Monday, September 14, 2009
Just hit replay
I'm a terrible cinephile.
We used to joke that I was an embarrassment of a film major because I'm not very well versed in every film ever. How I have never seen classics like The Godfather, Jaws, or Home Alone. I always retorted that my weekly screenings for class, including such classics as The Seventh Seal, The Gleaners and I, and Tout Va Bien (gaaaahgg), more then makes up for my lack of "commercial" classics.
The thing is, I did feel secretly guilty. As much as I love film and TV, I'm not the person at the library who grabs the first fifteen DVDs at hand and just pops them in the DVD player one after another. I don't really have a desire to watch film history unfold on the celluloid itself. I don't have favourite directors. I can barely name actors, let alone connect them to more than a couple of movies. Generally, I have to watch any movie twice to be able to remember enough of it to discuss, while all my film peers were running around impersonating the New Hollywood of the 60s and having esoteric discussions on the standard repertoire of films every cinephile should know.
I love going to new movies in the movie theatre. But when it comes to home viewing, I will nearly always pick a beloved favourite over a new film. Even today, I went to the library and came back with a recent film I haven't seen yet. Tonight, I will most likely watch P.S. I Love You or Walk the Line. My Netflix instant queue is full of unseen movies. I would rather watch Bridget Jones' brilliant life transformation for the umpteenth time instead.
What? Why is that?
Well, I finally found out the reason. After months of secretly feeling like a poser, I know why I like certain movies better than film. There are a lot of facets to film, and I would love to increase my understanding of all of them over time. But my favourite part of film, the one that drew me in the first place, is storytelling. Sure the film can be shot beautifully. It can be innovative. It can be exciting and thrilling and controversial. But what I love best about film is its ability to tell a story. The emotion, the drama, the humor, the characters, their lives. How it makes me feel about my life. I don't think every film-lover can really say that's their favourite part of film - nor should they. Someone's gotta lovingly describe their favourite camera motion or short average shot length versus the long take. As for me, straight up story. IV it into me. And I don't feel guilty for rewatching my favourites, the movie I know inside out, how it will unfold, how it will connect with me, which parts I'll cry at, when I'll sing along, which lines I've had stuck in my head for weeks. Because these stories are so artfully told, they don't unfold just themselves. They unfold my life too.
And I know. I really should get on watching The Godfather.