Nursed by the silver screen

I grew up in a household where movies were a central interest alongside music. When I say movies, I dread being misunderstood, people thinking I mean Hollywood blockbusters and award-winning horrors, you know, those scripts without substance animated by pretty faces with no character or depth. Unfortunately, that’s what a big chunk of today’s cinema is, an act of an act, a parody. No, I grew up with the likes of Burt Lancaster and Montgomery Clift, Fred Astaire and Deborah Kerr, Grace Kelly and so many class acts that turned every ordinary day into a sparkling daze. However, my father – who initiated this love for cinema in my brother and myself – doesn’t always meet eye to eye with me on certain film topics, genres, or directors. Whenever I mentioned Louis de Funes or Robert De Niro for example, I’d get an instant eye roll; which didn’t make my likings die out or lose any of their luster; I always found differences healthy, but hearing the words “I just don’t like it/him/…” without getting so much as a reason always annoyed me. For the longest time, I took my father’s word for what was considered a good picture as the ultimate judgement, an unquestionable truth, but as I grew older and made it a duty to create my very own library, I noticed there were gaps I could no longer ignore. For instance, Woody Allen. I had never watched any of his works, mostly because every time someone brought up his name, my father reacted just as I mentioned earlier, badly. I mean the guy did run off with his adoptive daughter, that’s a hard thing to swallow. Nevertheless, he wasn’t some ignorant filmmaker emptily praised or focused on ridiculous money-making productions like Michael Bay, and he had something – a lot of things – to say. So I started: Annie Hall, Husbands and wives, and the list went on, only to discover…I liked him, his vision, the way he told each story, the way it all fit. I didn’t love him or put him on a cinematographic pedestal, but I felt an intriguing nudge each time I pressed play and heard the off-voice so characteristic of his creations. Then the other night it hit me – I finally understood why I liked his productions and how come they felt so familiar. Each one of his stories was told the way I lived life, a narrator in the background, a somewhat brownish filter in the words, the clothes, the topics and a certain overanalysis I never could shake off myself… I felt close to his vision, as if my mind could write things I wasn’t aware of, but he somehow was, and they turned into celluloid realities…for me to watch with a big bowl of popcorn.

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