By DAYNA DRUM | Reporter
Film lovers and amateur critics gathered at the Palisades Branch Library on Thursday, April 7 to hear from Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan.
Turan discussed his most recent book, “Not to be Missed: Fifty-Four Favorites From a Lifetime of Film,” and took questions from the nearly full audience about his career, the book and, of course, films.
Beginning with an introduction to the book, Turan explained, “If I was on a desert island with a DVD player, these are the films I would take with me.”
The hardest part of writing the book was narrowing it down to just 54 titles, Turan said. Reading from a portion of the book, he described the process and reminisced on hearing films crying out to be chosen and not left behind.
The number 54 seemed like a reasonable number to Turan, not to mention he liked the alliteration of the F’s. Raised as an Orthodox Jew, Turan only realized later from a conversation with a friend that he unknowingly gravitated to a multiple of 18—a Jewish lucky number known as “Chai.”
The book lists the films in order of release date rather than a standard ranking system. The 54 consist of many obscure films, not often celebrated or widely known.
When someone in the audience asked how someone becomes a film critic, Turan joked, “Bad career advice.”
Audience questions included many about changes in the film industry and the evolution of movie theaters. One attendee asked the highly disputed question of which should come first, the book or the movie.
Turan responded that he always sees the movie first or else he has the book in his head.
“It’s not fair to the film,” he expanded.
The regeneration of the Bay Theater as a part of Rick Caruso’s Palisades Village project was brought up by an audience member, and Turan shared that he would like to see one film off his list shown once a week in the new theater.
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