Thursday, May 17, 2007

These Days

A challenge from Nat over at The Film Experience asks for any willing blogger to write a post, discussing his/her memories over a specific film or time in their life that revolved around film. Seeing as how mine started when I was barely a child, (Sorry Nat, but I dug the hell out of E.T.), I tried to think back to those pre-teen years where all that mattered was getting somehow, someway, to a movie theater.

See, I grew up in a very small town. And I mean, SMALL. 10,000 on 3 1/2 square miles of earth small. And in those 3 1/2 square miles my entire childhood remains. I remember bike riding through what me and my cousin termed 'Bum Village', walking around on overcast days in the winter with friends discussing one subject of another, and these are all fantastic memories.

But they don't compare to the films. They can't.

I remember, walking into the Northridge Mall's multiplex to watch 'Beauty and the Beast'. Four years old, scared out of my mind, (the television version with Ron Perlman was my childhood fear... seriously. I was always under the impression he was lurking down in those sewers trying to find a way to kill Belle. Eek.) the Disney logo came up and we flew over the Enchanted Forest. I sat there bewildered, ecstatic, and frightened to the point of pissing my pants.
I remember this.

I also remember laughing at Cogsworth and Lumiere.
I remember adoring Mrs. Potts and wishing she could be my third grandmother.
I remember the ending.
I remember watching the Beast die, bawling as much as one possibly can,
only to watch his transformation into that wonderful Aryan beauty,
and a feeling of complete and total enrapturement flung itself over me,
and I was in love. With everything.

I remember my parents taking me up to see 'Snow White', which I'd never viewed before. I thought it was one of the greatest possible gifts, to be able to see this film never before released on video (at least, at the time) in a theater setting, and just soak in all the grandeur. Which I did, to great effect.

I remember my father, who was a modest man and worked for a modest living, garnering more than he'd planned on at a garage sale when I was eight, and asking me and my brother if we cared to go watch 'Toy Story' in Monterey. We about died.

I remember saying that if we viewed 'The Lost World' opening weekend, we'd be 'paying respect' to the film, as though it were a shrine upon shrines.

I remember 'Contact' and thinking no sequence in the history of the medium could have been more beautiful than that last half hour.

I remember 'Titanic'.
I remember 'Titanic' and I remember falling in love with film all over again.
I remember falling in love with that relationship between Jack and Rose, which I still to this day feel is unrivaled in most modern romances, hence my unimaginable desire to see 'Revolutionary Road' right this second.

I remember it all.

I remember 'The Lord of the Rings'.
I remember 'Artificial Intelligence'.
I remember Shyamalan.
I remember 'Road to Perdition'.

I remember thinking I'd known everything that there ever could be to know about film.
and then I remember watching 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'.

And I remember walking out of there going,
I know nothing.'

And then Linklater, Bergman, Cassavetes, Van Sant, Almodovar, 'Imaginary Heroes', Zhang Yimou, Miranda July, 'Garden State',
they all followed.

And I've still got a hell of a long ways to go.

...when I view a film, I always view it twice if I love it.
I do so, because I am, by nature, a very emotional person.
Read: Emotional, not Dramatic.
I get caught up in the swell of things, the constant flurry of emotions, I lose myself to a feeling, a thought, an action, a persuasion, a word, a sentence,
I am constantly losing myself to moments.

I realize I could just detatch myself from the final product. I realize I could look at cinema with a critical, incisive scalpel for an eye. I certainly could.

But so much of cinema is about opening yourself and allowing yourself to fall into the momentum of the piece. We are in an age of 'emotional filmmaking'.
Shortbus, Moulin Rouge!, the works of Cameron Crowe, The Fountain, in addition to numerous others, all sink or swim on your ability to emotionally invest yourself into the experience. By intellectualizing the picture, by thinking rather than feeling, you miss the point. It passes right on by you, and it's difficult to ever find it again.

...I'm an optimistic realist. I know the way things work, I'm quite aware of my limitations as a writer and as a reviewer. I understand that there's so much more out there that needs to be seen before I can advance into the next stage of thought. I'm entirely aware.

But I am twenty years old. And if I can just admit this to myself, that I am limited, then I'm much further ahead of the game than most of my fellow contemporaries. It all takes time, and I may in fact begin to over-intellectualize these beautiful films; it's not entirely out of the question.

But I think it's signature of the age I'm in right now that allows for me to adamantly love everything with no hesitance; that gives me permission to discuss with you film, memories of film, lavished with ecstasy and joy and elation with no regret.

You could label me 'naive', if you prefer to use that most condescending of labels.
I prefer to think of it as being 'realistic',
becuase when else can you feel something so passionately for something you've just beginning to understand?

The start.
At the start.


Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

what a beautiful confession of love!

and the cinema is so eminently loveable --i'm jealous that you're at the start... because i do over analyze everything now.

12:14 PM  

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