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Insider Tips to Becoming a Film Buff


1st Jan 2015 Film & TV

Insider Tips to Becoming a Film Buff

The credits roll and you head for the exit, only to find the rest of the row still staring at the screen. It’s not because they’re on first-name terms with the best boy, explains film critic Jo Berry. It’s more likely that they want to know about the music or where the movie was filmed, and those details come last. Or it could be that they’re waiting for the Easter egg—the hidden extra in a film that’s put there for aficionados. Learn about auteur theory, film noir and popular sub-genres with the help of film guru Jo Berry.

As author of The Ultimate DVD Easter Egg Guide, Jo is an expert on these bits of the business. Knowing about them is just one of the ways you can improve your film cred, she says. You also need to understand genres such as film noir, dark crime classics like The Third Man, and auteur theory, where the director writes the script (think Woody Allen) and stamps the movie with their style.

It’s vital to get your head round sub-genres too. The hottest is female-friendly horror, says Jo: witness Robert Pattinson vamping it up in the Twilight films; Stephen Moyer, star of cult HBO series True Blood; and the spine-freezing Paranormal Activity. Then there’s the grown-up chick flick (think Carrie Bradshaw and the Sex and the City gals) and the children’s film for adults (peek through your fingers at Where the Wild Things Are.) Biopics are still big—Sam Taylor-Wood’s Nowhere Boy, about John Lennon,  got the boomers queueing a few years back—while environmentally apocalyptic movies such as 2012 and The Road show that the end is nigh.

And when it comes, don’t forget to stay for the credits.

More Tips for Becoming a Movie Buff

1. Stanley Kubrick 

Knowing your 2001: A Space Odyessy from your Star Wars is essential. Kubrick is renowned for his exquisite cinematography, mind-bending storylines and dark humour. As a director he attracts to movie geeks as much as the Star Wars franchise and sets tongues wagging with his cunning subtext. A great place to get started is, of course, Space Odyssey, but for extra buff factor why not try Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. 


The golden era of Hollywood is long gone, but that doesn't mean its output should be ignored. All those big names of yester-year Humphrey Bogart, Greta Garbo, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable. These names no doubt ring a bell but do you know what classic movies each one featured in? At the very least you should have watched Singin' In the Rain, Some Like it Hot and Casablanca.


Hitchcock is the first name in cinema. With well over 50 titles to his name you're bound to have seen one in your time. He inspired much modern symbolism and specialised in suspense thrillers. The pacing of these films are quite different to what we are used to today, but suspense is still high. Classic Hitchcock films to get you started, Rear Window, Psycho and Vertigo


Having a massive impact on silent cinema and making way for Film Noir, buffing up your knowledge of German Expressionism is bound to impress. Characterised by its extreme shadows and surreal environments, German Expressionism paved the way for art house and independent movies. Delve into The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Nosferatu. 


Now you've buffed up your general film knowledge, it’s time to find your favourite genre. Horror flicks, cheap B-movies, science fiction, indie films, art house; there is a wealth of film to delve into. Once you're up to speed you might want to consider expanding and sharing your knowledge with others. Joining or starting your own film society is a great way to make new friends and really turn into a film buff. 

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