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The World of Cinema: Escapism or Insight?

I've long learnt that the pinnacle of cinema is to help remember and forget joys and traumas all the same. That's a derivation from pre-teen me. Fast forward years later and I still believe in this founding statement. Cinema is first a mirror to reality and a glimpse at imagined realities thereof.

Even in an action film the ambition is not to just have the main character have a go at a bad guy for two hours. That's why movie ending "meanings" were such a popular search back when Google was still in adolescent stages. Both bad guy and good guy go through the motions of finding their place in the world, their motivations and what they ultimately want to achieve.


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For recent memory's sake, take Thanos for example; he had his motivations and internal conflicts thereof. Through all of the cool, epic stuff we see him get up to throughout the film, one determining fact stands; his actions determine his means. And as we all know, from this grew a debate on whether he was actually in the wrong or if he had good intentions all along ("Thanos did nothing wrong") even with all the fallacies of his plan.

So even when we watch a film to escape, any film, we come out of it with an upshot in some form of consequence. A discussion will arise between and friends and family as a by-product, and so forth until we're caught in the matrix of reality vs. cinema.


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As an audience we're more than coerced to impose our own senses of morality on the exposition and themes highlighted in the film in question. We eventually will, with or without realising the fact, be influenced by that piece of cinema in some way or another in our daily lives as a externality of disposing our own perception unto the piece of narrative. Beliefs, love, friendship, fear, career. Film has in one way or another informed our decisions regarding the pivotal areas of our lives on this ever active blue planet.

If you can tell me that you've never taken dating tips from a romantic comedy. Never tried to imitate the awe-inspiring fashion trends found in The Devil Wears Prada in front of your mirror. Never ridden a train or cab, staring outside of the window languishing over a lost love. Never evaluated your mental well-being. Never danced or spoken a certain because of a movie. I'm eternally impressed by you.

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Cinema, I've found, makes the individual, and society, peel back and expose themselves to what they truly are within the predisposed cover. Whether it's in laughter or sorrow, the person always discovers a part of themselves in aspects of any movie that they may not have ever uncovered otherwise. This is the simple beauty of movies.


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This is why filmmaking is such a powerful tool of human reflection. The filmmakers are precise in the emotions they want to bring out and what they need to shed light on. This isn't just camera, point, shoot, but more skill and human study. So even when you go to the cinema to not necessarily reflect but instead kick back and jiggle bellies, it still means something.

Film holds a mirror up to us, to culture, to worlds beyond, and it all comes back to our perception of who we are. These perceptions are challenged or confirmed either in whiplash or euphoria. We learn so much from just sitting there in that cosy cinema seat with our popcorn and soda in hand. We often take it for granted too. Most of us dismiss it as just mere entertainment, which is what it is but that's just the surface of it; whether it's a silly comedy we're watching, or a mythology spectacle. Plot and narrative designs are always intentional to make you feel the way your feel, when you feel it. It isn't just by some coincidence.

Look around you. The world is a film set, more and more so everyday.

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  • Nobantu
    Well written. I just want to go to the cinema and watch all the movies now.

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