A Life in Film, Amanda Craig (Carroll)

Amanda Craig (Carroll) is the Chiltern Film Society committee member who designs and edits our leaflets, posters, occasional social media graphics,etc and oversees the website. She lives with her husband and children in Chesham, where she has lived for 17 years, and runs a creative business. She has been a member of CFS since 2000.

1)     What was the best film of your childhood?

Far from the Madding Crowd (John Schlesinger, 1967). Watched it on TV aged 11, the first film that ever really struck me in terms of acting and drama.... and there began a bit of an obsession with Alan Bates.

The first film I saw at the cinema was 'Snow White' on re-release aged 5 [Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (Disney, 1937)]. I only remember that our car was locked into the car park and my mother and I had to walk home in the dark under the orange streetlights.

The other most memorable film of my childhood was 'Too Many Chefs' starring Robert Morley [Too Many Chefs (Ted Kotcheff, 1978)]. My parents took me to see it and I have never forgotten it. I think it was supposed to be funny but I was 10 and I found it really disturbing... and there began a lifelong phobia of pâté.

2)      Best date movie?

The only one that ever went well was 'Terminator 2' [ Terminator 2: Judgement Day (James Cameron, 1991)]

3)      Have you ever walked out of a film and if so what and why?

No, but huge force of will was required to stop myself walking out of 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2'. And no I hadn't seen the first one (thankfully). It was only because I wanted to show my kids that we should never waste money or give up on things, but it was torture. They politely said at the end that is was 'ok'. Conversely both my kids wanted to walk out of 'Wall-E', aged 4 and 6, and I forced them to stay, promising a 'happy ending'.

4)      Everyone should see?

'Life is Beautiful'. (original title "La vita è bella") [Life is Beautiful (Roberto Begnini, 1997)]. Though I have never been able to face watching it again, I think of it as the best film I have ever seen. It has some of the best one-liners, comic, romantic, and life-affirming, ever written in film. (I have seen parts of the script since thanks to liking it on Facebook).  I saw it at the Prince Charles cinema in 1997, the whole cinema was in tears, I was crying with the stranger next to me! I must watch it again.

5)      No one should see? I have seen it so you don’t have to

'Certified Copy' starring Juliette Binoche [Certified Copy ('Copie conforme', Abbas Kiarostami, 2010)]. One of those films that promised so much (should have paid attention to my aversion to Juliette Binoche). Horribly painfully dull pretentious film.

6)      Marooned on your desert island you can only save one film to watch over and over again.  What film would you choose. (We will give you a DVD of the Greatest Story Ever Told and Shakespeare in Love)

I haven't seen 'Greatest Story Ever Told' (shame on me!) so that is ok, but I will have to set fire to 'Shakespeare in Love' to attract attention to passing ships.

Does that mean I get two films? Inevitably a very difficult choice. I think 'The Intouchables' the French film starring François Cluzet and Omar Sy, (not 'The Untouchables') [ie Intouchables (Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano, 20110] and/or Le Concert (Radu Mihaileanu, 2009). I'm sure I will think of others but those are the ones that spring to mind.

7)      What film is your guilty pleasure? The film that someone with your good taste in cinema wouldn’t want anyone else to know about.

Shrek. I spent weeks on the sofa with newborn baby and toddler watching that over and over again, never tired of it. Said newborn's first word was ..erm... 'Shrek'.

8)      What  would be the last film that you would like to see before you meet the great film maker in the sky

A very very long one.

9)      Inheritance films. Which film did you inherit and from whom and which film would you like to pass on and why?

Due to a childhood spent being taken to Bond films and weird films starring Robert Morley, I would say I inherit from my student peers 'Withnail and I' , which was out the year I started Leicester Poly – cult film – just brilliant [Withnail and I (Bruce Robinson, 1987)]. Could watch that one over and over.

I would pass on to others, 'Wadjda' . For those who don't know it, a film secretly made by a female director in Saudi Arabia. [Wadjda (Haifaa Al Mansour, 2012)] We had it at CFS two seasons ago. It is a beautiful gentle film but deals with the importance of freedom to be yourself, based around a young girl's quest to be allowed to have/ride a bike and deals with 'grown -up' issues in such a subtle way.

I showed it to my 10 year old daughter and she wanted to watch it again straight away. That has never happened (even with 'Shrek'). This kind of film should be touted as 'family film' rather than the fodder kids are consistently fed.

Also not so much 'inheritance' but I owe my interest in independent films to the Prince Charles cinema off Leicester Square. In my single days in my 20s working in Covent Garden, it was just around the corner, and they didn't charge much for tickets as I recall. After moving to Chesham I was glad to discover CFS!

10)   Who would play you in the film of your life? Two actors please, one for the younger you and one for the older version.

For the younger (teenage) one, Sophia Dall'aglio, from the CBBC programme 'So Awkward'.

For the older one I would say Geena Davis (without the botox) but if she's not quite old enough then Joanna Lumley, though she of course will never truly be old.