Cinema for me is…
James in 23 frames
1. Describe yourself in ten words.
An obsessive thinker of things, all mostly related to films.
2. Your best quality? Your worst habit?
Best quality: My attention to detail.
Worst quality: When I take attention to detail too far!
3. Your dream job?
Being an important crew member on important films.
4. What do you like most about your country?
It’s mother language: Maltese! It’s the one thing I’d miss most were I to leave Malta.
5. Your favorite dish in your country?
The Gozitan Ftira. It’s very similar to a pizza, but superior in every way imaginable.
6. Which word or phrase in your native language do you like the most and what does it mean?
“X’sa tagħmel għal nofsinhar?”, which translates into “what will you be cooking for dinner?”. My mother knows this phrase all too well…
7. What European capital have you visited lately?
Bratislava, the beautifully subdued capital of Slovakia.
8. Other than your own, which European country would you love to live in?
Either Italy or France. Films have done an especially great service of capturing the beauty of these two countries.
9. What does Europe mean to you? 3 values.
Stealing these 3 right from the French Revolution motto: Liberty, equality and fraternity.
10. What film made you fall in love with cinema?
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014, US). Right after watching it, I knew two things: first, that this was my favorite film of all time; and second, that were I to work on a similar project, I would die a happy man.
11. Your favorite film theatre? What do you like about it?
It has to be Spazju Kreattiv in Valletta. What I really love about it is that it seems to attract hardcore cinephiles, all of whom brave enough to skip the umpteenth blockbuster flick and watch some awesome European cinema!
12. Who is your movie hero?
I think it’s Juror #8 from 12 Angry Men (Sidney Lumet, 1957, US). “It’s possible!”.
13. Which movie director would you like to be?
Wes Anderson, since he has mastered the act of balancing incredible artistry with the most modest of budgets.
14. Briefly describe your favorite scene.
I’m not sure if I even have a favorite scene, but I really like this particular one from The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972, US).
We’re watching establishing shots of the Woltz residence, all cross-dissolving into each other in an incredibly calming way. The Godfather Waltz plays in the background, accompanying some diegetic sounds of crickets chirping. The cross-dissolves take us into the interior of Woltz’s bedroom, and the music gradually starts turning into something right out of a horror film. Jack Woltz awakens, and the music stops suddenly; his prized race horse has been decapitated, and planted in his bed. Terrifying screams and hard cuts rapidly inch us away from Woltz’s agony, until we’re back at the establishing shot we started with.
15. What are the 3 best European films you have seen in the last year?
The Father (Florian Zeller, 2020, GB)
Mila (Christos Nikou, 2020, GR)
Collectiv (Alexander Nanau, 2019, RO)
16. Which film character do you most identify with?
I think I identify most with solitary characters, who are not lonely by nature but who are held back in some way or another; notably Theodore from Her (Spike Jonze, 2013, US) and Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976, US).
17. Your favorite soundtrack or song?
This is an evil question! There are so many brilliant soundtracks: The Godfather, A Clockwork Orange, Trainspotting, The Hateful Eight, Il Postino… but just for its theme, I think Schindler’s List (Steven Spielberg, 1993, US) has my all-time favorite soundtrack.
18. If you had to live in a movie, which one would you like it to be?
If I could replace Ethan Hawke, then without a doubt, Before Sunrise (Richard Linklater, 1995, US). I’d take Julie Delpy to watch a romantic film, just to listen to her philosophical ramblings on love and life as soon as we left the theatre.
19. Your life becomes a bio-pic. Who plays the role of you?
Kit Harrington, naturally! He’s practically the sole reason why I have long hair.
20. Which talent would you most like to have?
Being able to absorb information like a sponge.
21. What is your most treasured possession?
My 4K monitor. It’s what I spend roughly 75% of the day looking at.
22. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Getting my Matriculation Certificate (A-Levels), enrolling into a Software Development course at University and then switching over to a course in Communications, all during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
23. What is your motto?
Look at past achievements not to gratify yourself, but to realize that the road ahead is conquerable.