Film Breathes — Therefore It Lives

Perhaps feeling a tad more filmic and nostalgic than normal, or I just caught her a a moment of clarity, I was lucky enough to be allowed to publish this extremely poignant, thought-provoking piece from my very own wife, The Greek. The marvel by my side poured her thoughts on the page on how we live our lives with the movies never too far away. And now you get to enjoy this fine piece of writing yourself. — Introduction by Robin Write 

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It’s bizarre how easy it is to fall into certain habits without realising the transition, and how identifying one of your patterns inadvertently makes you wonder what else you might be doing in attention’s absentia.

For example, I’ve been in love with films since happily flapping around in utero, I know that much for sure. To an extent, my life revolved around movies but in a very conscious, a very precise way. Whereas other children chatted with made-up friends while watching, I don’t know, Dragon Ball-Z episodes or whatever it is kids were into back then, I was too busy using my toys to recreate movie scenes, going all Taxi Driver on my mirror and employing what little creativity my underdeveloped mind could spare by having full-on arguments with my favourite cinematic characters.

Yes. Arguments. Because kids are weird.

Having said that, daydreaming verbally clashing with Michael Corleone and having cerebral blow-outs with Keyser Söze gave me insight into life’s greater meanings. As a side dish to a loving, supporting family and a fantastic circle of friends most of whom are still in my life many years later, Johnny 5, Ace Merill, Dr. Jones, Lydia Deetz et al. shaped my way of thinking (“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”), my reactions to adversity (“Sweep the leg.”), my sense of priorities (“Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”), how to approach existence (“42.”), what indulgences to grant myself (“Guilt is like a bag of fucking bricks. All you gotta is set it down.”), what dangers to avoid (“To tell you the truth, I don’t give a shit.”) etc. etc. Granted, adolescent me got a bit confused when it came to the lesson John Bender was supposed to teach me, and for a while there I went down the wrong path but, hey-ho, you live and you learn.

Fast forward to my emotional blooming. As fate would have it, my heart bumped against that of a brilliant screenwriter’s, and an even bigger movie dork than me — the man you all know and appreciate as the talented Mr. Write. We sat in a tree k-i-s-s-i-n-g, then came love, marriage, and finally, not one but two babies, but only one baby carriage because we’re environmentally friendly like that. All in a wonderful, 8-year-old blink of a batblind eye. Which effectively drives us up to now and the awareness that something like 70% of our conversations have to do with movies.

Not our children, not finances, not work, not day-to-day affairs but movies.

The vast majority of the jokes, references, puns (for is there a Briton who doesn’t like to indulge in cheesy puns?), everything, in one way or an other, they all have something to do with films, acting, directing. Writing about cinema, reminiscing about cinema, looking forward to more cinema. Even when we do talk about our precious offsprings, we refer to them as Regan and The Hulk, The Demon and The Alien. When they do something funny it will remind us of this hilarious comedy, something silly will take us back to that cheesy drama from the 80s we secretly love. With the firstborn, we are mostly transported to psychological thrillers, she’s 4, I’ll give you zero guesses as to why.

Lately, and à propos of October’s Unholy Spookday, we’ve been treating ourselves with an insane horror-binge which, I suppose, made it painfully clear that both as a couple and separate entities we are so incredibly predictable in our path, that we’ve one-dimensionally slipped into a two-dimensional world of a three-dimensional effigy of a reality that doesn’t really belong to us yet feels more tangible than anything I have personally experienced ever before. The thing is, we’re not doing it on purpose; hell, half the time we don’t even register we’re doing it.

We’ll be walking down the street on our way to the grocery shop, one kid will be rolling around, laughing like a maniac in his stroller, the other will be throwing an all-mighty fit because there is an imaginary pebble in her shoe and amidst the mayhem, one of us will say something like “Top 5 bad performances from otherwise great actors – GO!” and that will be it. We don’t need to wonder what made the other think of that query for if there’s an outside stimulus of a reason, we’ve already identified it, we know. The question sets the topic of our very own Quiz Show, our minds will refocus, peace will inwardly be restored and our souls will be transported to a place where we laugh, joke and feed off each other’s choices and personal accompanying stories, still learning, still falling in love, even though the pebble-that-isn’t-really-there is now lodged so far into Regan’s heel that we obviously have to chop off the foot and be done with it and the Alien has effectively spun himself around to an all-drenching spit-up.

Is it weird, choosing to deal with fiction over real-life issues? Most probably. Is it healthy? Maybe not. Twenty years down the line, will it come back to bite us in the ass when we come to the grim understanding that all we really have in common is a life shared through a bunch of fictional characters’ stolen memories? It’s a possibility.

But does it matter?

No, not really. By our psyches and psychoses combined, we’ve found each other in black and white through crowds of crimson and like a new-age, kind of a hipster version of Mickey and Mallory, at any given time we get to frame the dull domesticity with filmic brilliance, drape this town’s dirty and grey with colour spun, beautiful cinematography and live a hundred, thousand, million lives, more ours than they ever will be theirs because we’re here, we’re now, there’s blood coursing through our veins and we get to choose our ever-changing movie’s dynamic title. Every day. Every hour. Every moment. In film.

The Greek

Please use the comments section below to express your own thoughts on the relationship between cinema and our very own lives.

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