Thursday, September 13, 2007

At The Movies

I never see movies anymore. The last two movies I saw were 300 and before that, Brokeback Mountain.

I used to live for movies. Back when I was in high school, the theater in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, which was The theater in Doylestown, closed down, and re-opened briefly as an art house, showing independents. This was back in the Eighties, the golden age of independent film. And I saw them all. The Year Of Living Dangerously, Breathless with Richard Gere, Blood Simple, Death Trap, Plein Lune Au Dessus Paris, My Dinner With Andre... Amazing stuff.

In college, the there was a college in the same town as my little Catholic liberal arts college that had a pretty ambitious film program, and showed classics on Tuesday nights for two bucks. So I was introduced to Film Noire, experimental Super 8 stuff, documentaries, developed a whole film vocabulary. There was a time when my only idea of what a date was would have been going to see a movie and then talking about it afterwards. Anybody who couldn't talk about film wasn't worth a second date.

And I was always up on movies. Every Friday night, I used to see whatever looked good. I used to say that for me, just the repetition of slightly altered images on celluloid projected on a screen creating the illusion of motion was enough to delight me; plot, characters, cinematograpy... that was all gravy.

But then, about the time I hit my fortieth trip around the sun, things changed.

I came to sense that I had only finite reserves of something, some nameless thing, some élan vital. And that each movie I saw diminished that in some small way. There was something that had to be rationed, doled out little by little or it would too soon be used up.

Or maybe it has something to do with the thought that I'm a minimalist.

Nowadays, when I do see a movie, it's a big deal. Brokeback Mountain and 300 were such powerful experiences for me. Each of those movies changed my life, changed me. And perhaps, part of why they were so powerful was because instead of drifting in a sea of cinematic experiences they floated alone, pure and sweet and true and clean.

Which is not a bad way to conduct yourself with some things.

If you lived on a a diet exclusively of chocolate, the occasional truffle would all but go unnoticed. But if you're eating a lot of thin gruel, then that truffle would be explosive.

And we're not talking about self-denial here--which I am Against--but just a more considered way of enjoying life.

So Eastern Promises looks interesting. And I can bone up on my russian.

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