The Film Club: A Memoir

The Film Club: A Memoir

by David Gilmour


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446199308
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 06/01/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 760,628
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

David Gilmour's sixth novel, A Perfect Night to Go to China, won the 2005 Governor-General's Award for fiction in Canada and has been translated into Russian, French, Thai, Italian, Dutch, Bulgarian, Serbian and Turkish. China and a previous book, Lost Between Houses, were both nominated for Ontario's Trillium Book Award. His novels have been praised by visionaries from William Burroughs to Northrop Frye, and in publications ranging from People magazine to the New York Times Book Review. Gilmour worked for the Toronto International Film Festival before moving into a broadcasting career with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) where he served as the national film critic for country's flagship news show, The Journal. He went on to host his own talk show on CBC's Newsworld, Gilmour on the Arts, which won a Gemini Award. Gilmour's 5,000-word memoir of reading Tolstoy ("My Life with Tolstoy") appeared in last summer's issue of The Walrus magazine (the Harper's of Canada) to huge response and acclaim.

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Film Club 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Life with kids involves a lot of give and take, all in an effort to keep them on a path that will lead them to adulthood intact. What a wonderful gift Mr. Gilmore has given us by taking on his own journey with his son Jesse, through the travails of leaving school, girlfriend angst, rock and roll success and of course, three movies a week with Dad in return. It a touching treatise on parenthood in the real world where nothing is really planned and things happen because that's the way life is. Hard. Unpredictable. And through the movies, we find some lessons, some grounding and something valuable to share. Read this book. You won't be disappointed.
mamadeb98 More than 1 year ago
The lengths that Mr. Gilmore went to in order to save his son was truly amazing. He knew his decision to allow his son to drop out of school would be unpopular, but ultimately it strenthened the bond between father and son, and taught the boy invaluable life lessons. Though they had a few hiccups along the road, this father showed how devoted he is to his only son. The best way to read this book is to watch movies from the filmography as you are going along. A truly remarkable book
andreablythe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When David Gilmour, a Canadian writer and film critic, begins to see that his son hates school and learning with it, he decides to take an unconventional approach to parenting. He makes a deal. His son can drop out of school, doesn't have to work, and can come and go as he pleases, as long as he agrees to watch three films a week with his father. I am always fascinated by alternative approaches to teaching. The public school system's cookie cutter approach to education is bound to fail for some kids, which means that otherwise intelligent and good kids get lost along the way. Gilmour's son falls into that category, and although he writes about him in a rose colored glasses kind of way at the beginning of the book, he presents an interesting journey in which father and son use movies as a form a communication, relating to one another, and as a form of intellectual pursuit. Multiple life challenges come up for both father and son, including the loss of a job and the loss of love (as well as Gilmour's doubts as to whether he is doing right by his son), but movies offer a way of connection and catharsis throughout. Overall an entertaining book.
hairballsrus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Canadian author David Gilmour agrees to let his fifteen-year-old son drop out of school on one condition: Jesse must sit down and watch films with his father three times a week. Part memoir, part movie trivia, part intro to French New Wave, this book was an entertaining easy read. It really hasn't any great insights, except to say if you stay in touch with your kids, your kids will come to you with their troubles. It's obvious the author loves his son and the three years of the "Film Club" created a bond between them that wouldn't otherwise exist. It isn't the films, but the conversations between father and son that keep their relationship grounded. Jesse could so easily have drifted away, but David Gilmour wouldn't allow that. Jesse's "girl troubles", while annoying, really keep the feel of the memoir authentic. The ending is a bit rushed though. Jesse's problems are solved off stage so to speak. I would be interested in read a book by this author focusing solely on his love of films. He has some funny things to say.
lildrafire on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found David Gilmour's story of his son's unconventional education sickly-sweet, almost poignant, and somewhat pointless. I don't feel Gilmour ever gets to the "meat" of the story, but just touches the surface here and there. It almost felt as if Gilmour wanted to write a book extrapolating his favorite films, but didn't want it to be gratuitous, so made it into a "schooling affair" with his son. This book could have been much more.
erikssonfamily on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
David Gilmour's memoir seems to unsure of itself. Is it a father-son story, a tragic love story, or an homage to film? Perhaps it is all three, but none of the elements stand out. Rather, the book remains mediocre...too afraid to be assertive in any direction. I enjoyed Gilmour's critical insight to films, but near the end he waned from that approach. His writing seemed choppy and inconsistent. Though it lacked solidity, it remains a heartful story about a father and son's exposure to film.
coolmama on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lovely, single sitting book.Dad David allows his 16 year old son to drop out of school with the agreement that they watch 3 films a week.This book shows the relationship that develops between them.Really charming.
goodinthestacks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book had a concept that intrigued me and I thought I would give it a shot. A father lets his son quit school if he promises to watch movies with him. I thought there would be in depth discussions about different films and things of that nature and that is what hooked me.The book is a quick, fun read, but there was not much talk about the movies themselves. The writing is crisp and I did end up caring about the father and son and how their relationship went, but I was not satisfied completely because of the lack of movie talk. David Gilmour was very candid with the reader and with his son, and his son was candid with his father. The openess that they had with each other was inspiring and also terrifying. I'm a rather private person when it comes to most of my thoughts and feelings, so seeing this kind of relationship where almost anything could be said was interesting.The book made me think about my relationship with my own father, and in that respect, the book succeeded, but as far as joining the "film club" goes, it seems like outsiders aren't privy to most of their thoughts of the films they watched.
pescatello on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
David Gilmour lets his son 16 year old son Jesse drop out of school. The catch to this agreement is Jesse has to watch three movies a week with his dad. Gilmour was once CBC's TV movie critic through most of the 90s and puts together quite a movie curriculum. The bizarre situation is the interesting to watch and as a movie lover, i was really excited to read the book. I was also pleasantly surprised about the father/son relationship described.The discussions about the movies in the book aren't long enough but they are quite interesting and it covers quite a long list of films. Some classics and some recent hits. I really liked hearing his thoughts on the films and i actually rented and watched a few of his recommendations.The relationship between David and Jesse is the strangest part. It's not at all what i would want with my son but then again i don't have one so i can't really talk. It sounded like a pretty rough situation and while it seems to have turned out well, some of the decisions seem pretty asinine.If you're a lover of movies, it's worth plowing through this as it's short and light. If not, i wouldn't recommend it.
kanata on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Utterly neutral on this book. I can see the pros and cons of Gilmour's decision to let his troubled son quit school and watch films with his dad. As someone who struggled mightily with not fitting in a organized school system I relate to the futility of forcing formal education on those who it doesn't fit. However, I question the idea of Gilmour being the one to provide the alternative mainly because he comes across as quite egotistical and really has a viewpoint on women that I would hate to see passed on to his son. But combining all these pros and cons I'm just left feeling meh about the book. An interesting idea that I would have liked to see executed better but at least Gilmour acknowledges he was flying by the seat of his pants and had doubts about the whole thing too.
vgnunez on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is pretty good as a light read. It provides insight into father-son relationships, which I've never given much thought to but now I've become intrigued by (due to this novel). The premise David Gilmour sets before his son at the beginning of the book (namely, drop out of school and watch movies as a form of education) seems completely unrealistic and if I had read it in a novel instead of memoir I would think of concept as clever but entirely fictional. And Gilmour even notes that he had reservations about his decision... but the concept allows him to get closer to his son and better understand him. So, in the end, what it lacks in poetic prose it makes up for in heart.
Girl_Detective on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A memoir of Canadian novelist (NOT Pink Floyd guitarist and vocalist) David Gilmour, who lets his 15yo son Jesse drop out of school if he agrees to watch three movies a week together. So begins a wild adventure in parenting. Gilmour's unconventional, anti-film-snob approach to movies that probably helped their film club to work for the next few years. More than a movie memoir, it¿s one of parenting, as Gilmour coaxes Jesse through some typically disastrous adolescent romances. Gilmour won¿t be nominated for parent of the year anytime, but he¿s got the critical basics down: empathy, honesty, and the ability to apologize, all of which he relates with humor and self-effacement in this winning book.
TimBazzett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed The Film Club very much, and envied the closeness the author managed to establish with his teenage son, however fleeting. Those are hard years for all fathers and sons - and daughters. Gilmour's method of bridging the gap was certainly a unique one, and risky too. I wondered, after finishing the book, how Jesse is doing these days. I'm sending this book to my son, now 40, with a note telling him I miss him, and wish I hadn't been working so hard during those years, and emotionally absent from his life. I am thankful that my own kids seem to have turned out okay. I have five grandkids now. I'll recommend The Film Club to all and sundry.
ebnelson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A near-perfect exhibition of the impotence of the Boomer ideal of tolerant love¿especially when cast against the raunchy pop culture of the modern youth. The memoir starts with a 16th century quote identifying the mysterious challenge of educating youth. It was an encouraging start. Then it became apparent that the author took the quote as evidence of the inability for a father to raise his son well, instead of a as a challenge to courageously lead his son against ancient forces of youthful apathy, libido, and purposelessness. On behalf of film lovers, I commend his premise to teach through film. Though when thinking of parents who may uncritically admire Gilmour, I shutter. On behalf of those who take education seriously, I'm offended. Home schooling is hard, noble work. I applaud Gilmour for his willingness to look outside the box of contemporary education which is killing our youth, but rather than fight for his son, he sits back and hopes that conversation without leadership or inspiration will stop the malaise that is slowly draining his teen's soul. Sadly, there is little to admire contained in its pages.
BookinKim on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you like movies, you will like this book. Join a father and his adolescent son as they embark on a non-traditional educational experience guessed it - watching films. Although I am not a huge movie buff, this book offered many suggestions to start my own movie education. I could not put this book down because I needed to find out what happens!
omphalos02 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was surprised by how much I liked this book, how much I looked forward to the time I could get back to reading it. Although I did not necessarily agree with all of the author's comments and reviews of the films discussed, I was fascinated and drawn in to his "experiment" with his son. It ended way too soon for me.
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