and the Oscar goes to…
It’s Oscar day today as I type this, here in Manila, that is. But back in the US, it’s Oscar night. Same same.
I remember where I was a year ago today. I was here, inside Stonewall bar, the birthplace of queer pride in New York City, watching the pre-Oscar red carpet show with a couple of cool queer friends up to the first couple of awards of the main Oscar show.
Inside Stonewall, March 2010 NYC.
Read my full Stonewall visit story here and
look at my Stonewall photo essay here.
Has it been a year now? Wow. How time flies.
But with movies, it doesn’t feel that way most times. Pictures freeze memories. What more moving pictures? That is what movies are all about — endless strings of moving pictures. And thus, movies make you flashback to times once forgotten and make you excited to look at scenes up ahead in time — regardless of the kind of movie you watch. Suspension of disbelief? Of course, movies have to be escapist fare sometimes; that’s why we follow stories in different art forms, actually.
Imaginative escape through artful storytelling.
I guess that’s just how movies work for me. Perhaps that is why I chose to study it in college, and why I — despite the negativity interwoven with the art form when it comes to the business side of things — continue to be involved in it right now, albeit indirectly, through teaching in a film institute (dubbed as “one of the best film schools daw outside Hollywood) and working around its allied technology called television.
Yes, I guess it’s about telling stories, with pictures and sound. That’s how I want to look at movies. That’s also why I love watching them alone or with people I care for and care about. And no, we don’t have to like the same kinds of films because that’s also the beauty of a film — you can agree to disagree with people about how you view such films. My film school buddies and I used to stay up all night until the wee hours of the morning just talking about films. This habit of movie marathon watching and talking endlessly about films never died, and I don’t think it ever will, for me, even if the people I watch movies with and talk to afterward change from time to time.
I guess like change, the only constant thing in this world is movies.
This is why sometimes, I feel a bit sad when some people immediately dismiss the (inherent) commercial aspects of films while some vehemently reject mainstream Hollywood(ized) films without looking at their merits first, or when some (former) friends and colleagues stubbornly deny the benefits they reap from working in the mainstream and hide in that easy disclaimer of “Here I am, a sellout!” to avoid their perceived disdain from colleagues who chose not to engage in the mainstream full-on like they did.
This is also why I feel sad when people outright dismiss watching the Academy Awards as well. I know that as a structure and as an institution, it has its flaws, like the films it honors every year. But still, sometimes we just have to step back and enjoy the show, for this show is also a constant reminder of what movies are to people who watch them — movies as memories, movies as fun, movies as cultural products, what have you.
I have my own reasons for liking films, and most of them are rooted in deeply personal reasons. Yes, sometimes watching films became a lifeline for me when I needed it during certain parts of my life. And no, even if I dissect it for a living these past years, I still am able to enjoy watching them.
I guess for me, I can re-appropriate that feminist slogan of “what is personal is political” to one that says “what is cinematic is personal” as well, for that is how movies make such marks on me. Yeah, call it romanticizing but that’s what this art form manufactures most times — dreams. Why do you think they called it “Hollywood dream factory” in the 1940s? And yes, to this day, we still buy these dreams. And that’s not a crime.
So it’s time to relax once again, just chill with the images and sound, and just let the magic of dreams begin. No harm in enjoying the good stuff of life, right?