A blind date with a movie

Last night I watched the 1945 Powell and Pressburger film I Know Where I’m Going!.

I didn’t plan to. It’s not a film I’ve ever paid much attention to before even though (as the trailer below points out) it’s Tilda Swinton’s favourite film ever.

But I got back home around 9:45 after an evening spent having dinner with some friends and remembered that I’d recently heard about the Criterion Channel introducing this 24/7 service. Here’s how they describe it:

Don’t know what to watch? Let us choose! Click on Criterion24/7 and drop into a steady stream of must-see movies, any time you want.

A few years ago I managed to set up a subscription to the Criterion Channel even though I live in the UK and, technically, it’s only available in the US (this involved setting up a US iTunes account so I could get it on my Apple TV, but I pay for it and everything, nothing too dodgy). Still, I don’t use it as much as I should do, and I tell myself that’s because I don’t have the time to watch all the films I want to watch.

But it turns out I do have time to watch the films I don’t want to watch!

When I got in last night and turned in the 24/7 service, there was 5 minutes of the previous film left. So I let things run to see what came up next. And this is the real genius part of this service: the only way you can see what’s on it is to go to whatsonnow.criterionchannel.com; and that page only tells you what’s playing right now and how long’s left until the next film. It doesn’t tell you what that next film is, or the one after that…etc.

Some people might see that as a usability problem. But I think it’s genius. Because you just have to wait and see.

Last night I sat through the opening credits of I Know Where I’m Going thinking, “Okay, so it’s black and white, probably 40s or 50s. Oh, it’s Powell and Pressburger, should be pretty good then. ‘I Know Where I’m Going’ eh? Don’t think I know it off the top of my head… I’ll just watch the first 15-20 minutes and see where it goes”.

88 minutes later I turned off the TV with a massive smile on my face having enjoyed the hell out of that film.

Lovingly curated, precision engineered serendipity. My favourite kind.

P.S. Not long into this film, the actress Pamela Brown makes one of the coolest and sexiest screen entrances ever. She’s soaking wet, wearing a mac and carrying a gun… Obviously someone’s put it on YouTube already: