Picture it! A select group of film enthusiasts are thrown together in the confines of the Event Space at HOME on a cold wintry night. Each comes prepared with a meticulously chosen selection of romantic films and a steely determination that their film will be chosen! Each competitor is primed and ready to tear their foes’ choices to strips so that their film can be victorious, all in the name of Valentine’s Day!
No, instead the volunteer film programming was a very genteel and uplifting affair, in which each of us put forward around three films – some Valentine’s classics, others… more tangentially romantic, much like the film that we eventually settled upon – and then gave a brief explanation of why we felt our choices fit the bill for a Valentine’s film programme. Once the selections were jotted down on the whiteboard for us all to ponder over, it was amazing to see what a disparate bunch of films we’d manage to come up with between us. (Plus, there were some top new viewing suggestions!)
To me, what was really lovely was how wildly different each person’s choices were and how passionately they explained why they felt that their films were suitable, even if they didn’t ostensibly appear so, and in turn how respectful and interested everyone else was in all the suggestions. Given that the theme for this programme is love, it was really refreshing to see so many different types of on-screen romances represented and in turn how different people connect to certain films in interesting ways. It was a timely reminder of how films can offer us fascinating glimpses into different perspectives.
Once we’d all offered our suggestions and had a bit of healthy debate about the pros and cons of each, we then (agonisingly) settled on one film each from our initial three which we thought would best fit the bill and then a round of votes took place. Naturally, this being a very democratic operation, we couldn’t vote for our own films and instead listed our top three in order. Once HOME’s Volunteer and Home Based Working Manager Ella Walker had tallied up the votes, we were left with another list and a second referendum (if you will) took place, when one clear favourite ultimately poked its head in front of the rest, which was… *drum roll*… Sightseers!
There you have it, the Volunteer team’s democratically elected Valentine’s Day representative! (If only all votes could be so harmonious and efficient) For those who have seen or know anything about Sightseers, you may be wondering just how this particular film qualifies as ideal Valentine watching and what kind of sick people chose it – but, if you think about it, the film quite beautifully (albeit also hilariously and gruesomely) depicts a very real, authentic relationship, which perhaps isn’t the most orthodox, but then who wants a plain, boring, orthodox relationship? Romance, just like film, comes in all different shapes, sizes, colour palettes, aspect ratios, durations etc., so let’s all embrace it!
Words by HOME volunteer Joseph Ratcliffe.