It’s quite a year for Mark Jenkin. Having premiered Bait at the Berlinale last year, to a hugely successful theatrical release is his hometown of Britain, to now calling himself a ‘multi-BAFTA nominated filmmaker’ – we decided to add one more prestigious accolade to his name. That’s right, he’s the latest filmmaker to to take part in our popular ‘My Favourite Movies’ feature series. The results are below.
What’s the first film you ever fell in love with? It’s probably two films actually. Stand By Me and Big Wednesday. Big Wednesday was a John Milius, 1970s huge flop. I grew up on the coast of Cornwall and we were all madly into surfing, and this is a film about Californian surfing in the 60s and 70s and I never really noticed that it was about the 60s and 70s in California, I just watched it and thought it was about Cornwall. A mate of mine’s older brother had an old VHS copy of it and we used to watch it. I fell in love with it, but probably because of the subject matter. In terms of a cinematic experience that is Stand By Me. It was the poster that I fell in love with. It was on the wall in my local cinema, where we used to go every Friday night. I think Stand By Me was a 15 so I couldn’t go and see it, but in the corridor that led down to screen two in the cinema I used to walk past the poster of it, and I used to think; that film looks amazing, I was desperate to see it. When it came out on video, I used to get it out the video shop all the time and it became a real regular for me and my friends. As I’ve got older everyone from my generation, especially boys I suppose as it’s quite a boy film, obviously, it’s quite an important film.
What’s the one film you never get tired of watching? Performance. I just see more in it each time I see it. I think some people find the film quite problematic because it’s so dense. The first time I saw it, I’d heard so much about it and heard so much hype, and I watched it and thought – what the fuck was that? Now I could watch it anytime.
What’s your favourite movie soundtrack? The Garden. Simon Fisher Turner. I bought that on audio cassette in Tower Records in about 1993 and I’ve had it in my studio on tape recorder, and it’s on all the time. Then last Christmas I treated myself and found a vinyl copy of it, from Germany or something, and bought it for myself and now it’s barely off.
What’s your guilty pleasure? I dunno, it’s difficult because my partner an eleven year old son and so for the last few years I’ve been watching a lot of films that I’ve been showing to him to introduce him to films I used to watch when I was young. It’s difficult the guilty pleasure thing. Having said that, and despite it being cheesy and despite it being really problematic and disrespectful to the real people in some ways, The Perfect Storm is a film that I never tire watching. I do feel a little bit guilty about that because it is about real people and they haven’t been honoured in a particularly accurate way, but in most ways the film’s heart is in the right place. Anything that is about fishing. I’m tidying up my office at my house at the moment, and have been putting my box sets of The Deadliest Catch in chronological order, so yeah, anything about fishing, and commercial sea fishing, I could just watch. The Deadliest Catch I think would probably be a guilty pleasure.
What’s the one scene that always makes you cry? I’m not sure, I’m not a massive cryer in fiction films to be honest. It’s not an obvious one but completely expected, but I watched the film that Yoko Ono produced about John Lennon, Imagine, for the first time in about 20 years the other day. The documentary. I remember as a kid always crying. For obvious reasons.
What’s your favourite ever film set on the coast? Probably Big Wednesday I would’ve thought. It’s quite dated and quite cheesy, it’s incredibly macho but I always watch it through the eyes of the ten year old that I was when I first saw it. It has a real melancholy and nostalgia and a real sad nostalgia to it that I quite like in cinema, that’s when cinema is at its best.