the show must go on

(Not tonight, but in the next couple days (and entries) I will likely try to be a little more formal and less free-flowing, because I will be building a paper about Moulin Rouge! for my media theory class. Tonight, I want something more free... And this is my blog, and I get what I want.

And, I don't say that last thing to be a smartass, but to make a point. This, the page you're reading this on as well as the blank white screen on which I am typing it, is my world. Not my entire world. But, it belongs to me. I create it. In the prospectus for my master's thesis (turned in today, yay), I argue in favor of--though I don't call it as much just yet--a constitutive theory of communication; that is, what we say creates the world around us. With this blog, I create a certain order for my life. And, that is a good thing. And, that is my thing.

I could use a few new things in my life as well, plus some more time with the things I already have, i.e. my kids. But, right now, especially right this very moment, this is me, this is the reality I choose.

And, that segues into...) a film creates a new reality for us. I hinted at this... Well, let's be honest. I didn't hint at it, I came right out with it. Anyway, yesterday, I wrote about how this film takes familiar elements--Hollywood romantic tropes, existing song lyrics--and creates something new for us, taking what's already in our heads to constitute something we experience as something original. But, even more than that, this film alters who we are. Arguably, everything does. A class, a drive, a conversation, a movie viewing--these things and many others are events that can transform us. That transformation doesn't have to be big. But, I'm of a mind that who we are is changing constantly. I am a collection of my wants and urges and memories and roles and... I don't know what else. But, that whole is a fluid thing.

A moment ago, Satine offered up three personalities to present to the Duke: wilting flower, bright and bubbly and smoldering temptress. She's deliberately fluid, but I figure we all do that--code switching beyond language. We become who we need to become in a given situation. And, a given situation drives us to become someone different than we were before...

And, I'm spending too many words and too much time on something I think should be obvious. I mean, why see a movie if you don't expect it to change you in some way, even if just to elevate your heart rate for a couple hours?

We're always becoming someone new. Me the moment before I watch Moulin Rouge! is not the same me who watches it now, or the same me who will be here after tonight's viewing.

(And, the nice thing is me this week in general has been better than I have been in recent weeks. Life has gotten a little complicated in addition the usual busy, but this week I found something and someone new to talk about/to and my mood improved, and I've got a sense that I can do anything.)

Look at Christian. He is a penniless writer when he arrives in Paris, but, as he says, "an unconscious Argentinean fell through [his] roof [and] He was joined by a dwarf dressed as a nun." It doesn't have to be that weird, but new people, or old people returning, or just a new angle on a situation that seemed hopeless... we adapt, we change.

(And, we ramble.)

We build and rebuild.

This film, for example, makes me feel like more of a romantic and less of a cynic than I would usually be. It draws me in and as silly and bombastic as some of it is, I actually have a hard time writing as I watch (as I usually do for this blog, to save time) because I'm caught up in it. I had a similar problem last week with West Side Story. It may be a good thing that it was not a musical that I watched every day for a year, or it would have taken much more time from my day.

My point--and you people who don't like musicals might think you don't get this, but you do--is, a movie (any movie) should change you. Or it's not worth watching. A movie can teach you about who you are already, or it can show you things you didn't know you liked, didn't know you hated. It can fuel your fears, your hatreds, your desires, your beliefs and your actions. It can drive you to... well, anything. Some movies make me want to write, some make me want to act, some make me want to spend some time alone, away from the world, some make me want to be around friends, loved ones. When I watch a movie, any movie, I want to feel something. I want to cry, I want to laugh, I want to be moved. And, if it's a musical I'm watching, I want to sing and dance and live and love.

I want joy from a film. I want pain. I want heartache and excitement. I want to want to be inside that screen, inside that world, and then I want to both lament and celebrate the return to the "real" world.

Is that too much to ask?


  1. Nope, it's not too much to ask, and it's very well put! I've thought a LOT about this over my movie-viewing and cinema-going life. I do think there is a big difference between people who watch a movie to while away an hour or two and those who get more worked up about movies. I also came to the conclusion a long time ago that I want a movie to change my life-- to change my world-- and not necessarily in a trivial way. Not only to the obvious and limited extent that everything changes you, more profound than that. When I see a really good movie-- or a really bad movies that speaks to me-- somehow I feel I never really STOP watching the movie.

    And a film makes a new reality, yes, I certainly believe in that world-creating power of movies-- of all art, but of movies especially, as they are so immersive. When I read novels, I usually imagine the fictional world based on my own experiences, but a movie gives you the entire look and sound of its world. Apparently Heidegger wrote about this world-shaping power of art.

    Funnily enough, Moulin Rouge the almost the only musical I can remember enjoying. It came out in 2001, the year I really discovered the cinema. Before that, ridiculous as it sounds, I was too nervous to buy a cinema ticket! After that, I couldn't get enough.

    I'm glad to hear things are looking up for you. And, as I've mentioned before, I am personally of the opinion that ALL writing is enlivened by the 'personal touch', even academic writing. After all, we are human before we are anything else.


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