Sunday, July 29, 2012

Obligatory Introduction: Films Like Dreams begins!

I guess to start off this blog, I should make an introductory post to set things off to a good start.

I suppose I'll begin by talking about myself: My name is Lyzette. I am a 20-year-old college student, currently attending San Francisco State University. One of the greatest loves in my life is cinema. Ever since I attended my very first movie theater viewing with The Lion King at age two, I have steadily acquired an ever-growing love and appreciation for the art of cinema.

Now having grown up in an average Californian upbringing, I have always enjoyed movies. It is just so deeply engrained in our culture and, thus, in myself, it is almost inevitable to have been touched by cinema in some way or another. However, when I first saw Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange at age thirteen, as cliché as it may sound, it had truly changed my life. From the subject matter alone, I could truly see that this was unlike much else I had ever seen (or at least noticed) before. What's more is that there were things being done with the camera and use of close-ups and long shots that created a sort of ominous atmosphere, making it clear that this was clearly not a film to simply "enjoy", but rather it had so much more to say. Of course, I could not have possibly recognized this so adequately, but I could feel it, and for a thirteen-year-old who had been raised on Disney movies and Nickelodeon, this was a big deal.

I suppose you could say that this was the point where I realized that it was okay to explore new territories in terms of film. It suddenly wasn't so important that I had to catch the latest blockbuster as soon as possible, when there were so many other unseen gems to find. I began watching more older films, many of which - e.g. Pulp Fiction, Casablanca, The Godfather, It's a Wonderful Life, etc. - have become beloved favorites. In high school, I discovered Charlie Chaplin by watching The Kid during history class. This had begun an unbreakable passion for silent comedies, and soon, silent film in general.

Eventually, I graduated high school and started taking classes at Moorpark Community College. In my first semester, I took an Introduction to Cinema class with an absolutely amazing instructor. It was during that class when I truly came to terms on how seemingly limitless cinema truly was. In the course, we examined what it takes to make a film - writing, acting, direction, cinematography, editing, and others - and how they came together to basically create magic. I got to see The Wizard of Oz and Donnie Darko (both old favorites of mine) in much different ways than I had perceived before. This was also where I watched Blade Runner, The Graduate, and Stand By Me for the first time. This - along with Intro. to Documentary Film and Screenwriting courses - led me to recognize just how much hard work, talent, and passion goes into making a truly great film. 

Since then, I guess one could say that I have been aiming to watch as many films as possible ever since. According to my iCheckMovies profile, to this date, I have watched 1,260 films. This includes feature-lengths, as well as short films (<45 minutes). Obviously, I plan on watching much more. Although by now I have a pretty good idea of what kinds of films I enjoy over others, I think that watching these films for my own satisfaction is only half of the work. I think it is just as important to inform the public that such wonderful films do exist, and that there is a strong group of individuals ("cinephiles") that find their greatest pleasures in seeking out these films to enjoy them. Cinema is an excellent looking glass from one era onto another, and should never been merely seen as a methods of entertainment. I am truly upset by the knowledge that the vast majority of silent-era films no longer exist, due to mistreatment, abandonment, or just plain indifference. I suppose that this blog is just my way in contributing to the uprising to preserve film.

The title "films like dreams" just suddenly came onto me quite a while ago. I can't exactly tack on a true meaning of the term, but I like to think that the primary explanation is to metaphorically describe the universality of cinema. Sometimes dreams can be deciphered into some kind of meaning pulled from the person's subconscious; even though they sometimes seem to just randomly occur with no real meaning at all. Such is that of film - how accessible the meaning of film is depends on the filmmaker's willingness to derive their intentions and inject whatever means necessary to create a masterpiece. Though their meaning may not always be completely apparent at first, it just makes it that much more interesting for the audience to take what they perceive to be the meaning from it all. And just like dreams, not everything remains exactly the same from person to person. What one person could see as a typical love story could translate, for another, to anything from a comment on the trials and tribulations of love, to an uprising against the social/political ideals at the time - and everything far and in between. And this is why reviews are written - as a means of comparing ideas and broadening our horizons to what others have to say about the same thing. Because film is just that amazing.

This blog will be primarily used as an attempt for me to get back into writing reviews, which I gave up about a year ago due to feelings of inadequacy. Besides cinema, I will also be updating every now and them about whatever shows I'm watching, since it has recently made a comeback in my life. If things turn out right, I want to have between 75-100 reviews posted by about this time next year.

Cheers for the future!

- Lyzette

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