The Film Club
  • The Film Club
  • The Film Club

The Film Club

3.6 23
by David Gilmour

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"I loved David Gilmour's sleek, potent little memoir, The Film Club. It's so, so wise in the ways of fathers and sons, of movies and movie-goers, of love and loss."
—- Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Empire Falls

"If all sons had dads like David Gilmour, then Oedipus would be a forgotten legend and Father's Day would be a

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"I loved David Gilmour's sleek, potent little memoir, The Film Club. It's so, so wise in the ways of fathers and sons, of movies and movie-goers, of love and loss."
—- Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Empire Falls

"If all sons had dads like David Gilmour, then Oedipus would be a forgotten legend and Father's Day would be a worldwide film festival."

—Sean Wilsey, author of Oh the Glory of It All

"David Gilmour is a very unlikely moral guidance counselor: he's broke, more or less unemployed and has two children by two different women. Yet when it looks as though his teenage son is about to go off the rails, he reaches out to him through the only subject he knows anything about: the movies. The result is an object lesson in how fathers should talk to their sons." —Toby Young, author of How to Lose Friends & Alienate People

At the start of this brilliantly unconventional family memoir, David Gilmour is an unemployed movie critic trying to convince his fifteen-year-old son Jesse to do his homework. When he realizes Jesse is beginning to view learning as a loathsome chore, he offers his son an unconventional deal: Jesse could drop out of school, not work, not pay rent - but he must watch three movies a week of his father's choosing.

Week by week, side by side, father and son watched everything from True Romance to Rosemary's Baby to Showgirls, and films by Akira Kurosawa, Martin Scorsese, Brian DePalma, Billy Wilder, among others. The movies got them talking about Jesse's life and his own romantic dramas, with mercurial girlfriends, heart-wrenching breakups, and the kind of obsessive yearning usually seen only in movies.

Through their film club, father and son discussed girls, music, work, drugs, money, love, and friendship - and their own lives changed in surprising ways.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In this poignant and witty memoir, Canadian novelist Gilmour (A Perfect Night to Go to China) grapples with his decision to allow his teenage son, Jesse, to leave school in the 10th grade provided he promises to watch three movies a week with his father. Determined not to force a formal education on his son, former film critic and television host Gilmour begins the film club with Truffaut's The 400 Blows-with Basic Instinctfor "dessert." There are no lectures preceding the films, no quizzes on content or form: just a father and son watching movies together. Expertly tracing the trials and tribulations of teenage crushes and heartbreak, Gilmour explores not only his choice of films but also Jesse's struggles with his girlfriends and burgeoning music career. There are "units" on everything from undiscovered talent (Audrey Hepburn's Oscar-winning debut in Roman Holiday) to stillness, exemplified by Gary Cooper's ability in High Noonto steal a scene without moving a muscle. Gilmour expertly tackles the nostalgia not only of film but also that of parents, watching as their children grow and develop separate lives. With his unique blend of film history and personal memoir, Gilmour's latest offering will deservedly win him new American fans. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

When Canadian novelist and film critic Gilmour (A Perfect Night To Go to China) runs out of ways to help his son Jesse remain in high school, he offers him the option to drop out, as long as Jesse promises they will watch three movies each week together. Over three years, Gilmour focuses on educating his son but not in the traditional sense (there are no lesson plans). The films the two watch together play a minor role in this memoir-Gilmour shares his informative opinions on a variety of movies, which are indexed at the back of the book-as Gilmour imparts his own views on women, fine wine, and life issues. Accompanying his wisdom on life and love is a father's seasoned understanding and support for his teenager's crippling romantic distresses. As Gilmour finds himself semiemployed during this endeavor, his attention is solely focused on his troubled child-an opportunity few teens receive. In the end, Jesse decides to continue with schooling, going on to college. Gilmour's memoir would fit nicely into public libraries with strong memoir or film theory collections.
—L.P. Smith Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Kirkus Reviews
Moviegoing brings a father and son closer together in this dynamic memoir by Canadian novelist Gilmour (Sparrow Nights, 2001, etc.). While teenaged Jesse was wilting under pressure at his rigorous high school, the author was feeling every bump on the road to middle age. Having lost a lucrative gig as a TV film critic, Gilmour was professionally adrift, meandering toward bankruptcy and, as a divorced dad, convinced that his inept parenting had brought Jesse to his current predicament. When the boy announced that he was dropping drop out of high school, the author surprised himself by going along with the idea-provided that Jesse agreed to watch at least three films of Gilmour's choosing at home with him every week. The rationale, he explains, is that by having his son sit through films of every conceivable style and genre-'40s noir, European new wave, action pictures, old comedies-he would provide at least some of the education Jesse was missing in a formal classroom setting and perhaps even some preparation for the adult world ahead. This risky, quirky home schooling and bonding scheme superbly binds together Gilmour's heartwarming memoir. With ironic wit and self-introspection, he beautifully analyzes the slow but transforming effect the films had on his son. At first Jesse assumed that leaving school would be tantamount to a permanent vacation. Instead, he transitioned from being a confused teen to a grown-up, all the while experiencing the agony and defeat of first romance, working as a dishwasher and finding his true calling as a musician. Gilmour writes an especially poignant scene in which he sneaks out late one night to visit the club where Jesse's struggling band has a gig.Perfectly balanced recollections, brimming with pathos leavened by sardonic humor. Agent: Sam Hiyate/The Rights Factory

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Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

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