Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why Being a Cinephile Matters

Lately there hasn't been a lot of action at the blogs I regularly visit. My friend and fellow blogger Bill noticed this as well and wrote his own piece on a funk he's been in with regards to writing a full blown piece for his own blog, The Kind of Face You Hate. There are times when I think I might as well throw in the towel myself as I wonder what in the hell is there left to write about. But then I remember how much I've learned about movies since I started blogging. Before starting up Cinema Styles I was the guy who had all the info on movies if you needed it. After blogging for a year or two I felt like a rank amateur, but an eager one ready and willing to learn more every day from my fellow cinephiles online. Here's why cinephilia matters to me:

*I learned there's so much more to Tarkovsky than Solaris.

*I discovered Pinky Violence whereas I never knew it even existed before.

*I learned there's so much more to Godard than Breathless.

*I discovered there's a whole niche for Thai horror films.

*I learned there's so much more to Truffaut than The 400 Blows.

*I actually got to read a review for The Fireman's Ball (d. Milos Forman, 1967).

*I learned there's so much more to Dreyer than The Passion of Joan of Arc.

*I discovered a whole new world of Polish film posters.

*I learned there's so much more to Lang than M.

*I have engaged in vehement disagreements over what I previously thought were well established and accepted historical judgments.

*I learned there's so much more to Kurosawa than The Seven Samurai.

*I discovered other people hated CGI as much as I did and that yet others loved it and both sides had passionate arguments to make.

*I learned there's so much more to Bresson than Au hasard Balthazar.

*I discovered that not only wasn't I the only one who had seen and loved Michael Powell's The Edge of the World but that many others had long since "discovered" him beyond The Red Shoes.

*I learned there's so much more to Fellini than 8 1/2.

*I discovered that my belief that I was one of the few people out there who loved classic film from the thirties over most other film was not only wrong, but horribly, painfully and laughably wrong.

*I learned there's so much more to Renoir than La Règle du Jeu.

*I discovered other people have favorite bit players and character actors and the fact that I knew the work of Gail Patrick turned out to be not that impressive.

*I learned there's so much more to Eisenstein than Battleship Potemkin.

*I discovered that there is a whole microverse of aficionados of film out there who can agree half the time, disagree the other half and still acknowledge the love of cinema that nests in every argument and every consensus. And without that, without getting involved in blogging, I'd still be talking to people who think the nineties represents the golden age of cinema.

So there's a quick twenty from me but believe me I could provide dozens more. I've always sworn off memes around here but I'd like to know what my fellow bloggers think matters about cinephilia as well, if they like of course. That means Bill, Marilyn, Arbogast, Fox, Peter, Flickhead, Kimberly, Rick, Pat Piper, Pat (Not Piper), Campaspe, Nathaniel, Brian, Neil, Dennis, Jim, Ryan, Ed, Krauthammer, and ... ah hell, that list is already out of control and there are still so many more I'd like to link to. I'm sure someone has asked this question before so I apologize if this whole exercise is redundant but I can't keep up with every blog. Also, as I've broken the rules on these things myself constantly I wouldn't dream of applying any for anyone else. A list, a paragraph, a thought or two. However you want to do it. Just a little bit of what you think is important about studying film, loving film and discussing it with like minds. Basically, what have you learned? I know I've learned more than I ever did from decades of reading film books. How about you?