The moments I selected for my book have stayed in my memory, and leap onto the screen in my head if the title is mentioned. I think they are very "movie" moments, doing something that could be managed in no other medium—the look, the pace, the movement, the texture, the context, all these things are vital. I can describe them, or I will try, but really you have to witness them and feel them.
I was excited by the challenge to write about them, but I hope the moments will send you in search of the whole films, especially those you had never heard of, or not seen before. There are surprises, offbeat choices, perhaps even capricious or provocative selections, as well as plenty of films that you might have guessed would be included—though not always with the moments you anticipated.
You see, there is a gentle theory at work here, which is to wonder, "Well, what is a movie moment?" and in turn that may lead readers into the larger question of how movies function as stories, dreams, and shows, and how they become as potent in our imaginations as the rooms in which we spent our childhood... Once you start to see moments, you become like an editor or a director, getting closer to the strange dreamlike reality of movies.
Excerpted from Moments that Made the Movies, by David Thomson
Copyright © 2013 David Thomson
Reprinted courtesy of Thames & Hudson Inc.