Is there really a distinction between film buffs and people who like going to the cinema? A journey into modern films vs classic films.
So, I’m a person who likes things. One of these things is film. So when I had the opportunity to take Film Studies when I started college last September, I took it. Because why not study something you love? It seemed like the best way forward.
About two weeks in and I felt a bit out of my depth. The people in my class and my teacher watched real films. Gritty films from before any of us were actually born. At this point I had my favourite films down as things like The Avengers and Harry Potter (they’re still there, don’t worry) but it seemed like everyone else in there was that much more cultured that myself.
That got me questioning everything I thought I knew about film. There was this whole other world I hadn’t even thought of exploring before. I mean, old films are great, but I’d never met a sixteen year old who would go out and seek them. It hadn’t really occurred to me to watch other things. But, y’know, you go to college to learn so hey, it won’t be so bad if I don’t know all these arthouse films or names of directors.
A few months in, we watched a film called The Killing (Kubrick, ’56). It’s black and white and I coined from the start I wouldn’t understand it right away. I had no idea who Stanley Kubrick was. I dismissed it as just an ‘old film’. Because obviously people who like Marvel films hate black and white crime film-noirs, right? (Wrong, but we’ll get to that later).
The first time I saw it, it didn’t really make any sense to me. I’m pretty bad with character names in any film but take away the colour and I’m truly terrible. I had no clue what Kubrick was trying to say with this, I hadn’t even watched any classic noir films. Yawn, booring. When do we get to the fun stuff?!
A few days later, I read an excerpt in Empire about the greatest films ever made. I recognised about half. 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Shining leapt out at me, because both of those films are awesome. And next to those titles was the director. And what do you know; both were directed by Stanley Kubrick. I had made absolutely no connection between any of those films before. 2001: A Space Odyssey is a science fiction drama and The Shining is a horror that 9/10 people rate. But they both share a common ground of being directed by Kubrick.
So I re-watched The Killing, I think I appreciated it more the second time around, and I realised that there isn’t really a line between old films and new ones. I learned to appreciate old films and while I still love my action-packed, modern Hollywood rip-offs, I can still enjoy classic films.
My point is that there shouldn’t be a divide between film fans. You’re not uncultured if you don’t watch a certain kind of film. Yes, I now love old films, but it’s in my nature to like things. Basically, you define how much of a fan you are, not anyone else. I’m just happy film exists and I know that modern Hollywood wouldn’t be what it is now without the likes of Kubrick, Tarantino and Hawks.
People often get pigeon-holed as uncultured for liking modern films, I know I do. But does it really matter? We share a common ground in some director, some archetype, some actor, and I for one, think that’s amazing.