Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Movie archaeology

While living on Ravelry, which means living among Americans mostly, I became a part of the beehive mentality of the bunch I socialize with. I started referencing to Star Trek which I might not have seen at all, for example. I felt it as a major flaw in my education, not the Star Trek per se but the general popcultural (with a shift to nerdy) framework of which I was aware but without deeper knowledge. In other words, my friends talked about things I didn't udnerstand and sometimes I felt bad about that.

The other day, Sadako probably got slightly annoyed with my method of obtaining movies and music, which consisted of asking her to do it for me and taught me the basics, namely where to find stuff and where to find subtitles if they don't come with stuff. Since she lives on various cinéphile forums, I use her as a reference in case I need to find out what the movie where Antonio Banderas plays a lover to some Persian prince or that one about the Danish guys who have Mifune's ghost in the basement.
To which there's a story. When I was around ten, the revolution came, no more censorship, lots of enthusiasm and some chaos. At around the same time, my parents got a new TV set that was stationed in their bedroom. Since I didn't want to watch news or whatever they were watching then, I hid in the bedroom and watched movies. Apparently, the program department poured in whatever hadn't been allowed because there was nudity, blood, anything possibly politically offensive, stuff from the ebil Capitalist countries... and I watched whatever I found interesting. That movie about some American anti-Commie headquarters, and how things got out of control, Americans nuked Moscow by mistake and to make things even, they also nuked their very own New York. Another hint, it was black and white. It conveyed the atmosphere very well and quel surprise, those whom our propaganda depicted as the worst scum evah were actual people with actual fears. I might be 11 or 12 so I wouldn't think of it as educational. Or Fellini's Dolce Vita, which I didn't really get until much later but it was pretty. Scores of classical westerns, they had been teh ebil American things so we wouldn't get much of them. For whatever reason, I remember McKenna's Gold. Someone in the programming department must have had a weak spot for Japanese movies, too, some were lovable - colourful, quirky and with buckets of blood to add to the colours. And obviously action movies of very various quality, I think I've seen dozens. Trash of all genres. Existential it-is-not-really-porn-it-is-art stuff. Something that could well be Russ Meyer but I'd have to check.

Around two years later, things settled and the programming department either got fired or burned down but all this stopped. I needed to wait five or six years until I became aware of cultural mags where I could read about that stuff. But, it was pre-internet era (2) so that was all I could do, along with a bit of hope that one day, it will be screened at the university cinema ran by the half-crazy people from Film Studies department.

Another dose of eclectic came when I started studying. I lived at the dorms, my roommates were irritating, to put it mildly, and the National Film Archive cinema was two blocks away. If I got a sandwich and a ticket, it was cheaper than an actual dinner and I could spend two hours in the theatre covered in burgundy plush and gilded stucco watching some more Hungarian psychological dramas or whatever it might have been. At that time, I started to take notes. Not really extensive but digging in my old diaries might at least help identifying that Mexican movie whose plot I didn't get at all but visually, it was a two hour orgasm.

Somewhere on the way, I developed a deep love for (a) sarcastic movies of any sort (b) visually strong stuff (c) films where every killed person has at least 15 litres of blood. (3)

Huh. Now when I've learned to download stuff, I can search for something from which I remember one scene that struck me. (4)

(1) I'm old
(2) I've already mentioned that I'm old, haven't I.
(3) Think me cruel but after a day spent by creating another piece of academic obfuscation, nothing is as relaxing as a sarcastic and aesthetically pleasing bloodshed.
(4) I'd love to be bored someday. I keep failing.

No comments:

Post a Comment