Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why I Love This Business We Call Film Criticism

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - A couple of days ago, someone at work sent an email to a whole bunch of people that featured a picturesque photo of a castle high up in the mountains in Burma. When I saw the photo, I immediately made a connection in mind: this looks like something out of Powell & Pressburger's Black Narcissus! So, to a couple of editors sitting next to me who reacted to the photo with quiet amazement, I sent a still I found on Google from Black Narcissus of the palace in the Himalayas in which the film's gradually crazed drama takes place. One of them turned around to me and started asking me a bit more about the film it came from: what it was about, whether I liked it (I most certainly do), whether that still image really was color or whether it was colorized from black-and-white, whether there were any famous names in it (I mentioned Deborah Kerr, and she immediately recognized the name).

It was immediately after this brief exchange that I realized why I'm really interested in this whole film-criticism business. Really, it's simple: I love movies. I love talking about them to people who are willing to listen (even if I'm probably better than expressing my thoughts on a film in writing than I am in person). I love sharing my enthusiasms, my likes and dislikes. I love being turned on by a really great film.

All of these things give me a great pleasure. And dammit, I want to feel and express that kind of pleasure on a daily basis, full-time, for the rest of my life. Is there anything wrong with that? At this point, I don't care if that makes me sound impossibly naïve or impractical (all adjective my mother has used to characterize my foolish pursuit of the profession---cuz most regular folk don't care about "movie critiques," says she).

That's it. No higher purpose, really. Watching, absorbing, learning and gleaning insights and revelations from films---and from art in general---makes me happy. And writing about them pleases me immensely as well. Do I really need any other reason?

1 comment:

Steven Boone said...

Just stumbled across this post, so I must answer: No, young man. The reason you've come up with is the only reason to do this stuff. If you go into accounting or something, you'll eat, sure, but you won't even be able to taste the food.