Author Topic: Cinephilia  (Read 323 times)

Corndog

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Re: Cinephilia
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2017, 07:09:02 AM »
I guess things started in earnest in college. I had liked movies before, had a list of favorites, a genre-type that drew me to the medium. I grew up watching my grandmother's VHS trilogy of Star Wars all the time (she used to look after us during the Summer when my brothers and I were out of school). It was adventure films like that, and Indiana Jones that I craved. She's even take us to the theater and buy our tickets to the latest R-rated flick that we were too young to get into by ourselves. But other than Star Wars, I didn't know what an "old" movie was.

When I got into college, probably starting my sophomore year when I didn't live in the dorms anymore, I had a little more autonomy and found myself watching movies in my free time. I had a great group of friends, and was pretty active in terms of being physically active. My friends were all into sports so we went to the football games (I was at Cincinnati in 2009 when they went undefeated and missed playing in the National Championship game by one second), and spent time on nice days on green spaces throwing some type of ball, or playing intramural sports.

But whenever I had downtime, I found myself watching movies. I started by watching what few DVDs my friends/roommates had, then I even moved on to those my friends that were girls had (even rom-coms and chick flicks). I was watching whatever I could get my hands on. My one roommate was big into comedy, particularly stand-up, so when went in together on a Netflix subscription and started getting all kinds of movies through their DVD service. It was about this time that I needed more cinema in my life, and I found Filmspotting. Through Filmspotting I was able to discover Ingmar Bergman, Fellini. I was able to discover such things as classics and foreign language masters. I started going through the Canon as best I could, aided by the tastes and opinions of those on this forum.

Throughout college this continued, and eventually I started compiling my reviews not just here, but on my own blog. After college, I didn't have a job lined up, so living with my parents and working at Best Buy, I was probably peak movie watching. Again, I had friends, and did things, but most of free time involved movies. After about 6 months, I got a job with the company I am still with today, but not much changed. I even started travelling for work as a consultant, which lent itself to isolation at night, and finding the local cinema to watch the latest movie. This did afford me to chance to see a film with our very own Junior while on business in Connecticut, that I don't regret.

Then I met my wife, whom I invited to play in a fantasy football league with some guys I knew from my college days in Northern Kentucky. The night after coming back to Columbus after our annual draft, I was going to see Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine at the local indie theater. She tagged along and, well, the rest if pretty much history. I started to introduce her to less mainstream new releases that I was excited to see, and she loved that I loved movies and wrote about them, even encouraging me eventually to apply for the Central Ohio Film Critics Association. Movies was just one of many things we had in common. She is no cinephile, but she is open to new things and has at least a mild appreciation for movies, enjoying knowing that I have a passion like that. As our relationship grew, I was watching less and less movies with less and less time by myself. Like Martin, I was fine with that. Spending time with Tonya was not only more fun, but way more important to me.

I still watch a ton of movies, and being a part of the critic association I enjoy the perks of tons of advanced screenings, but movie watching has become a secondary task. I do it when I can, and still enjoy it a great deal. But more often than not, I have something else going on. I've been able to find a nice life/movie balance that I hope continues for a long time to come. I know there are plenty more life events ahead that will cause cinematic detours (like children), but I don't think I'll ever lose this passion.
"Time is the speed at which the past decays."

DarkeningHumour

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Re: Cinephilia
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2017, 10:11:06 AM »
Marriage sounds ghastly.

I think there is an inherent fallacy in the question. Cinephilia is not about quantity. Admittedly, cinephiles tend to watch more movies than the average person. Unlike Martin seems to indicate, however, the reduction of average number of movies watched in a given month does not lose him his cinephiliac cred. Cinephilia is about how you watch movies, it's about caring about the medium and the artform it is.

The intrinsic difference between the cinephile and the silly layman is not that the cinephile is a no life cave dweller with encyclopedic knowledge of 1940s horror movies starring mulatto secondary characters. The difference is that the laymen will typically watch the latest flick. Some gravitate towards the stuff that goes boom a lot, some go to the movies who star that cute blonde guy who was in that thing, many just follow friends along and don't give a damn what the actual movie is. The cinephile does.

Cinephilia is about making love to the films, not using them for a couple of hours then throwing them away like the cheap piece of meat that they are. Cinephiles typically look at things like who the director is, who is in the cast, how the movie was written. Anyone ever ask a regular person who had directed the last movie they'd just watched, the one they were just telling you about? See the confused on their faces, like you've just asked the most absurd question since Deepak Chopra's last book? The one that says « What does it matter, it's just a movie? » ?

Junior gets giddy when Silence asks questions about faith. chardy likes to analyse sociopathic movies to assuage his bloodlust. Corndog places films in their context, either talking about the filmography of the director, the history of the franchise, etc. oldkid looks for empathy in movies, for some maniac reason. 1SO will break down the history of animated movies since 1890 by chunks of fifteen minutes if you give him a chance. I don't know what Sandy does but she does do it.
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Corndog

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Re: Cinephilia
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2017, 01:20:01 PM »
"Time is the speed at which the past decays."

Sandy

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Re: Cinephilia
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2017, 01:52:18 PM »
Corndog, you and Martin both make marriage sound great! Not sure what parts of your posts give him pause. :)

I did enjoy your thoughts on Cinephilia, Darkeninghumour. "making love to the films" Right! It's all about the approach.



I don't know what Sandy does but she does do it.

In this context, I sound rather deviant. :))
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Junior

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Re: Cinephilia
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2017, 03:00:16 PM »
I guess it started with my first theater movie, Aladdin. I remember sitting in the darkened theater before the film started and asking my mom why it was so dark. Why do we have to come here just to watch a cartoon? And then it began and the magic of it took hold and never really went away. Up until I was about 27 (that's two years ago), I became increasingly voracious. Early on I avoided horror films because I was easily scared and didn't yet realize that scaredy-cat-ness was what made horror movies even better. I figured that out when I watched Cujo and then The Shining after devouring Stephen King's written output at the beginning of high school. The love of musicals didn't come in until here, the May marathon really launched me into realizing that they were actually quite similar to horror films (nakedly manipulative and often more inventive than dramas or comedies technically speaking). Which brings me to Filmspotting.

Like others who have commented here so far, the forum was both a replacement for real-life interaction during college and a way to learn a heck of a lot more about movies. It's where probably 80 out of my Top 100 came from and there's a great chance that I don't see most of those without the forum getting me interested. The forum has become less of a social outlet as I developed more friendships in my daily life, and I think that's probably a good thing, but I will probably never really stop coming here so long as it lasts. Though some of those new friends are also movie fans and are also interested in both the blockbuster and the indie/arthouse/foreign and older stuff that I like, they don't quite have the collected depth and breadth that this forum still contains. Y'all are some seriously knowledgeable and expressive people and even more wide-ranging in your tastes than I am, so I still get a lot out of coming here, even if I don't really need it anymore, if that makes sense.

In those last two years I got my Masters and became increasingly interested in two things: the way that movies work and the reasons that movies exist. I guess you could call me a formalist now, if that means anything to you. For me it means I'm almost always going to write more about how the movie is constructed, how certain shots work or how the color matters or whatever, and I'm going to be more interested in movies that clearly express a personal vision of the world (even if that vision isn't clear itself). Once I reveal my new top 100 you'll see that it isn't all that different from past lists because I think these things were always there, it's just that my education unearthed them and taught me more about their implications. It's also not that different because I've had less time to watch movies in those past two years. I still get restless if I haven't seen something new and great in about a month or so, but I can go weeks without watching a new movie if I have to focus on school. On the other hand, I have been able to write a few essays about some of my favorite movies and the process has always been rewarding, even if the final product has been less-than-desirable.

I want to end where I started: in the theater. I've got tickets to see Dunkirk tonight in IMAX and I'm very excited. I still think that every home-movie-viewing experience is lesser than the big screen. I watched Stalker last night on a glorious Criterion Blu and on a 65in 4K tv and I loved it but I'm sure I would have loved it even more had I been in that dark room with the one light source bringing the magic in a larger-than-life way. That's where my cinephilia really gets going. Sitting down with that blank screen is an invitation to the possible, to the world of movies where possible ends at the limits of imagination. It's the best art there is.
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StudentOFilm

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Re: Cinephilia
« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2017, 07:17:22 PM »
I love reading everyone's responses.

I'd love to type out something longer, but I'm about to collapse into bed so forgive the spelling/grammar/rambling. My grandmother was a movie fanatic and when I was young, both my parents worked so she would babysit me a lot and we'd watch movies together from TCM to the latest animated film out on VHS and this continued going into my elementary school years as well. I remember being 11 and watching special features on DVDs and realizing how all those names in the credits were a job. As I got older I started to always search the Internet for movie recommendations and news. Fast forward to college and I went to school for film and television production and now I find myself as a production coordinator (sometimes assistant) at a non-fiction/documentary television production company that actually produces good work and this year we were once again recognized by our peers with award nominations (which is so nice to actually work on something I care about, that's a freaking luxury that I realize to some might sound like a humble brag but I mean it to sound as genuine as it could because boy was I close to giving up four years ago when I was a year out of college and felt like I just wasted money on a degree). I consumed so much art/media/entertainment (I hesitate limiting it to film- television, music, video games, literature, theater, etc.) at first because I thought it was a job. To learn what I could and just be open to an experience. I realized how damn hard it is to make these things. That the industry is wide and to be content with and give it all to even the smallest of jobs. Making money actually doing what I love yadda yadda yadda (and give me a reason to justify to my friends and family why I'm paying ridiculous rent for an apartment). I wake up at 6:50 AM and get home usually at 8:30 PM so my movie/TV watching has gone down dramatically. I'm still a rabid movie buff, but now it's mostly blockbuster movies with friends and mostly an episode of TV every now and then. I have some months where I become ambitious and try to tackle a movie marathon on the weekends.
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Re: Cinephilia
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2017, 11:40:40 PM »
I got addicted to Metacritic high scores. I made sure to watch everything that got above an 80.

Then it was about classics, both domestic and international. Then it was about specific directors, just watching their entire filmographies, feeling cool about myself for that. Then it was about focusing squarely on female filmmakers and opening myself to youtube in general (which I still believe and will always believe is the future of truly innovative "filmmaking").

Now I just watch whatever seems interesting. If I am curious enough about it, I will watch it. There's a film out right now - A GHOST STORY - which, while being raved by critics and friends alike along with an above 80s Metacritic score, I just have no interest in it. Years ago, I would've forced myself to sit through it because I want to be part of the conversation. It's just not enough to make me curious. There's so many films and so little time.

I feel extremely confident in knowing what is of value and what is not. That's what it was about for a long time - understanding how this kind of visual medium truly operates to make works of real value. I am happy about that. Even though there are still many more beloved classics for me to have a first time viewing, I honestly feel that there's not a lot of aesthetic surprises left for me to uncover in cinema. As we move forward, I feel like modern independent and mainstream film are essentially parroting the same ideas - a nostalgia for the past - and have become all the more rote because of it. The only differences are in aesthetic. Case in point is something like THE BIG SICK which has deemed as a romantic comedy masterpiece, but we have all seen this story before in countless forms. What's fundamentally different is that it's about a Pakistani man instead of, say, a Greek or Jewish woman. That's not to say it's a bad film - I like it immensely - but when that is the pinnacle of American independent cinema, when that is the one film that is celebrated than all the rest, I take issue with it. Damien Chazelle said that studios passed on LA LA LAND because it seemed too risky. I am still scratching my head over what is risky about that musical. That has to be a made up story for publicity, right? I think - time and time again - Hollywood has proven itself that mitigating risks is the most important thing to do, so there's a wide gap in truly great independent cinema. There's a slim chance we will ever get another TANGERINE. We aren't in the 90s anymore where people thirsted for authentic voices - the market is over saturated now from all sides. I can watch virtually any movie from all of history on my computer. If not that, the greatest television shows of all time are being produced right now. If not that, I can go to YouTube and see what the most brilliant yet underprivileged/undervalued minds are doing with the form. The majority of cinema as we know it can't compete. The producers know this.

There are maybe only a handful of still working directors that I am interested in as artists and thinkers than just entertainers. And that depresses me. A lot. Wes Anderson, Joel & Ethan Coen, Hong Sang Soo, Kelly Reichardt, Agnes Varda, Martin Scorsese, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Don Hertzfeldt, the list trails off...

I am a writer. But at one point, I realized the movies that I want to write have an extremely difficult time getting made. And most of the people that are making them all got to where they are from the 90s independent boom. I haven't seriously written a script in over a year. Tried writing a novel, maybe I will go back to it, who knows? It's easier than ever to make a film but that also makes it harder than ever to attract an audience. I've been racking my brain these past few months to boil myself down to my true essence while fighting my urge to write works that are less commercially appealing.

Anyway, that kind of got off track, but I thought I'd share. The podcast is on hiatus for now, by the way.

jdc

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Re: Cinephilia
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2017, 04:00:49 PM »
I haven't lost my interest or love to watch films but the last couple of years things sort of got in the way and at times I went off the road.  Normally, 3 to 5 films a week would be good since I don't normally watch a lot of TV.  But working on projects where I was doing night calls day after day took away my prime hours to watch anything.  Then when I had free time, I am more likely to want to go out with friends if somebody organizes a dinner or to listen to music if something was on.

Then UK happened and I made a choice to live without many comforts so it was difficult to get access to watch anything.

Now I am getting time to watch and have access but still in some limbo transition that can make it difficult. I think by the end of the year I will have settled to something that may be considered normalcy and hopefully have the time and access to do those things I love
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DarkeningHumour

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Re: Cinephilia
« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2017, 04:04:05 AM »
Truly the UK is a place of woe.
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jdc

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Re: Cinephilia
« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2017, 04:37:31 AM »
Truly the UK is a place of woe.

It has patches of greatness.  I loved Edinburgh in Scotland and London certainly has lots to offer but decided that I am not going to settle in the UK, at least for now.  I am mostly in Singapore now though I spend a bit more time in Germany since that is where my dog and wife are.
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