680 days ago, with the publishing of the Forrest Gump Analysis article, Celluloid Cinema was born. Since the inaugural article in the beginning of August 2015 there has been one hundred additional articles created for the site. But now I sit back and reflect on my own progression since the Forrest Gump article I realize that while the site has changed dramatically, I have changed both personally and professionally so much more than the site ever could. In talking about the experiences and life lessons that I have learned in the last two years of my life I am sure that I could easily surpass the length of all the other Celluloid Cinema articles put together, but, in keeping with Celluloid Cinema tradition, I’ll limit the reflection to only film related discussion. In order to do so, I am going to discuss my journey through the two elements that came together each week to help my write a Celluloid Cinema article which is watching film and then writing about film
When I wrote my first article for Celluloid Cinema I was two weeks away from attending my first college film class. Up until that point most of my understanding of film came from only those that I sought out and material that I would stumble across online or in books. As a result, my film knowledge was not only limited in scope but also limited in depth. This meant that when I saw a film I could not fully appreciate what the filmmakers behind it were trying to accomplish. Conveniently enough, during this period I have logged and rated out of five every film that I watched. Because of this log be it has been an interesting journey to go back through films I strongly disliked and see how much more credit I give the film now that my understanding of film has improved. However, this was not the only result of the spreadsheet. When looking back through the log I have also noticed that many of the films I thought were remarkable are not as great when compared to the true classics of Cinema.
Regardless, this experiment has shown me that by watching more films you are able to really appreciate the good ones that much more. Ironically enough, in this exploration I also found that even though the rating system pointed out my changing attitudes towards film, it was not an illuminating way to talk about film. To reduce a film's over arching impression to a number is way to simplified of a system and only works if you ignore a fundamental quality of film. This fundamental quality is that film has the ability to make a different impression on you as time goes on and each time you see the film. While many audience members make the assumption that their relationship with the film is done when the end credits roll, the real relationship between film and viewer is never ending. No matter how many times you watch a film, even if it is just once, the response it gets out of you will change as time goes on. This is because unlike film, people are always changing. By looking at and understanding how our feelings toward a film has changed over the course of our life, we can study ourselves and see how our mind has come to appreciate the film in a different way. By finally understanding that film is a medium that allows audiences to reflect on themselves, I have been able to see film in a completely different light than I had when I first started Celluloid Cinema.
After the fun part of watching a new film each week, the next step in the process was actually writing the article. When looking back at some of my earlier Celluloid Cinema articles it is apparent that many read more as a personal opinion piece with some narrative discussion sprinkled in. As time went on and I started to figure out what I wanted the site to be, I started shifting away from the personal opinion talk and instead started talking about each film critically in the technical sense. While my opinion could still be figured out in the tone I used to talk about the film, the articles had much more weight behind them as I clearly outlined with evidence why one film was successful or unsuccessful. The reason I decided to make this switch was because I realized with the advent of the internet and the growing number of online blogs, anyone could easily type up their opinion after watching a film, but I could set myself apart with my knowledge of the technical elements. However, as this aspect of my writing started to improve, I found myself wanting to review films less and less and instead turn to analyzing films in a social context. Through this type of writing a strayed away from discussing simple questions like whether or no the film was entertaining and instead looked at what the filmmakers behind it were able to achieve and what they wanted to say. Once I hit this stride in my writing, I began to feel like my articles were more than just throw away articles that only helped decide how to spend your afternoon at the theater.
Now after making these gains in both understanding and writing about film, I was left at a crossroad. Do I continue writing these short analytical articles every week that do not go as deep as they could or after maintaining a site that I have been devoted to for two years, do I stop to focus on writing academic essays and books? Each week for the past few months when I was preparing an article I would ask myself this question, and now after graduating from college with a Cinema degree in film studies, I think it is time to move on with the next project in my career and step away from Celluloid Cinema. Instead of putting out an article that I am proud of but does not quite addresses all of the thoughts I have about a film each week, I am instead going to focus on longer format essays for academic journals and write books about some of the filmmakers that keep my love for Cinema alive.
With that being said, its time to finish the final article for Celluloid Cinema. To anyone that has been apart of the journey over the last two years thank you for visiting the site as each viewer has given me the energy to keep the site updated for 97 consecutive weeks. Without all of the lessons that I have learned form working on the site, I would be a much different and less experienced Cinephile than I am.
For the last time, thank you for visiting Celluloid Cinema, please leave your thoughts in the comments below.