Cinema and its Idiosyncrasies

Cinema and its Idiosyncrasies

Jean-Luc Godard, a pioneer of the French New Wave film movement, once remarked, “Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the whole world.” This makes me ponder over the question – why do we love cinema so greatly? Even if we do not ‘love’ films, why then do we gravitate towards them when we need a reason to weep or feel comforted, to laugh or to even have an edge-of-the-seat thrilling experience? The cinema has the power to make humans experience an endless sea of emotions. Perhaps we watch films because they’re the most persuasive and dynamic form of art to have ever existed – they contain and bring to life other forms of art such as poetry, photography, and design. Though all these points make sense to some extent, the truth is that we truly love something, or someone, for their imperfections – their quirks, their oddities, or idiosyncrasies. This is precisely why we are drawn to cinema too, the reason why we cherish and idolize certain characters, film stars, and filmmakers.

Jean-Luc Godard, Swiss-French film director, screenwriter and film critic.

“….medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

                                                                                       – John Keating, Dead Poets Society (1989)

Being the intense form of art it is, cinema naturally becomes subjective as every person has preferences. Even so, it doesn’t facilitate any disputes owing to the spectrum of genres it encloses. Some of us might not be fans of Michael Bay-styled action flicks, or even Julia Roberts starring Rom-Coms in contrast to the person looking for a Baumbach-styled drama. David Lynch’s surrealist cinema isn’t for everybody, but he is adored by cinephiles all over the world. Similarly, numerous watch Chris Nolan’s science-fiction films involving concepts of time and space with absolute loyalty and dedication, even when they don’t understand a thing. The place though, that little overlap in the bubble of differences between our tastes in film, is about how we essentially relate the characters, visuals, and situations that are possibly not present in our day-to-day lives, to ourselves. The power of influence in cinema is immeasurable, I mean who wouldn’t want to be like John Keating in Dead Poets Society, Tyler Durden in Fight Club (without batting an eye at his anarchist ideology), or Jo March in Little Women? We love these characters not only for what they represent or the way they dress or carry themselves, but for their peculiarities and their typical personality traits.

To bring such eccentric characters and films to life, the filmmaker’s approach needs to be more like an auteur. Many have perfected their craft and their aesthetic – Godard’s jump cuts, Nic Refn’s neon lighting, Scorsese’s noir thrillers, Edgar Wright’s transitions, Tim Burton’s dark production design, and Tarkovsky’s philosophy in film – to name a few, with a special mention for the perfectionist Wes Anderson whose films are known for their symmetry, eccentricity, and distinctive visual and narrative styles.

Wesley Wales Anderson, American filmmaker.

With that being said, all of us have an unequivocal course of looking at and perceiving art. The moment you indulge and dive deeper into a piece you treasure, your thoughts change and so do your emotions – the universe as you know it is not the same anymore. Find what your element is and embrace it.

– Devvrat Pandey

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