Buying that perfect gift for a film buff can be a vexing task, so we went right to the heart of Hollywood to get tips on the creative ways in which some directors and stars might enchant a fellow movie lover this holiday season.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw: The “Miss Sloane” star said she’d go with Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” in honor of its 70th anniversary.
“For me, for Christmas, that’s just the ultimate to be able to watch that movie. It’s so uplifting. That would be my gift,” she said. “It’s so beautiful, it’s such a classic and as I say, it’s really an inspiring story about family. I think it’s lovely.”
The 60th anniversary edition is available on DVD for $17.85.
Damien Chazelle: The “Whiplash” and “La La Land” director reached back to his own filmmaking roots and recommended a Bolex camera, like the kind he used to make movies on.
“To me, that’s about returning to the basics. You just put a camera on your shoulder, you go out on the street, there’s no sound, you just film whatever you see,” Chazelle said. “Yeah, you can do it on your phone now, but I love the analog, I love the old-fashioned, rusty old cameras. Maybe no one else does, but I’d give them that.”
Vintage Bolex cameras can run around $400 on eBay.
Alden Ehrenreich: He may only be 26 years old, but the “Rules Don’t Apply” star, who has a passion for all things old Hollywood, said he’d buy George Stevens Jr.’s “Conversations With the Great Moviemakers of Hollywood’s Golden Age” and its companion book, “The Next Generation.”
“It’s all these filmmakers like Fred Zinnemann and William Wyler and Billy Wilder going to AFI and lecturing to people in the ’60s and ’70s when they’re at the end of their careers. But the students they’re talking to are these sort of radical hippie young college students, so the conversations are really, really interesting,” Ehrenreich said. “It’s insight into the way that people like George Cukor and John Ford work that is more contemporary than you usually get from those guys.”
Robert Zemeckis: “I would definitely get them a library of classic cinema … anything that the great American directors directed,” said the “Allied” director. Among his favorites are Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Frank Capra and Stanley Kubrick.
The TCM-curated FilmStruck might not be a bad first stop (from $6.99/month).
Lily Collins: Collins, who also stars in “Rules Don’t Apply,” said she likes physical gifts that can double as art. “I have a collection of vintage film cameras and old film strips and old film reels in my apartment, and I’ve given them as gifts if I find a really hard to find, rare one,” she said.
Lucas Hedges: The “Manchester by the Sea” star said he’d gift some of his personal favorites, including Thomas Vinterberg’s “The Celebration,” as well as the John Carney musical “Sing Street” and its retro ’80s soundtrack (available on CD and vinyl).
Pablo Larrain: It might not be the easiest on the list, but the “Jackie” director said his ideal gift for someone would be to arrange a screening of a silent movie with a full orchestra. “I saw ‘Metropolis’ like that,” he said. “It was awesome.”
Simon Helberg: Helberg, who co-stars in “Florence Foster Jenkins,” thinks that one can’t go wrong with the Criterion Collection.
“I feel like if I could just sit there and clear a few months to watch all of their films, I’d be a much better off, much smarter, much more cultured person,” Helberg said.
Criterion Collection films and box sets are available for individual purchase (new releases include Blu-ray editions of “Breathless,” “Punch-Drunk Love” and “McCabe & Mrs. Miller”), or to stream on the subscription site FilmStruck (from $10.99/month, the cost of a regular subscription plus access to Criterion).