Before I was fully able to comprehend the richness of filmmaking, I judged good cinema on its ability to elicit a strong feeling. When I was younger, and my imagination was far more rampant in many ways, I would leave the theater in a daze. Every movement seemed exaggerated—every sound heightened with some internal soundtrack. It was the feeling that you had ultimately discovered something new about the universe and were bursting to be a part of it. Each trip to Paradise Photo and Video was an emotional affair—rows and rows of VHS tapes lined up for the choosing. I remember running my fingers along the spines, sliding one out and flipping it over to skim the back—judging whether it would quench the thirst for a new adventure. As a child, I was fascinated with character, with color, with grand adventures told through film. The scope of possibility seemed too large to comprehend and it excited me to know that there were people out there who dedicated their lives to telling stories through film—breathing art intertwined with music.
I remember watching Lord of the Rings special features as a kid—pouring over hours of behind the scenes footage, commentary, anything I could get my hands on. I was fascinated with the creative development done by Weta Workshop. I loved hearing all the explanations behind tiny decisions that weren’t necessarily highlighted in the final film, but made the experience of viewing it so much better. The designs of certain pieces of armor, of the weapons, of the elaborate costumes, all meant something and tied back to the original source material in a way that was subtle, but gave the films such a rich undercurrent. I fell in love with the idea of film as a collaborative art piece—people with all different strengths and talents coming together to create something that will unify all forms of creativity. I found that the artistic planning of a film interested me just as much as the technical aspects.
Rather than focus on my disillusionment with the film industry, I think I need to remember the whole reason I fell in love with film in the first place: It is the collaboration of souls; it is the exploration of story; the carrier of message, the kindling of a deeper bond with image and self. I always seem to go back to something Ingmar Bergman said about film which speaks to the nature of the art form:
“Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.”