I was pondering in the wake of a recent post about why I’m so driven to try to share movies with friends and family in the first place. It got me to thinking, and I realized there are really 6 reasons that make it so great to be a cinephile.
A “cinephile” is basically someone who is passionate about films. It’s not just an excuse to go to the theater or a desire to discuss the latest property that drives the cinephile to the latest releases. It’s the fact that they’re passionate about it, and care enough to know about the craft beyond how many large popcorn refills they’ll need for Avengers: Endgame.
So here’s my list of the 6 Greatest Things About Being a Cinephile.
- It’s a Never-Ending Exploration
No matter how many movies you see, there are always more you haven’t. Accidental blind spots exist, and you’re like a videogame character on a delightful, never-ending quest to collect the prizes along the way. And the best part is, there’s no end to the quest. It can’t end, unless they decide never to release movies again.
- The Joyous Impulse to Share
Fellow cinephiles are programmed with the impulse to share. We want to get our favorites to audiences, and we want to get the uninitiated to join the group by any means possible. Being a cinephile isn’t just defined by going to a lot of movies; it’s defined by the evangelistic desire to get other people to go to the movies, too.
- The Thrill of Discovering a New Favorite
Whether it’s an old classic or a new release, nothing tops discovering a new favorite. When you’re a cinephile, making a list of favorites is a tortuous exercise because you always want to qualify picks. It leads to discussions of its own, which brings you back to both numbers 1 and 2 on this list.
- Understanding Yourself
This may sound weird, but when you’re a cinephile you have an opportunity to be honest and understand yourself in ways no others outside God could. Your favorites, your preferred genres, your weakness for certain directors…you are given a constantly-shifting test that, if you’re willing to read it, will reveal a lot about who you are.
- Respecting Differences
A true cinephile knows how to respect differences of opinion. Instead of infantile arguments – the domain of the “franchise fans” – cinephiles can have true, honest discussions about how and why something works for them. They may disagree deeply, but they can respect how the other person arrived at their conclusions without being insecure and condescending. It’s the polar opposite of discussions on social media or articles on Vox.
- It’s Just Plain Fun
The best reason to do anything that’s not immediately related to providing the necessities for yourself or your loved ones is that it’s fun. Being a cinephile is fun, not just for the reasons listed above but because there is an inexhaustible supply of entertainment at any time and, being a cinephile, you never need an excuse to access it.
It’s getting more difficult to maintain the passion for film/movies in the modern age. The glut of releases that serves as a never-ending torrent threatening to inundate the brain makes it more and more difficult to enjoy the journey of discovery. The siren song of seeing “the latest” is becoming stronger, and with the multiple releases and platform options it’s forcing cinephiles to be more selective in their viewing habits.
This is unfortunate because it leads to ruts forming and bubbles shrinking. There are only so many hours in a day, and so tough choices have to be made. Understanding yourself becomes even more important during the never-ending exploration, because you’ll need that understanding to know when and how to navigate to something more likely to strike your fancy and justify the time spent on it.
A side effect of this is that you can end up becoming rigid in your habits, which robs some of the joy as it gets harder for pleasant surprises to sneak into the mix.
Fortunately, the joyous impulse to share and the potential thrill of discovering a new favorite are always there to pick you back up and move you forward when it seems the watch list has become too daunting.
So what are you waiting for? The blog is over. Get out there and start watching!