Jack Jewers – Favorite Things

Jack Jewers is a filmmaker and writer. Her career has been dedicated to telling stories through film, television and digital media. His films have screened at dozens of international film festivals, including Cannes, New York, Marseille, Dublin and London’s FrightFest, winning numerous accolades, such as a Royal Television Society award and a BAFTA Wales nomination. for the best short film. His first novel, The Lost Diary of Samuel Pepys, comes out next month.

Here are some of Jack Jewers’ favorite things…

The history of art

I am in no way trained in art history, but I discovered a love and a talent that I did not know myself during confinement when, like many people, I had various projects in the air and I was kinda stuck for things to do. I started doing Instagram stories about art history, and they kind of exploded. I take an old painting (usually from the period I’m writing about), look for the hidden messages it contains, and analyze why the painting was so successful, often from a sassy, ​​secondary perspective. Art is also for me a real access to writing. One of the best pieces of advice I received when I started writing The Lost Diary of Samuel Pepys That’s when someone told me that if you want to get into the minds of the characters, look at the paintings from the era and look at the little details. This is because they can tell you a lot about fashion and hairstyles and when you break down a painting and look beyond the surface it can also tell you a lot about people’s hopes, fears and desires. people of that period. It made an impression on me and gave me a new way of appreciating art history.


My first foray into professional writing was writing guidebooks, and something I discovered while doing that is that the best way to travel is to get lost. It’s good to have a rough idea of ​​where you’re going, but that often means you’re walking through thousands of years of history and missing it. One of my favorite places to travel is the Languedoc region of France because it has this glorious atrophy, you could drive up and see a half-ruined castle around the corner, and you can go take a look. eye inside. Allowing yourself to have these experiences is often when the most magical connections to the past appear. This is the closest thing to time travel.

Movie theater

Cinema was my first creative love and it is my journey. During confinement, my wife and I discovered pre-code cinema. Pre-code means the Hays code, a very strict set of censorship rules introduced in Hollywood in 1934. It completely changed cinema. Up until then, Hollywood was bold, experimental, often quite risky, and far more socially progressive than you might think. There were a multitude of films that were completely wiped out because we couldn’t show them anymore. Now, of course, they are accessible, but because they disappeared from our culture for 20-30 years, they are somewhat forgotten. Finding these movies was an absolute eye opener.

An example that I often come back to is that from a social history perspective, you can see the representation of women change in a few years. In Hollywood, until the mid-1930s, women were not only in front of the camera with stories that put women first, but also behind the camera as writers and creatives. Then the Hays code came into effect, and the representation of women was suddenly that of motherhood. Take The Thin man series, for example, the first movie was made in 1934, and it’s one of my absolute favorites. It’s a really good story and it’s incredibly fun, and the main couple are absolute intellectual equals. They have a very codependent and passionate marriage. If you get to the latest The Thin Man movie ten years later, she’s nothing but a housewife. You go from active women in the cinema to being relegated to the kitchen in just a decade.


My book is about Samuel Pepys, who wrote about a million words over ten years in extraordinary detail in the 16th century. Much of what he writes is about things like meals and food. It made me think about how important food is to me, because like many people, I associate food with friendship and family. Pepys was the first person in England to have a (recorded) cup of tea, even though he didn’t like it and preferred coffee! He also writes about the lavish parties he throws and the almost bacchanalian dinners where everyone gets drunk. Famously, he hosted a particularly rowdy dinner party on the anniversary of a major operation he had undergone in his twenties to remove bladder stones. It’s ironic and shows his dark spirit that he would celebrate a near-fatal disease caused by overeating and highlife by throwing an over-the-top party every year. Food as a kind of communal activity with friends and family is important to me, and I’ve been on a quest since I was fifteen to make the perfect roast chicken.


Someone once asked me what I would do if I had to completely change careers? Surprisingly enough, I said I would like to be a perfumer. I have no experience and it would probably be terrible, but scents are essential to me creatively because it’s the most evocative shortcut to fiction. You could spend pages and pages describing what a place looks like, but nothing will get the reader there as quickly as describing the smell. Fragrances are important to me in my creative space; I always have oils, a scented candle or something burning.

Did you like Jack Jewers favorites? Check out last week’s favorite Things here.

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