Ace British filmmaker Sarmad Masud has directed diverse projects that range from acclaimed movie My Pure Land to hit TV drama serial You Don’t Know Me, which is available now on Netflix.
Eastern Eye found out more about the creative talent by getting him to pick his 10 favourite films. Before selecting, he said, “I did my best to pick films that meant the most to me, combined with ones I’ve probably seen the most. I know it would be easy to fill this with a list of Akira Kurosawa or Andrei Tarkovsky films, but instead prepare yourselves for the best of the best, according to me.”
The Goonies:I watched this film so many times growing up. Back in those days, we would record it off the telly onto VHS, so it would constantly be on in our house. Thinking back now, I knew it so well I can even recall when the adverts would come on.
Yaarana:Amitabh Bachchan is at his best and every song is a banger. I didn’t realise
until I got older, how much of this story they stole from One Flew Over a Cuckoo’s Nest. I
remember insisting my parents buy me the same Big B suit covered in fairy lights, which lights up in the dark – in the end, I settled for a denim jacket.
La Haine:My go-to film at uni was probably the first where I really saw and thought about what the director does and the fact there is a voice behind the magic curtain. Having connected with the characters and style, I ended up writing my dissertation on it. The quote of it being, ‘an urban nightmare, shot like a dream’ is still firmly imprinted in my head.
The Thin Red Line:This film caught me off guard and totally floored me. Nowadays, it’s hard enough for me to remember if I’ve seen a film, let alone the amount of detail I remember about the day I watched The Thin Red Line, including arriving late; that is how much of an impression it left on me. The scale of it married with the intimate voiceover really got me. I thought it was epic and even now if it’s on TV I will be glued to it. The Melanesian choir songs from this film are wonderful and well worth searching out.
Masoom:Another film constantly on loop in our house. My sisters loved this film, which meant I had to keep it on the down low that I did too. Directed by Shekhar Kapur with a quality cast, it is a simple story incredibly well told. The opening has always stayed with me, with just the sound of the kid running and his point of view – back then I didn’t know what he was doing in terms of craft, but it certainly emotionally made an impression on me. That’s when you know the filmmaking is good. The songs in this film are great; mate, YouTube them now, you won’t be disappointed.
Escape to Victory:I am a sucker for a feelgood sports film. There are plenty I could’ve picked but I’ve gone with this one. There are so many moments in this film which I totally love; the crowd singing, going back out for the second half, the arm break and yes, the end credits. It’s the perfect film to watch on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Buffalo ‘66: I was still at uni studying film when I watched this in the cinema. It’s another film that made a strong impression at the time and stayed with me. My uni mates and I left the screening feeling very inadequate, so we did our best to rip off the film for the rest of our time there.
Back to the Future/Karate Kid trilogies:Yes, I know this might count as cheating, but there were no set rules to this top 10. I love both trilogies. Back to the Future 2 was the first film I saw in the cinema and at the end they showed the trailer for part three. What this meant to my novice cinema-going brain was that every time I watch a film in the cinema I needed to wait until the end for the follow-up trailer. Karate Kid has so many great moments, like Mr Miyagi telling Daniel’s son, ‘it’s okay to lose to the opponent, must not lose to fear’. That still gives me chills.
Moana:The film of the first lockdown for me. I have a young son, and this is the first film he obsessed over. He (we) pretty much watched it every day for about a year. Like some of this top 10, every song is a banger. There is some great diverse representation too. I will forever associate this film with my son, so it will always mean a lot to me.
The Warrior:The Asif Kapadia directorial, not the Tom Hardy one. This film came out the year I graduated from uni. As a British brown filmmaker, there weren’t many people who looked like me out there making films, so you can imagine my excitement and pride going to watch this film. Then doubly so when I realised how classy it was. It is proper filmmaking on a large canvas, full of ambition and heart. Asif had given me hope. I’ve been fortunate enough to bump into Asif a few times since then, and thanks to him, the rules for the UK submission to the Oscars in the foreign language category were changed. And because of that my first feature, My Pure Land, was submitted as the official UK entry. So, Asif, I thank you kindly, sir.