If you had told me this time last year that I would spend the year watching 580 movies, I would’ve laughed and thought you didn’t know me. I never considered myself a cinephile. I enjoy films as much as the average popcorn-munching movie goer, often choosing films that have light and happy themes or an exciting plot. And then COVID ravaged the world and life as we know it stood still. (Dramatic, I know. Chalk it up to all the films I watched.) The creative industry was hit hard. With the entire country in lockdown, there were no projects, ergo, no work, ergo, an inappropriate amount of free time.
Those first few months were bleak. Endless days of nothingness. And then Ru Paul’s Drag Race Season 13 came and I found purpose. Every Saturday was spent rooting for my Queen (Gigi Goode, ILY.) I watched each new episode with my best Judy, Z. We would hit play at the same time and discuss as the episode progressed. We got to talking and decided it was high time we expanded our knowledge in drag. We wanted to know all the references thrown in the workroom and consequently, in fashion.
Now that we’ve wrapped up Cici & Fifi’s Reel Talk, Z and I discuss the experience and what lessons we’ve picked up along the way.
Camille: Hi Z!!
Zoe: Hey C!
C: So… first off, care to explain why we called ourselves Cici and Fifi?
Z: Well… You met me as Fifi back in high school. HAHA
C: True. And I just copied your name lol come to think of it, we were never in the same class growing up. But what really brought us together is our shared kaartehan.
Z: Okay, but what made us decide to share this whole binge-fest on IG to the point of branding it?
C: I think it was just something fun for us to do. Kind of a creative outlet because we weren’t working at that time.
Z: And then we stumbled upon the Harper’s Bazaar lists of fashion films and thought it would be a fun activity to learn all these references by watching films.
C: Yea, and then we kept adding our own picks. We even asked for recommendations from the fine folks at Endslate. It just snowballed into a thorough and extensive cinematic education. Why did we do that? lol
Z: Coz we wanted to be well-rounded ladies. LMAO But really, we wanted to diversify our knowledge on film that’s why we started watching movies that we normally wouldn’t pick (ie. foreign films and countless crime/thriller dramas)
C: We went through A LOT. Like a ridiculous amount of movies. I’m surprised at the number of films we consumed in eight months. If you had to recommend just one among our sixteen lists, which would it be?
Z: Picking one is hard. I think it really depends on what you’re after and your mood. I’d have to say, the most comprehensive ones we went through were the Endslate and Asian lists because it gave us a full range of genres. What about you?
C: The 50’s list is a great jumping point if you’re interested in fashion and my personal fave. It had the best fashion moments in my opinion. But the ’90s had some hidden gems like Mars Attack!
Z: There were a lot of great camp moments in the ’90s! Didn’t we say that was a missed opportunity for the 2019 Met Gala?
C: We did! Would’ve loved to see a reference to Death Becomes Her or The Coneheads at the Met. Which list would you say had the worst fashion?
Z: Arguably, the 80’s? HAHA It had its fair share of kilig moments though, not to mention great music.
C: Was there ever a time you regretted embarking on this cinematic journey?
Z: Yes. LOL I wouldn’t say I regret watching all of them but there were some movies that were challenging to watch. But I’m glad we powered through because I probably never would have watched half of the movies on our lists.
C: Same! Watching the movies together but apart was my only motivation at one point lol especially the Halloween movies.
Z: Awwww <3 But making all the takeaways got funnier the weirder the list got, right?
C: True! There were a lot of films in there that had us saying “well… that was … something.” LOL! On the topic of takeaways, what would your ultimate takeaway be?
Z: HAHAHAHAH Honestly I don’t think there were any new lessons, most of the stuff we already knew.
C: Agree. I guess that’s what makes these films so timeless. After everything we watched, wouldn’t you say all those stories were ultimately about love? Even the fucked up ones.
Z: YES! Whether it’s a lack of love or an abundance of it in all its different forms, love definitely moved all those stories along.
C: Love is a universal concept that will always be relatable, regardless of genre or era. Wow?? LOL
Z: Love is what keeps us Grounded. Double wow?? HAHA! That got serious. Lol Anyway… would you ever consider working in the film industry?
C: I’ve actually styled for a couple of local films! That was fun. I’d love to do a period film or fantasy one though. I think I’d enjoy the research that goes behind the costume design for that. There’s a lot of thought that goes into dressing an actor for a role. It’s the first thing the audience sees before a character even says their first line. There’s power in that first impression. It would be a fun creative challenge to help establish that.
Z: If you could cast someone dead or alive to play you in your bio pic, who would it be?
C: Feeling ba to say Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly? LOL Felicity Jones? Margot Robbie? I honestly don’t know. How about you?
Z: I would play myself but I would cast Park Seo-joon and Kim Seok-jin as my love interests.