Their Favourite Film – Samantha Anderson

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Interviewed by Christopher Roberts

Chris : Hi everyone, and welcome to the third instalment for ‘Their Favourite Film’.  In this blog I get to know our members through watching and discussing their favourite films.

Sorry for the short hiatus, but a lot has been going on, but we are here once again, this time with friend and filmmaker Samantha Anderson. Samantha, born and raised in Essex is the founder of Ark Indie Productions – a film company that creates roles for herself and others interested in working in film and expanding their creativity in Essex. 

Since it was founded in 2019, Ark Indie has made several short, original and beautifully captured films with Samantha as either actor, writer, director or producer. Her second, ‘The Woods Near Jacob Farm’, was recently shown at the Southend Film Festival. Her upcoming project, ‘Room 301’, is nearing completion, while, ‘See What She Did’, is being shown at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival in January 2022.  So now comes to the part you’ve all been waiting for where we talk about Samantha’s favourite film, this time a cult classic but one we shouldn’t be talking about.

Their Favourite Film -Samantha Anderson – Fight Club

Samantha : It was quite difficult to choose my favourite film as I have quite a few, mainly ones directed by Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The film I went with though, I’ve actually only seen 2 or 3 times since its release 22 years ago, whereas The Departed and Wolf Of Wall Street I’ve seen countless times. But Fight Club had such a huge impact on me that I felt it was only right to select this one to discuss.

It was the year 2000, and I had just arrived in Australia with my mum. I had taken myself to bed with jet lag and stuck on Fight Club, which the hotel was kindly showing for free. I was already a Brad Pitt and Edward Norton fan and was soon to be a Helena Bonham Carter fan too… as I watched the film, I was enjoying it, but to be honest, I wasn’t really sure what was going on. I put it down to being excessively tired after our 23-hour journey! As I laid there watching it with one eye closed, in a jet-lagged trance, suddenly the reveal came at the end…. it was so unexpected. I was so shocked that I sat bolt up in bed and made a kind of “whoaaaahhh!!” noise… both eyes wide open now… it was an effect I’d never experienced before from watching a film. I’d enjoyed films immensely, been surprised by twists and reveals before but this was different. It was the first time I immediately needed to watch it again. And surely that’s the best accolade one can attach to a film? 

I felt like this film had been made for me – a year earlier, at 17 years old, I had dumped all of my clothes and possessions, boyfriend and college and went off on my own to travel the world leaving behind me TOTS, TopShop and teenage tribulations. Ok – this wasn’t the same as starting a revolution like Tylor Durden… but it felt like it to me! And as he said in the film, “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything”, Stripping back on materialistic belongings and focusing on the experience of living life. It was a profound film, and I wish I hadn’t watched it so I could see it for the first time all over again. I know the point of Fight Club wasn’t to start violent clubs and carry out destructive pranks on the capitalistic world – otherwise, the film wouldn’t have ended the way it did with The Narrator choosing Marla Singer over Tyler Durden. But the appeal to do so reached far and wide – lots of people with “white-collar jobs” were discovering their inner Nietzschean Übermensch and starting their own Project Mayhems! And it’s not surprising when you look at how Fincher manipulates and perfectly puppeteers the characters, the club and their appeal.

I felt like this film had been made for me… ‘It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything’

Two more mentions before I go – one is the Pixies song “Where Is My Mind” – nothing to say other than, how cool is that? And the other thing is that Fight Club screenwriter Jim Uhls describes the film as…. wait for it… a Romantic Comedy. All these years, I’ve been turning my nose up at Love Actually, Nottinghill, and basically anything starring Hugh Grant… It turns out my favourite film of all time is a corny old Rom-Com. Who knew, eh?!

My Thoughts – Chris Robert’s take on the film.

Chris : Now I know the first and second rule of Fight Club is that you don’t talk about Fight Club, however following Tyler Durden teachings, I need to break from societal rules and be my own man, so screw it, I’m going to talk about it and I would first like to say that Fight Club is one of the craziest films I have ever seen. When I first watched it, I was expecting an action film of sorts about two guys who start a Fight Club and get a bit over their head about it. What I didn’t expect was that it would lead to a fanatical anti-capitalist cult causing domestic terrorism and having one of the most incredible yet insane twists in modern cinema history, but here we are. 

What sets us on this insane journey is the two main characters, The Narrator and Tyler Durden. Two characters who I wouldn’t say are likeable but are compelling to watch, for different reasons. For the Narrator, we’re introduced to someone who longs to feel a connection with people and find value in himself with what he owns; you can’t help but sympathise with him on that and see a little bit of you inside him because of this. On the other hand, Tyler Durden is a textbook nihilist and possible sociopath, yet his charismatic, intelligent and with a presence that draws people in – he is who we want to be. With these characters being brilliantly played by Edward Norton and Brad Pitt, combined with David Fincher vision, we are given a chaotic, unapologetic and sometimes hard to watch film that, despite being 20 years old, still perfectly reflects the world we live in. 

However, the big question I had about the movie (and after doing some research I found many different answers and theories) what exactly is the message from it? Is it an anti-capitalist film showing us how we have become a world obsessed with consumerism and becoming millionaires and rock stars, so we must break from societal rules and the chains that we have put on ourselves? Is it an Anti-feminist film telling us that we’re a generation of men who have become emasculated by the women in our lives and modern society, so we need to regain it through violence and releasing our primal side? Or is it a satire of toxic masculinity by showing the fragileness of men ego and how insecure there can get, resulting in them going to ridiculous lengths to regain it, even going as far to join a group as a way to no longer be a drone following rules but, ironically, just ended up still being a drone following different orders? Whatever the answer is, I cannot answer and can only say that you’re going to have to watch the film yourself. Mainly because it’s an incredible bit of cinema and if you want to discuss it with people on what you think it’s about, then you’re going to have to break a few rules.

My favourite bit of trivia

Fight Club is based on a novel by Chuck Palahniuk and was inspired to write it after getting into a fight one day while camping. even though his face was badly beaten none of his co-worker he saw on the next day acknowledged that he looked any different