Film, A Love Letter

Last night I watched William A Wellman’s 1927 masterpiece Wings, which was the very first film to win the Academy Award for Best picture. Within the first 15 minutes I thought it was more dramatic, romantic and exciting than most films made today. How wonderful, I thought, a film that was made 83 years ago can still feel so fresh and amazing, positively timeless. (On a side note, this film is not available on DVD and it’s a crying shame. You can vote here on TCM to try to get it released on DVD, and even if you haven’t seen it I urge you to do so).

This got me thinking about how much I love film, and why I love film. The other day someone on Twitter asked me how many films I watched a day and I replied, “as many as possible!” I told someone else that I think I have celluloid in my blood instead of iron. I can’t remember my life before I discovered films; I’ve been watching them always. Recently, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to watch more than ever; I’ve already seen 271 new-to-me films this year! This is because I’ve graduated from college, but have yet to find a full time job (I substitute teach once or twice a week), I’m single and I’m childless. That leaves a lot of time to watch films. I also live in a household that has TCM, my absolute favorite channel on television.

I haven’t yet answered why it is I love film so much. I think part of it has to do with the escapism film allows. For two hours you’re in a perfect world, or a dystopic world or whatever, and it can be the best place you never knew existed. With each new film you meet new friends, characters that are as dear to you as anyone you’ve ever met in real life or ones you hate more than you ever knew you could.

But I’m also in awe of the people who make the films, not just the actors and directors and screenwriters, but the crew. Every single film you see was put together by hundreds of people, who spent hundreds of hours working to bring this new world alive. It’s just so incredible.

Also, with every film I watch I always think, “This is someone’s favorite movie ever” or “I bet someone absolutely loathes this film!” It’s phenomenal the emotional response a film can get out of people. And then there are people who can’t see the art in any film, who don’t see the point of film at all. Those people make me sad. How could something that brings me and so many others so much joy, mean absolutely nothing to others? It’s unfathomable.

So while I’m at this unique place in my life where I’ve got more free time than I probably will ever again, I’m going to fill it with films. All films. As many films as I can get my hands on, as often as I can stand it. I don’t know that’ll I’ll ever have another opportunity like this, to spend all my time with the love of my life, with film. I just hope film loves me as much as I love it. Regardless, this is how I choose to spend my time, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

About Marya E. Gates

Cinephile to the max.

Posted on September 19, 2010, in Classic Film, the Academy Awards and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. OK here’s a comment. This post made me cry a little. You so perfectly verbalized what I too love about films. My mother also loved films this way. She grew up in Los Angeles (not the suburbs LOL) in the 1910s and 1920s. For her 16th birthday she went to see the first talking picture: The Jazz Singer.

    Films are an amazing collaborative art form. When I think about the dozens if not hundred’s of artists that work on any film I am truly stunned. One begins to understand why the director and the producer get the awards: they have to herd cats I think. Watching so many classic movies this summer has reminded me about how films capture so much of the human spirit and condition. Some 0f them are windows into a particular era, other are a window into the human soul. And think about it – movies have only been around for about 100 years. Lovely.

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