FilmFisher is currently running a series of essays on the television series Mad Men, one of the core themes of which is the complex relationship between fictions and realities. According to Jean-Luc Godard, “The cinema is truth twenty-four times per second,” but according to Michael Haneke, it is “twenty-four lies per second at the service of the truth.” For this month’s Undefended, FilmFisher’s writers were asked to list five favorite cinematic truths and lies.
- Ms. Kubelik hears a loud bang and fears the worst, only to find Mr. Baxter with an open bottle of champagne. (The Apartment)
- Before the anticlimactic revelation that Marcello Mastroianni is not pregnant at all, we are treated to a delightfully funny advertising campaign for men’s maternity clothes. (A Slightly Pregnant Man)
- “She’s my sister. She’s my daughter.” (Chinatown)
- “You will _____ be happy.” (The Nice Guys)
- Steven Soderbergh conning Warner Brothers into making Ocean’s 12.
- Star Child looking directly at us, the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
- Caden Cotard directing his unfinished play (Synecdoche, New York, 2008)
- Father Rodrigues’ cremation – or maybe just the entire film (Silence, 2016)
- The “Holy Moment” conversation (Waking Life, 2001)
- Darth Vader reveals himself as Luke’s father (The Empire Strikes Back, 1980)
- Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) crashes through the glass ceiling at the end of The Game (1997)
- From Some Like It Hot (1959) – JERRY: I can never have children! / OSGOOD: We can adopt some. / JERRY: But you don’t understand, Osgood! Ohh… (Jerry finally gives up and pulls off his wig) I’m a man! / OSGOOD: Well, nobody’s perfect!
- Two words: Keyser Soze.
- “I always thought it was better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody.” – Tom Ripley (The Talented Mr. Ripley, 1999)
- Clarence Worley (Christian Slater) explains to Lee why he was trusted to unload so much cola in True Romance (1993)
- “Mr. Carter, if the headline is big enough, it makes the news big enough.” (Citizen Kane, 1941)
- “Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” (Return of the Jedi, 1983)
- “Will I lie to myself to be happy? In your case, Teddy, yes. I will.” (Memento, 2000)
- “We have protected innocence that I’m not willing to give up.” (The Village, 2004)
- “Sometimes the truth isn’t good enough, sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded.” (The Dark Knight, 2008) / “It is time to trust the people of Gotham with the truth.” (The Dark Knight Rises, 2012)
- Catch Me If You Can (2002)
- Memento (2000, and everything else Nolan has done)
- The Witch (2015)
- Spy Game (2001)
- I, Tonya (2017)
- Vertigo (all of it, 1958)
- Royal’s illness (The Royal Tenenbaums, 2001)
- Howard Beale’s editorial – “I’m as mad as hell.” (Network, 1976)
- Rick describes Renault – “Like any other man, only more so.” (Casablanca, 1942)
- The realizations at Watanabe’s wake (Ikiru, 1952)
Honorable Mention: Royal’s tombstone (ibid.)
- Probably the whole movie, though who can say for sure? (F for Fake, 1973)
- Two-way telephone confession (Paris, Texas, 1984)
- The happiest day of David’s life (A.I. Artificial Intelligence, 2001)
- Deception of self and others as original sin (Atonement, 2007)
- Romance between K and Joi (Blade Runner 2049, 2017)
- Communal participation in the delusion (Lars and the Real Girl, 2007)
- Shutter Island’s lighthouse scene (Shutter Island, 2010)
- The consequence of lying (Quiz Show, 1994)
- Feeding viewers’ cravings (Nightcrawler, 2014)
- Samwise talking about stories (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, 2002)
William Connor Devlin
- You just can’t trust Cary Grant and his multiple aliases in Charade (1963). Or can you?
- John Book trying to hide from corrupt police, trying to suppress his violent nature to blend in with the Amish in Witness (1986).
- Is it all a nightmare or is the horror very real in Carnival of Souls (1962)?
- Don’t trust anybody, because they might be a gory, tentacled monster in John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982).
- What Betty Elms discovers inside the blue box might make you look twice in Mulholland Drive (2001).