all that dead air we’re not allowed access to

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at our very beginning it was struggling-struggling to keep awake but always losing, waking to the roll of the credits and exploding in a fit of frustration. it was over, this thing practically all of our most favorite people in the world – big brothers and parents – had gathered together for, paid such unwavering attention to, and so variously and fully reacted to, interacted with. a focused and unanimous attention the likes of which could only have yet been seen paid tribute to the food upon the dinner table or the god-conduits singing & preaching upon our church’s stage.

nothing offered such a range of practically immediate experience: you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll actually fall in love. only movies. not only was it clear more was happening with people than at any other time, but there was such a genuine excitement about it all, the movies – the idea, the event – people running and jumping into their seats, tossin popcorns in their big ol smiles, wrasslin, layin on each other.

the movie starts. we struggle. we wake up, our heart shatters, and we mash pillows furiously; hot wet tears. someone might say growing up is really the process of deciding what you’re not going to mind missing out on. and so we finally did, finding eventually throwing a fit too produced a feeling of regret but with a more active feeling of humiliation, you might say, than the regret of missing out on the movie, both the experience had and to come, as there were sure to be jokes-references-memories, making us lonely outsiders.

first crush: Snow White
first nightmare: Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent

then there were those years where we pretty much saw every movie at the cinemaplex. Operation Dumbo Drop comes to mind as about a fifth-tier summer release. or that fourth showing of Son In Law is probably a good example. if only you could have seen us, the only ones in the theater for the late-night (& infuriating) Rookie of the Year, “this can never last,” you’d’ve marvelled.

and it didn’t last because we became much more interested in the artistry or even mooviness of what we then preferred to call film. it was all about judgement and appreciation. Stanley Kubrick and independents at the art house cinema: Resevoir Dogs; Barcelona. Citizen Kane really is great, and hilarious, if you’ve seen it enough times. though perhaps also acquiring a certain snobbishness, we fell in love with the nuances of film, the most carefully and expertly constructed subtlety and the minds behind it. a natural romantic progression, climaxing in Magnolia when the sky rained frogs and the boy genius sat dazed by the utter reality of it all, saying “this is something that happens” as we sat and watched and said similarly that morning when the second plane zoomed & kabloomed into that second building.

after that it was movie as metaphor, analogy; parable practically. The Truman Show; The Matrix; Memento; Dark City. trying to get at something about life, the experience of being alive that can’t be said in a straightforward, realistic manner. and essentially they are all about self-realization, dramatizations of the map of transcendence Joseph Campbell called the hero’s journey. these movies actually value continuity of symbolic structure over reasonable characterization or realism, similar to how horror movies manipulate story to maximize fright.

an hilarious example: I, Robot. oh the laughs we have shared. just pointing and laughing. but many of the problems in the movie really stem from the same point (well two points: product placement &): its commitment to maintaining the structure of the hero’s journey. in this case, Sonnybot shows us how to go from self-awareness to self-realization, and Will Smith experiences the transition from the common partial-but-stunted self-awareness of a self-purgatory to the freedom of self-realization, which is to say he realizes something truer about himself than he had been understanding previously, i.e. he need not waste his time & energy in hating all robots.

there’s something else we’ve noticed about symbolism in movies: we’ve mistaken symbolic moments for wholely realistic ones and then regretted a dirth of the same experiences in our own life. like how everyone is always doing exactly what they know they should be doing – we never do that (feel like that) hardly. running in the rain is another good example. our hero, in a fit of passion, running, through the rain, sopping & sprinting and then probably screaming proclamations of undying love at his beloved’s perch. the creators of the movie utilize the rain and running to raise the intensity of the setting to reflect the intensity of the feelings and emotions within the characters. and yet in our own past romances how we’ve craved that running in the rain moment both to justify our feelings and secure the reward that can only be won through such a grand display.

but the variables of timing, precipitation and proximity (you can only run so far) have never yet so aligned and trying to force the experience leads to disasterous, you might say unwatchable, results. the produce of this misunderstanding, though, is the devaluing of real current experiences in preference for expected future experiences. and this is because the scene is not a guide or description or even suggestion of how to be in that moment, it’s an approximation of what it feels like to do that or be there or feel and go through that.

we noticed this about running in the rain, but how much of our life is hampered by similar as-yet-undiscovered misunderstandings? because what’s important is that the movies have played a role in informing and directing our thinking and behavior at all. what does this say about not only the potential but the reality of the effect of movies upon not only our selfish person but all people as humans on the planet?

and so our main interest in watching movies became imagining or deciphering the ways they could be informing the thinking of viewers, especially the role movies play in shaping the evolution of the global society. and so we cried those tears of relief when we all finally came together and softly-but-definitively engulfed our own threatening armies and stormed our own Parliament at the end of V for V. because just maybe if we dealt with it in there, in the cinerma, perhaps we needn’t experience it so directly out here.

and because of something Eric Pepin said began to think of movies as a representation of the “consciousness of the planet” or the imagination or inner monologue of the human race or global community; a window into the collective unconscious, Gaia Mind or another name it’s called.

the invention of movies could be said to be an upgrade in humanity’s technology of self-reflection. there was the world without the printing press, and after it an individual could then write a book and affect the whole of the civilized world and much more immediately than ever before. so the individual’s experience of the group is then communicated back to the group, changing it if only by interacting with it, and this inspires the reaction of another independent thinker and so on evolves the society. meanwhile the shared experience of having read the book creates greater commonality & ease of integration amongst the population of the society.

people are stitched together by the threads of commonality. people on opposite sides of the planet who have seen the same movie have that experience in common and are connected in a way similar to how neurons on the opposite sides of our brain can be connected. as the film flickers information – urges, ideas, worries & fears, hopes & dreams – is pulsed through the population like thoughts shooting through our minds.

over time this new dispersal of commonality integrates the human society in a way that overcomes the limitations of language alone. and the internet, as further upgrade, actually provides practically real-time access to a virtual representation of society’s internally experienced response to its interaction with Reality – a global community connected like a web by the threads of commonality professed by their virtual selfs.

so now we’re most interested in the various messages to humanity from itself embedded throughout movies. it’s like a game: trying to spot & decode, trying to sniff out or reverse engineer the inciting ideas & feelings. and we play it as we’ve finally learned to play all games: not so hard and mainly for fun laughs.  but the best pictures in both regards do tend to be the more fantastic. again: I, Robot.  their essential communication or teaching seems to be the structure of the hero’s journey. and this is a consistent and constant communication along the lines of “believe in yourself” or “fear the unknown!” or “God bless America” or “love conquers all”.

in movies you can see us fearing, wanting, remembering, envisioning, believing, loving, struggling, sexing, winning and losing, receiving directives – just all sorts of experiences. but especially: realizing & changing. this is not only the essential statement in most movies but seems to be practically the basis of all story. a character comes to a realization about life that changes his relationship with it. and here again we are drawn more to those that focus on the how of the change instead of the circumstances surrounding it – communicating not a specific experience but the essence of all experiences.

we’d like to think some part of humanity or existence is telling the rest of humanity about the hero’s journey, acting it out even, because it is a map of how to change, a map to transcendence of any obstacle, a map to becoming superhero even. in fact Joseph Campbell says the hero’s journey actually is the essence of all story, calls it the Monomyth. so perhaps it describes certain inevitabilities to be dealt with in pursuit of change. as we desperately want to change our self for the better and yet struggle to grasp a fuller understanding of the hero’s journey, naturally we’re especially interested to see how others have come to represent or dramatize their own understanding of it. and what we can say for sure is that watching their movies does change us, it makes us laugh and laugh.

these movies are thought to be hilarious because the thinking used to create them is so ridiculous, so contrary to known reality, reason, normal thinking or common sense. and yet if in exhibiting this absurdist thinking in their dramatization of the course one must follow to achieve self-realization and lasting change they are getting us to laugh at them, we have to wonder: what part of us are they really amusing?

we often recall that line from The Tao of Steve: “Lao-tzu said, when the foolish man hears of the Tao, you know what he does? He laughs out loud.” “the foolish man” is not to be derrogatory. it’s more like how you’re said to be in high school till you graduate. if you can’t recognize the Tao when you see it, you’re said to be a Fool. but you will still be affected by having heard (or seen) it, emphatically and hilariously affected perhaps. others will look and see only their own thinking. apparently we’re thinking of the Tao as “the Force of Change” and the hero’s journey as the unexpected course along which one must follow the Force to Change. and the conflict is a dramatization of the naturally fluctuating & conflicting energetic relationships to be integrated within the Self.

visually, though, the tension is still shown by the setting up and overcoming of impossible obstacles. how does Indiana Jones get from hanging in the pit to under that door that’s closing so fast? time distortions. and the times our own time has distorted, slowing down to accomodate the intensity of the near-drowning of a friend or our mother getting in a fight with a stranger, how we’ve noted these to be the unrealest of all our times. surreal, they’d say. but fake, like a movie. orchestrated; observed. because time seemed to slow way down. maybe because it was jam-packed with our attentiveness, like how we are the best of times at those movies.

these are but some of the lenses through which them mervies can flicker into our minds-lives. though the selection of that perspective through which the movie is to be experienced remains highly circumstantial as it’s dependent upon both our own degree of flexibility of consciousness of the time and the flexibility of them film-making consciousnesses. so imagination and laughs mainly, please, Cinerma – and do look smart about it.