Within my first few months taking the introduction to a cinema studies course, I have gained so much newfound knowledge on the stories that come alive on screen. Before, I used to watch the film and get caught up on the emotions and the plotline encompassing the story and as the credits rolled I would think about it but not in depth. Like any normal person, I had just watched a movie. Now, I watch a film, but instead of just paying attention to the plot, I was considering character constellation and mise-en-scene and how classical Hollywood cinema was shaping the story.
It's okay. I didn't know what those terms meant until two months ago. The fact that in just that small amount of time my whole knowledge, or what I thought I knew, about films has changed, goes to show how differently I understand and appreciate them now.
I admit to not frequenting the theaters. I believe in being patient and renting a film for a dollar a day, rather than paying $10 just to see it right when it releases. Of course, there are exceptions. During the Academy Award season last month I succumbed to my movie itch and bought tickets for both "Les Miserables" and "Silver Linings Playbook." Ultimately, I just prefer watching films in the comfort of my own home.
When watching a film at home, a person has the power to get a snack without paying a fortune for it, go to the bathroom without having to miss a whole part and disrupt a theater, pause the film whenever needed and rewind and move forward also if desired. Additionally, real clothing is not required; pajamas and birthday suits are recommended.
Cinema studies has me more inclined to watch films at home so I have more time and freedom to study them as I please. Since the beginning of the semester, I have found myself noting various things throughout films that require me to pause it, write it down, go over it in my head and just take it all in. It's not uncommon for viewers to want to see a film they enjoyed more than once; the same goes for listening to music and reading books. Every time you watch/hear/read something more than once, you're guaranteed to gain something new from it.
You just can't get that in a movie theater. Sure, theaters are aesthetically pleasing and provide the ultimate movie watching high and the atmosphere can't be recreated, but it doesn't provide for the type of movie watching I'm now conditioned to practice. I'm glad that now I have knowledge for what actually makes a film and what actually makes it good, but going to the movie theater and having to deal with noisy and rambunctious people does not get me excited in any way. Even if it is a movie where I know I'm going to be seeing Channing Tatum half-naked.
Movie watching is an art form. It really is more complicated than I ever thought it would be, but so much more gratifying. I wouldn't consider myself the most knowledgeable person about film. Ultimately, I'm just glad that I'm experiencing films rather than just watching them.
— Melodi Erdogan is a freshman in journalism and electronic media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.