A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to one of my classmates before my Intro to Film class started. We were about to watch Citizen Kane, a film that I’ve seen more times that I can count. He automatically assumed that I knew about Criterion and we started talking about them. He and I are the two most vocal members of a class, where, on the first day someone declared their love for The Last Song. I had to admit to him that I wasn’t a film major. “What? You know you’re a real exception, right?”
I told him that, yes, I knew that. I’m a journalism major with a political science minor. Apparently, because I have no interest in going into the film industry, I am not supposed to have interest in film as an art. Before this remark, I had never even thought about that. Is the idea of film-as-art really reserved for those within the industry? Since I will be a member of the general, movie-going public, am I really not supposed to care about how films are made?
I can’t possibly agree with this idea and I would hope that most people agree with me. Film is an integral part of today’s society and I think people today would do themselves good by learning the process. I think people today really believe that Hollywood can just put out films at a drop of a hat without realizing the gestation period for a film. Film-making is an incredibly difficult process and one that I find very interesting. The process that turns a screenwriter’s idea into a film in one that I love learning about. Even if you don’t want to be in film, it is still able to have an effect on you. You can learn an innumerable amount of things from films, especially good ones.
Back to my classmate, though…He asked me How could I be interested in films if I don’t want to make them? My best response is that I simply grew up around them, like I grew up around novels, comic books and records. My grandfather was a huge influence on me and he had two rooms in his house filled with tapes of Golden Age of Hollywood films. My uncle has kept that tape collection going. I’m a firm believer in the idea that whatever you grow up with, no matter what you try to do, you can’t shake off. In fact, my love of film has only grown over the past few years as I’ve become more familiar with Criterion and all the other ways to access foreign films. My grandfather never owned a single foreign film on tape and yet, in the past couple of years, I’ve seen about 50 (if not more).
I love film and I really love it too much to want to make one. Who knows, though…lots of journalists become filmmakers.