the very first conversation I had with Terry very clearly. It’s October 2000, and I have just started as an undergraduate at UEA. Following a perfunctory look around the Fresher’s Fair, I joined Drama Soc since acting was my favourite hobby at the time. A few of us gathered at the bar one evening in preparation for a bowling night, which is where I first set eyes on a strikingly handsome chap with long black hair.
It was around this time that key casting information was starting to come out about the first Harry Potter film, and Julie Walters had just been announced in the role of Molly Weasley. I used to joke that I only really went to University to have something to do while I waited for the 5th Harry Potter book to come out. This isn’t exactly true, but is significantly less offensive than Boris Johnson’s assertion that women only went to University to find husband’s, which in fact did turn out to be slightly more accurate in my case. At the tender age of 18 I lived and breathed all things Potter, and would happily chat for hours with anyone who shared this passion. After just a few short minutes of small talk, Terry and I were enthusiastically discussing the latest developments with the film and who should get the remaining roles. Terry was quite insistent that Alec Guinness should play Dumbledore. I gently reminded him that the Alec Guinness was no longer on this mortal coil. Terry felt this was a mere detail, and that since marvellous things were being done with green screen, all that was needed was to pull out the relevant lines which that most prolific of actors must have uttered at some point in his illustrious career. I countered that he probably hadn’t used the word Quidditch in his back catalogue…
And so the conversation went on. Terry was charming, clever, and funny without his humour being at anyone’s expense (the slight irreverence of Sir Guinness’ demise notwithstanding) and if I were more romantically inclined I would say I fell a little bit in love with him that evening discussing this film which did not yet even exist.
As it is however I was actually seeing someone else at the time, so really was just out to meet new people in a friendly capacity, and in no way on the prowl for a sexual partner. To his credit, my lack of availability didn’t cause him to turn his attention elsewhere at the mention of my boyfriend, and we stayed as good friends throughout my first term.
About 18 months down the line I had a poster of this film on my wall. Again, if I were a romantic I would say it was in honour of that shared cultural interest that first sparked our relationship. More pragmatically, the poster had the release date of film on it 16.11.2002, which was two days before his birthday, and served as a handy reminder.

2) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

It’s February 2001, and we are sexy young things who are utterly convinced of our own worldliness. Not for us those stuffy conventions of chaste courtship. We are still enjoying how Austin Powers describes the 90’s as “freedom and responsibility – very groovy times baby!” As such our first proper date happens some time after the point that we hooked up. But some traditions are worth observing for practical reasons. Go see a movie and then have dinner. If you realise during dinner you have nothing else, you can at least talk about the film before you can get out of there.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was a bit of a shibboleth for the sophisticated wannabee film connoisseur at the time. Watching it connoted an appreciation for the finer points of film making; the cinematography, the choreography, the heartbreaking romance between Michelle Yeoh and Ang Lee. And, obviously it was a Foreign Language Film, and watching anything with subtitles automatically elevates the activity to a higher plane of intellect. We are high brow culture aficionados but like, totally, in a post-modern, ironic, self aware way. God we must have been insufferable.

All that said, it is a brilliant, beautiful film. Amongst other things, it’s a coming of age tale as Zhiang Zhi begins to understand the humanity and fragility of the adults in her life. It seems appropriate therefore that this film marks the nascent relationship between two proto-grown ups who for all their youthful bluster are still learning who they are as people.

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