From the December 2015 Issue
At the all-too-young age of thirteen, I was confronted with the image of a young man in a bowler hat staring straight into my eyes with a knife pointed in my direction and a smirk gracing his lips. Below, the words: A Clockwork Orange. What was this image I was gazing into? I felt my pulse rise the deeper I looked into it. Some digging around online led me to the film. When all was said and done, I felt sick to my stomach.
Next came guilt. I felt as if I had seen something nobody was meant to see. I worried my parents would find out, and I didn’t want to know what they would do. Then came anger. How could somebody make a movie like this? What sort of warped people would let a movie like this exist? Who could possibly enjoy something so hurtful?
Then came intrigue. The images I had seen played over and over in my head like a nightmare I was trying to decode. Two days later, I stayed up late. With my ear pressed to the floor, I listened, waiting for my dad to go to bed. I tiptoed to my door and locked it with the utmost grace. With an electric, nervous energy, I watched the movie again. A couple days later, I watched it again. As the images burned themselves into my brain, a singular thought echoed through my mind: I didn’t know movies could be like this.
For my birthday that year, I asked my mom for a DVD box set of Stanley Kubrick films. Tucked inside was the film that had forever changed my view on cinema. Movies were not just for fun anymore. They were the most challenging, brilliant and beautiful art form I could imagine. The possibilities that film offered stretched larger than any canvas, and if I had any doubts about this theory, I only needed to dig farther into my box set: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dr. Strangelove, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, Lolita. Time and space, light and dark, sound and color, arranged and manipulated in a way that inspired feelings from the deepest corners of my being. And I needed more.
Next came Hitchcock, Herzog, Kurosawa and Scorsese. Jodorowsky, Chaplin, Bergman and Lynch. Leone, Welles, the list is endless. I dug into each oeuvre as if I had found the fountain of knowledge. Everything I needed to know was right here; I just had to find it. It’s been eight years since I first dove in, and I’m still looking.
To me, film is simply the ultimate medium. It shapes me in ways no other kind of art can, and while its history is already vast, its future is an open book. With just over a hundred years under its belt, film stands as one of the youngest art forms being studied today, and its true cultural and artistic impact have yet to be fully realized. Involving myself in the film community has meant involving myself in one of the great artistic movements of our time, and I cannot wait to see where the wave carries us. I eagerly await the next moment of revelation, watching the lights go up in a theater or ejecting a DVD, sitting up, taking a deep breath and thinking: I didn’t know movies could be like this. And I know it will happen… again and again.