Monday, May 20, 2013

Silver Screen Reflections: What's Reel?

        As viewers, we idealize the situations, emotions, and resolutions found in motion pictures. The feel good qualities in such films can cause cinematic swooning—a term that I think I just made up which is the heart warming sensation induced by charming cinematic moments. Because we've been predisposed to these strategically placed feel good moments, we subconsciously accept and expect a “standard” development to the story. Therefore we’re submissive to the same old soundtrack and choreography (so to speak) found on the silver screen--which reflects our reality. Many people feel that life imitates art. I agree, but not completely. Life and art have been performing an intricate dance together for quite some time—all the while interchanging the lead every so often. Film is a medium that’s influenced by life. However, life is very much influenced by film due to escapism. Sometimes the vestige of our celluloid dreams transfers to our reality and we long for those movie moments. We will never live the lives of our favorite characters. However, we can learn from their stories and what makes them so remarkable.
  Most films are written with a particular formula in mind which is called the Three Act Structure.  It is comprised of seven elements: the Inciting Incident, Plot Point 1, the First Culmination, the Midpoint, Plot Point 2, the Climax, and the Denouement. Most days in our everyday lives abide by a similar structure. It's similar because it's predictable not because we always have plot points throughout our day. For instance, we are familiar with today because it happened yesterday, much like we're familiar with most films because we've seen other versions of them. Great films and terrible films follow the same structure. However, what sets great films apart is the content, most notably the details and the moments. Details can be the smallest element in a story, but they can have the most profound impact on an audience. A simple melody played on a ukulele could accompany a simple piece of dialogue. Two characters could be exchanging passionate looks, which consequently signals a pivotal moment. It’s these “film imitating life moments" which make us wish life would imitate film. It seems like an impossibility. However, theoretically it should be feasible because if film is an image in the mirror, life is the muse standing in front of the mirror. Since we idealize these projections, they somehow become more real which inevitably amounts to an unrealistic expectation.
  It's the super focused eye for detail used in film which captivates us. Details such as proficient lighting, stimulating movement, insightful pauses, incendiary musical scores, the sound of silence, and last but not least, special effects. Unfortunately, for the most part, we seem to miss out on these things in real life. I haven't had the pleasure of growing up with the sound of a gradus symphony being played in my honor. And I doubt you have either. Unless you're listening to the classical station all day everyday, then maybe there's a slight chance that a cinematic-like score could sync up to a euphoric moment. But, you can't possibly fit all of these cinematic elements into your day without making it feel phony. I digress.
There are different details and moments that we can focus on in our everyday lives. Very seldom do motion pictures illuminate something unsuspected that's extraordinarily moving. If our mundane lives could speak, they would say something similar about themselves. Relatable things such as life lessons, especially that of our peers, are the details we often overlook. It is not unusual to be mindful of our own minds. However, I think we should be the audience of our surroundings, accentuate the details in life, and lose ourselves in the moment--even if it's a precarious one. Find the time to let alternate perspectives inspire you. Let celluloid dreams be dreams and an exciting, unsuspected reality be your future.

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