Why the hype?
photo: The Guardian
On the evening of last February 26th, along with about 70% of the planet (everyone who has a TV), I was transfixed by the Oscars. Of course, there was no way I could miss beautiful actresses display spectacular dresses—girls will be girls, you know!
As a result, including the pre-show, I spent over three hours glued to my 42 inch flat screen.
So, I spent three hours simply watching these artisans of image and sentiment collect the fruit of their labour. With the possible exception of comedian Chris Rock (who stated that the voiceover work he does is very easy and yet they pay him millions to do it) I understand that the evening is highly anticipated by artists who laboured for months if not years to create their art, always faced with long hours on the set and sometimes with very limited budgets.
But what about us mortal spectators? Why are we so bedeviled by the cinema? Why are we so intrigued by other people’s stories and why do they captivate us?
On what grounds do we declare a film to be a masterpiece or a lemon?
What ingredients are essential to a good movie?
Why are we so compelled to watch the play by play of others people’s lives?
After all, a movie is an observation of life. It is inspired by real life.
Perhaps we love movies because they allow us to be the observer, thereby satisfying the voyeur in us? They can stir our inner most feelings and ask only that we listen. They say: “Hey, I’ve got something to tell you. Just listen to me for a couple of hours, you don’t have to do anything, just watch and relax”.
Movies connect us with emotions we have experienced and forgotten. They can be inspired by life experience for some or simply imagined by others, but are always sourced from the human psyche and experience.
After all, what affects us most is to watch men smile, die, suffer or escape, because we are reminded of our own experience, our own significance. Ultimately, movies remind us of the human in humanity.
Humanity in all its expressions is the centre of a story.
In a sense, movies are ultimately a celebration of what we are.
The two hours spent watching a movie provides an opportunity to let go and to adopt the objective, peaceful disposition needed to admire the fabulous complexity of humanity and to rediscover some of its hidden charms.