SOMETIMES I think that I should officially organize my own film festival.
My friends joke that I already do. I often recommend movies to them from my cache of “must watch movies.” When I come into town for a visit, we try and see one of them together. Usually, these are classics that I love, movies that have entered my cells, that at this point I have integrated into my lexicon. I repeat lines from their dialogue, now a part of my dialogue.
That is definitely a big part of the fun: internalizing movies and spontaneously finding the perfect line to express at the perfect moment.
I was raised without television and to this day I am not a TV person. I have never owned a TV. But movies were always a part of my life.
When I was little, going to see a movie was an event. A lovely event. It wasn’t often that we went, and when we did it was special.
And always a carefully chosen movie, either for its content, wholesomeness, message or just plain enjoyment.
I have pretty much stuck to these basic principles when choosing movies.
I don’t watch them all the time — it is a treat.
And they are always appropriate, either content-filled or just plain fun.
So at this point I have accumulated quite a cache of wonderful, appropriate (I think many even educational) movies to recommend. Like I said, film festival.
IN today’s culture of passive visual experiences and media permeated society, especially in the community I was raised, you often hear voices that are anti-movies. I can understand that. So much of our society is sexualized or violent, and those themes will naturally be reflected in pop culture, i.e., movies. Not to mention the negative escapism factor of movies.
But there are so many absolutely wonderful, powerful and sheer-delight movies out there. After all, movies are simply a medium, an art form.
A medium for storytelling.
And I have always loved storytelling.
I HAVE gone through different stages of movies I have loved and at this point I have returned to these favorites again and again. Psychological or personal conflict themed movies have always been up there (“Kramer Versus Kramer”), with ones depicting stories of idealistic teachers who made a difference (“Goodbye Mr. Chips”).
Then there are the old sweet black-and-white classics that I am an absolute sucker for (“Sabrina”; my sisters and I used to watch it every time we were visiting home together), the rites of passage (“Back to the Future”), the epics (“Gone With The Wind”), or inspirational character studies (“Chariots of Fire”). And of course, the ones that made you cry so hard you could have sobbed into a dry bath towel and turned it wet (“ET”).
I was 11 years old when I saw “ET” at the cinema on Yishayahu Street in the Geula neighborhood, a night or two before I was departing my life I knew in Israel for the unknown of Denver. I had just said goodbye to my school friends and I experienced the movie through this amplified lens.
There is the entertainment aspect of viewing a movie, but there is so much more. Movies can bring profound awareness. Through seeing a story from a new or different point of view, you see the plight of others and get a sense of what it is to go through certain issues.These stories can sensitize us. Every once in a while even, there is a movie that comes along and is almost like a work of genius in how it manages to capture a raw and complicated story. Those brilliant movies (granted, few and far between) are so exquisite and riveting in their storytelling. They move you and change you.
Then there are movies that sensitize us to our own daily lives, movies in which we can see ourselves or other people whom we love.
After the impact of listening, visualizing and reflecting on a (movie) story, a developed sense of understanding or even healing about particular situations can emerge. The right movies can imbue us with values, sensitivity, insight, understanding or just moments of sheer joy.
And sometimes they simply give us the gift of laughter. Laughter, the best noise in the world, right?
What about you? Do you have favorite movies you return to again and again?
I bet you do, so reach for the popcorn. Enjoy it!
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