A Love Letter To Cinema

My biggest fear when I started this film blog six months ago was that I would stop watching film for the fun of it, and start watching it as education; analyzing the work and ignoring the actual reason I fell in love with film. This is something I see over and over, with film students, buffs and even filmmakers as they lose the passion and gain the expertise.

Fortunately my passion for film has not changed, only grown. It is possible this initial fear was largely unfounded. That is not to say that I have not learned anything, nor do I ignore the technical aspects of film. Of course my knowledge of film and my understanding of filmmaking have greatly improved over the last six months but my love for film has only grown with it. It is such a great shame when someone loses their passion as they watch film completely disconnected, as a way to analyze it more clinically.

This is something that filmmakers sometimes also fall prey to, as they move ahead in their career the original drive and passion that drove them to become an artist wastes away.

Francis Ford Coppola and Bernardo Bertolucci are examples of two filmmakers who once displayed both style and passion and lost it as they became not just more technically confident but also more cynical.

Fortunately both these filmmakers found their passion once more, creating films like young men would while being near the end of their careers. Last year’s autobiographical Tetro showed a completely new side to Coppola as he experimented with his technique and told a small, personal story.

It was Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers that introduced me to countless films that would later become some of my favourites. It was not until I recently returned to that film, after viewing much of Bertolucci’s back-catalogue that I realized how important a film it was.

Many seem to dismiss The Dreamers as one of Bertolucci’s weaker films; however I see that as completely wrong. Of course there are some negatives about the film, such as the limited budget, however the passion and energy projected on screen make it so easy to ignore any faults. The film is for all intents and purposes, a love letter to cinema, and it is a beautiful one at that.

These personal films from older filmmakers help us understand why they became filmmakers, as they provide a look at the passion that drove them to create their great works of cinema.

I realize that many of my posts I write can be negative, and looking back it does upset me. Of course I dislike many films, hate them even, but the reason I started this blog was not to complain or insult film, rather it was to give an outlet to my over-powering love for film.

This blog may only have been around for six months, but over that time I realize I have become slightly cynical with my writing, complaining more than celebrating film. I do not want to be the cynical filmmaker or writer, I want to be like Bertolucci, finding the great passion and expressing it through whatever possible way available to me. The Deleted Scene is my current outlet for expressing my views on film, and I want this to be a place not of negativity but rather a place to love film. The Deleted Scene is my love letter to cinema, and that will be reflected in my writing.

I am currently in the process of raising funds for a coming-of-age genre short film called, The Dead Days of Summer. You can donate and learn more here.

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10 Responses to A Love Letter To Cinema

  1. Sam says:

    I loved your post. I am also a cinema lover and created my own film blog a couple months ago. It’s notexactlyaquote.tumblr.com if you ever want to check it out. I’ve run into links to your blog a few times. I’ll definitely be coming back more often.

  2. Branflake says:

    Can’t wait to read more from your site!

  3. Pingback: Hit List: February 8, 2011 | IMDb: All the Latest

  4. Cbellzy says:

    I totally agree with you. I decided to get rid of my facebook for the same reason. I got tired of all the negativity directed towards films and bands people didn’t like. I am a film student, and an occasional blogger, and I too woke up one day and had the same reaction as you. Sometimes we forget that a film can reach out to a variety of different people. Not everyone wants to be moved or challenged. Some just want to see their favorite actor in a predictable script so they can escape for a while. Being an elitist or an academic seems to warrant the snubbing of so many films, and I hate it. When you dislike a film you should phrase your thoughts in a way that suggest the film didn’t work for you, as opposed to slamming it for not being progressive, affective, or original. For some viewers, all films are original. If you are new to cinema, Todd Haynes and Daivd Lynch will probably be impenetrable, yet a Todd Phillips film may be exactly what you need.

  5. John Keefer says:

    Yes! Wonderful! Renewing your faith in the essential love of cinema is a bit of penance we must all do from time to time for it is way too easy to fall into cynicism nowadays what with instant everything access. For you I extend good tidings, health and well-being. When Jodorowsky reads tarot for someone he only asks, as repayment, that they spell ‘thank you’ on his palm with their finger. I do the same to you now, in the air, imagining your palm.
    And check out my dumb movies too at 51deep.com. If anything, they’ll demonstrate that you don’t need money to make a film…I mean, if you want it to look good, sure, but if that’s not a factor…

  6. Huffy says:

    Good post. I’m set on making films of my own one day (though I’m not nearly as close to realizing that goal as you are) so I can identify with what you’re saying. I think its especially easy to become an “Armond White” given our greater society’s current lack of interest for cinema. It’s hard to believe that a few decades ago a film like My Dinner with Andre was able to become a smash hit because of the praises of two critics. One would think that the internet would enable smaller films to gain greater audiences yet our culture is more preoccupied with blockbusters than its ever been. Which wouldn’t necessarily be a problem if Hollywood wasn’t so awful of late. Still, I have hope for the future. Its easier to make a film now than it ever has been, and I believe that digital distribution will become more viable in the coming years. And there’s always going to be that 1% of people who are willing to pursue their passion regardless of its fiscal profitability.
    That said, I’m not sure its fair to label Coppola as someone who lost his passion. He has said that most of his films made post-New Hollywood were done to pay off the massive dept he incurred making One from the Heart. So he didn’t exactly have much of a choice in choosing his projects. Thankfully his fiances are squared away, resulting in Tetro.

  7. Steve Macauley says:

    I liked reading this article very much, and it perfectly summed up why I don’t like the profession of the critic.. Not every film or movie (and there is a difference between the two) is meant to be a work of art. Most aren’t. Not every film or movie is meant to be pure entertainment either. I feel like you can’t really measure every film or movie you see with the same kind of ruler.

    I found it pretty interesting when on “At The Movies” last year, Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott gave two “Skip It” ratings to “Shutter Island” and then two “See It” ratings to “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” and in a later episode of the show, felt the need to address the audience to try and explain the difference between thinking critically about the two very different films..

    It all comes down to personal opinion, and critics are paid for their personal opinion. Leaving out the fact that they get to see most of the movies and films they are reviewing for free, it just kind of seems like they don’t love cinema, because it has become their job..

    I mean, I wouldn’t feel great about having to see all of the crap movies that I skip every year and then have to write a review about each one for a paycheck, but I just feel like movie bloggers are the future, because they seem to see more of the big picture than most of the critics whose reviews I read, and bloggers love movies and films, which is why anyone starts writing about them in the first place.

    I think once you attach a paycheck and a mandatory viewing schedule to that, it becomes more of a slog and you start to move further away from that love you had for it at the beginning..

  8. indotransserv says:

    Thanks for voicing this out. I’ve noticed a slight “switch” too… but really hope I wouldn’t get to the point of jadedness. While it’s certainly becomes rare, there are still a few movies here and there that I go see merely for enjoyment. And it feels nice… simply watching without the expectations of having to review.


    The MovieMaven

    http://themoviemaven.posterous.com

  9. David Fernandez says:

    Interesting post. I share the opinion that The Dreamers is one fine picture. Such an elegant and passionate work of art that is not afraid to scream its love for film. A true love letter to cinema. Writings like these make me proud to be a film enthusiast. Keep up the good work, and I’ll be around.

  10. RunningSiren says:

    Your blog has been such a delight since I found it last fall – your passion for films shows – as well as your respect for films – and this “respect” is what’s missing in many reviews by professional critics. Thanks Dan and keep up the good work – I know it cannot be easy to watch a film and then have to write about it in detail right away for the world to read. [And thanks for re-introducing me to Terrance Malik again.]

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