Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Open-Minded Critic

Last night I went to see one of the most incredible films that I've seen in a really long time, Black Swan.  This movie was absolutely amazing and had a feel of "Film Noir". The acting was superb. The cinematography exceptional and dark. The directing, I thought was amazing.  You just felt how deep into the roles these actors got, and without good directing, an actor can really just flop around like a fish about to die grasping for air. I say if you like films (not movies but FILMS) that have depth to them and show character transformations, then this is differently a must!

Now let me explain why I'm such a "critic", if you will, in regards to what I feel are "Films" & "Movies". In college (Yes, this BX girl went to college, surprise surprise closed minded individuals) I studied Communications, with a concentration in Film & Broadcasting. The film classes I took made me truly fall in love with the craft of filming and acting. I studied directors like Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, and so many others, that at first I thought "BORING". I thought I knew all there was to these directors, and didn't really care for them.  But my professors showed me films from when these directors first started. For instance Martin Scorsese directed a short film (I believe his first in 1968) called "The Big Shave". This was no where near you're average Scorsese film. In short, a man is shaving and starts cutting himself; basically slashing his skin off with every shave. Now learning about Scorsese and what his upbringing was like, you found out that he grew up in a Catholic household and was extremely religious. So of course all us film students had a field day coming up with answers as to what this films' meaning was. And as the semester went on we saw films & movies of different calibers that made me appreciate both for what they were.

I was subjected to the good, the bad & the ugly that Hollywood has offered over the years.  They exposed us to EVERYTHING....Yes, one teacher we had even showed us a porno just to expose us to the different ways films/movies are directed....So we watched movies like the original Hairspray (John Waters) and then we watched films like Les Amants Criminels (a french film) On one side you have your comedy that has a fun yet weird tone to it; some would say "campy" feel. On the other side you have a dark, psychological (total mind fu*k), criminal film.  Both great in there own way, but you wouldn't put them on the same scale, and not because one is a comedy and the other is a drama, but because everything about them is different. From the way it was filmed, the journey the characters take, from how the films are directed and how they're positioned to their audience.  So as an example (again in my opinion) You'd call "Hairspray" a movie and you'd call "Les Amants Criminels" a film.  Other films Gone With The Wind, Brokeback Mountain, Precious, Paper Heart, Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, etc. They just completely take a different direction than your average movie.  They reach into the characters mind and the audiences mind to just make you go "Huh? OK, that's strange, but interesting".

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a snob with films & movies. And I love movies. I'm the first one standing in line to watch Legally Blond, Dinner For Schmucks or anything with Denzel Washington (Yes, I even sat through Book of Eli). And to be honest, ANYONE can make a movie. I could record myself singing Karaoke one night, and guess what I just made a movie. However what really annoys me, is when people hear about a film like Black Swan, don't understand it, and dismiss it.  A friend of mine mentioned to a few people she wanted to see it, and they looked at her as if she had three heads. Why? Because who would want to watch something that looks like that; "weird". I'm sorry but not all movies/films have to be about guns, scantily clad women and drug drama. 1. We have music videos for that. 2. I have my window to look out of, for that. I'm fortunate enough to have gotten to take classes that opened my mind to watch films, because I'm not subjected to just watch the same ol crap we get every year. You know the movie of the Cop that was once corrupt and now tries to stay on the straight and narrow. Until one day someone with a secret comes and tries to get him to turn or he'll kill the women he loves blah blah blah. Give me a break. It's all been done.
My point in all this rambling that I've done, is that in order to grow and become open minded we need to try different things. You can't criticize things that you don't know, unless you've tried both out. The difference between (what I think) are Movies & Films, is just an example of how I have opened my mind to new ideas and have not just keep myself closed off. The same thing goes for clothes, traveling, food, etc. I remember going on a date with a guy years ago who was Cuban, and took me to a Cuban restaurant. During the dinner all he kept talking about was being Cuban and that he only vacationed on Spanish Islands and all he ate was Spanish food and when I ordered in English he was appalled that I didn't speak Spanish; which I do, I just didn't order that way. There is nothing wrong with loving your culture. I love being a Puerto Rican woman. But with a world that has so many unique ideas and different cultures to offer us, we would do ourselves a grave injustice by ignoring the beauty that is learning something new.

So to all my blog followers, take a day to try something new. If you only eat one type of food, go and grab something different. If you only ever vacation to your homeland, try going somewhere else. If you only read Romance novels, try a Thriller. If you only see movie like White Chicks & The Tourist, try Black Swan or even True Grit (that's my next one). Just try something new and be OPEN-MINDED before being a CRITIC. ;)

Happy Blogging All.

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