What is the Point?

July 20, 2011

If you know me you know that I often engage in self-reflection. I am constantly engaging in introspection about my actions and the motives behind those actions. So when I started this blog I made sure there was a decent reason behind it. After all, the internet is full of people who think they are brilliant while spouting nonsense. Initially the reason behind this project was simply to practice my writing; I need to work on this particular skill and forcing myself to write weekly updates would give me an incentive to do so. I also have to admit there is an inkling of a hope that more than my few friends will read this. But after pondering this last night, I realized that the real reason I want to do this is to help others enjoy movies like I do.

Film is art, just like music, painting, theatre, or literature. The difference is that movies combine all of those media into something unique and special. It is a different perspective that can illuminate the beauty around us in a profound way. Philosophy, history, culture, and real human issues can be addressed and analyzed. While the written word is better for rational argument and music may present eternal themes gloriously, movies work with both images and sound to create an unmatched emotional connection.

The problem, of course, is that people often do not watch movies well. Because of this, poor movies are demanded by the population, and poor movies are often headlined at theaters. People see film not as art, but as a distraction or entertainment in the most trivial sense. The theater is not a place you go to think, I am told, but to be mindlessly entertained. I reject this idea because I see the potential for something greater: movies that actually teach us something, that allow us to examine ourselves and our world with greater understanding. Movies that actually mean something.

Of course, there is much that happens in a great movie that people often do not notice. Camera movement, editing, sound mixing, etc. all contribute to the art. Maybe it’s good that people don’t notice these technical things, so long as they gain from the film. But I like to think it’s beneficial to study the theory and meaning behind what happens on-screen to gain a greater understanding. I am not an expert, just a hobbyist. Do I have any claim of authority to speak about these things? Probably not. But there is something about a good movie that grabs me, that affects me in a completely unique way so as to change my view of real life. It seems most people don’t experience the medium in such a profound way. This blog is to encourage such an experience. Am I being overly romantic and idealistic about the power of film? Perhaps. But hey, isn’t that what the movies are all about?

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