Food For Thought: The Sweet Embrace Of Cinephilic Dementia

“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.”

~ Ingmar Bergman

I was thinking of this quote today.  It couldn’t be more true. However, what’s weird is that these days we are growing up surrounded by films. They started out as theatrical experiences, then moved to our homes on VHS, DVD and eventually BluRay. Now they have gone completely digital, available for viewing on laptops, phones and even iPods. They’re everywhere and accessible at nearly any and every moment of the day.

We may be watching films more often than ever. Because we do, film images sometimes become an integral part of what we have seen in our lifetimes. What’s more, many of us form strong opinions about film characters and celebrities we will never know which, if you think about it, is pretty weird.

We think about films. We analyze them. We re-watch them. We obsess over them. We even reenact them (don’t pretend you haven’t). So, not surprisingly, we remember them quite well.

Now here’s the question: Will film become part of our generation’s subconscious? As we get older and potentially senile will all of the colors begin to run together? Will some of our addled memories be scenes from films?

I thought of myself and my friends and all the good films we’ve seen. That didn’t worry me so much. Then I thought all of the other films we have seen, some from The Holy Shrine in particular. Then I imagined all of us sitting around in wheelchairs, really old, yelling at each other in quavering voices about old times.

“Hey, do you remember we when we killed that guy in a ballet studio and then went to Prom?”
“Yes… good times.”

(Twilight, 2008)

“That night watchman job was a mistake. My friend lost his thumb because of all those dead prostitutes.”

(Nightwatch, 1997)

“I once shot Gene Hackman so hard he did a backflip.”

(The Quick And The Dead, 1995)

This brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, “My memory is shit.”

I doubt what’s above will come to pass. And yet I wouldn’t be surprised if fifty, sixty years from now I may confuse my real life with something I saw on a screen. Film is an empathetic experience and sometimes that’s a powerful thing. Also, the brain is exhaustively complex- the way it remembers is a mysterious, elusive process.

But what if I remember living a hilariously weird movie? I can see myself describing college when someone corrects me: “I’m pretty sure that’s the plot to Buckaroo Bonzai.”

Will that mean my remembered life was a joke?

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One thought on “Food For Thought: The Sweet Embrace Of Cinephilic Dementia

  1. Well, if i become senile, and start quoting films like parts of my real life, i hope i pick some good ones. Such as, “well, you know, your uncle Gilbert…”

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