When was the last time you feel good after watching films?
Ask the question to me, the answer is simply: last nite.
Living in a suburban area means I have to deal with the setback of not being able to scout any sophisticated cinemas, thus what you have is what you get. And among the selection of the films offered, my eyes were set on revisiting In Good Company after watching it sometime last year back then in my comfort zone.
What an experience indeed!
I remember I wrote something about the film here, which in this case was a praise, and what made me pleasant most was how the film got better after repeated viewing. For a feel-good film, it is almost flawless I say, since the film can make me feel good while I took mikrolet and becak to reach home. And I keep thinking, how films can actually make me feel good.
As the wind started getting into my skin, I tried recalling many emotional experiences I have encountered after I finished watching films.
It began when I was on my 4th/5th grade of elementary school, I remember I was hoping to become Jessica Lange’s son and getting involved in her father’s (which would make Armin-Mueller Stahl as my fictional grandfather) war crime after I watch her knock-out performance as a tormented lawyer in Music Box.
A year later, I often imagined that I was one of Robin Williams’s students in Dead Poets Society, and being surrounded with the pals like Robert Sean Leonard or Ethan Hawke.
Of course I didn’t write any reviews at that time, as the habit only began when I was in Senior High School.
Dilligently I pasted ticket stubs at the back of this thick book where I wrote down my daily expenses, and I wrote a little comment next to the stubs. I remember how I started becoming critical after watching Independence Day, as I was mad at the film’s stupid plot. Yet, I forgave the cheesiness of Phenomenon, and chose to cry over John Travolta’s character, the same thing I did towards Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas in The English Patient. And I still shed my tears whenever the film started showing its scenes in a dark cave, after many repeated viewings.
As I graduated, and went to colleges where both times I took English as my major, I find my penchant for reviewing films was increasing. From having one-line notes to become one-paragraph notes, I began listing down every single film I watched, be it from cinema or VCD, or DVD, which only came to my life three years ago.
And no matter what medium my film watching is, it’s the emotional experience that counts most.
It was a drizzling night when I took a long walk after I watched The End of the Affair, which made me think about love and faith to be co-existent all through the night. Reading the source novel a few months back enhanced my understanding about the characters more, which needless to say, it is also an indication that the film successfully captures the spirit of the novel.
And exactly around this time last year, I remember I took the same long walk in Bangkok after watching Closer, one film that made me shut my ears for its frank dialogues. Again, the film’s brutal yet honest look on love made me thinking about all the relationships I had.
And it took me a while to grasp my breath when I finished watching Hiroshima, Mon Amour on DVD, knowing that love actually hurts when it gives the most faithful commotion one can ever ask.
And I couldn’t move myself to do things for days after I watched The Hours at the time when my life was full with uncertainties, and I questioned the meaning of happiness I long to have in my life.
The same feeling gripped me hard when I watched Blue from Kryzstof Kieslowski’s first installment of his Trois Couleurs trilogy. Seeing Juliette Binoche had to come to terms in dealing with her loss made me think of what I have had in life.
The list would go on, and not often they included my harshness towards bad films, in this case what I remember most is Troy, when I really felt like throwing my sandals to the big screen, and rip the screen into two, mashed it to pieces, and asking for my $8 back.
That showed you how much I could be on films I dismiss most.
And of course, the opposites as mentioned in the previous paragraphs is more than enough to convey what I want to say, that to experience films is a pleasure unlike any other kind.
Another question will raise though. How long will I be able to do that?
As much as I want to answer the question with ‘timeless’, I realize that there may come a time when I won’t be able to experience those emotional feelings.
Last night, after sorting out my feel-good moments, I realized my own doings in a way that put me into bewilderment. As most of you know, my decision to move to the city here was filled with hopes of working in the field that has become my passion all this time: films.
Yet, many obstacles seemed to prevent my way to going further than being a distant appreciator. Disappointment of one kind met with another, there weren’t many jolly experiences in store so far.
However, I made peace with that.
No matter what I do or end up doing, it’s hard for me to reduce or decrease my likings towards films, the way I appreciate them in my own way that no one will dare to intervene or prevent me from doing.
When things go awry, I turn to films for a two-or-three-hour of plunging myself into a different world from mine. And even if I fail to secure any jobs in film industry, film remains one thing I treasure most, the one I’m willing to spend my money on, the one I crave most to make me intelligent. Sort of.
Perhaps just like in Sabrina when she asks her father why he chooses to become a chaffeur, he replies with a smile, “So that I can spend much time reading books”.
Thus, to feel films is what I’ve been after, and will always be.