Cinematic Idiosyncrasies

Nita had tagged me almost a year back for revealing my quirks related to watching movies. I thank her for the opportunity very much, as this is yet-another-close-to-my-heart topic!

  • I have watched more movies in restricted cinema halls as a member of film clubs and in film festivals than in public cinema halls.
  • I guess I do not make a good movie-watching companion in the usual sense. I am totally unresponsive to any communication during the movie. When my family or friends turn to look at me and talk during a movie, I get irritated because I don’t want them to miss even a single frame.
  • I almost never persuade others to watch films that I like. In my younger days, I used to, but after repeated disappointments, I became wiser.
  • Watching opening and closing credits is almost like a religious ritual for me. I avoid going to cinema theatres where early risers are likely to block the view of the end credits. In such circumstances, I prefer sitting in the front rows. This partly stems from my association with a few close friends who work in behind-the-scenes roles as assistant directors, music directors, producers, etc. Only partly, because this is similar to books, where I read each page of the critical acclaim, publishing history – including all the edition information, the ISBN catalogue details, printing information, etc.
  • The only time I have left a movie in-between was when I and my girlfriend were watching an old black and white Japanese film on the horrors of Hiroshima. I didn’t feel like being Seinfeld with Schindler’s List, so we politely made our exit after we discovered what the movie was about.
  • In Mumbai (then Bombay), I was the sole (illegal) under-18 member of a leading film society, the Prabhat Chitra Mandal. PCM’s Mr. Nandgaonkar had personally screened me, and after an hour-long chat about films by great directors, he had no qualms to accept my application.
  • The most intense cinematic experience in my life was during the screening of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest at the NFAI in Pune. The hall was not only packed, there was no space to stand in the aisles! Yet at the poignant climax towards the end (no spoilers), each and every member of the audience was in a world of their own. You could not hear a pin drop, because there was not a single pin dropping. The audience stopped breathing for a few moments as if that would disturb the moment.
  • I almost always like to check out reviews and critics’ opinions before I watch a film – often to decide if I’m going to watch it, and if yes, to know what I’m going to pay attention to in terms of film appreciation.
  • I once guided Helen to her seat in a screening. She had left the hall during the intermission and was hesitant about her place when she returned. She was sitting directly in the row in front of us, and I obliged. Her presence, demeanor, and personality was that of a queen!
  • I sometimes watch great films again, focusing specifically on one aspect of the film-making. For example, I will watch Charulata for studying the acting, then for studying the camera work, once for the direction and editing, and yet again solely for the sets and art decoration. There are a handful of films I have watched multiple times this way, some Ray, some Kurosawa, and some others.
  • Maybe because of the type of films I enjoy watching, they stay with me for a long time. I cannot watch one film after another. I like long meaningful discussions about the film afterwards. The longest ‘hangover’ I had after watching a film was when I watched the uncensored Bandit Queen in Berlin.

There! I trust you will not easily find a more quirky movie-buff than me!


24 thoughts on “Cinematic Idiosyncrasies

  1. One Flew Over Cuckoo’s Nest is my favorite movie. Heart wrenching it was in end.

    I too make a bad movie companion, its completely engrossing private affair for me, all expressions too openly play on face. I quarrel with my sister as she makes lots of comments while watching. I too hate missing any frame even if it is casting n other things.

    And I envy you watching movies as part of movie clubs while being so young. I too have done this movie quirks tag somewhere on my blog. 🙂

  2. Mahendra

    I read all the credits too much to the annoyance of others. I have only ever had one accomplice in this quirk – a French classmate in Cambridge. :-/

    I would love to share other ones, which might challenge your crown but I am not tagged and not volunteering 😉

  3. Wow! You are a serious film watcher and I thought I was one until I read this! I do share quite a few of your movie habits though, like for instance wanting to see every single frame of the movie. It was nice reading this, a peep into the real Mahendra! Thanks for doing the tag.

  4. Evening,
    each film is so personal.
    I do wonder who decides what and where films will get the go ahead from. I would like to see the films that they refuse to make. So many books get refused many times, and I am curious if film is the same.
    I have been to two outdoor walk ins. Once it rained. Not nice, and no one moved. (The green Mile)

  5. Hard-hitting film ain’t it? It’s my all-time favorite. I’m happy to find others who also don’t like to miss a single frame!

    Yes, I was indeed lucky! 🙂

  6. He he…’annoyance of others’ – I know exactly what you mean! Somehow Europeans are the most likely to be accomplices in such matters – at the risk of terrible overgeneralization.

    If you ‘would love’, remember this is a comment-n-self-tag post, so by commenting, you’ve already tagged yourself! 😉 Why don’t you take it up, we’d all love it!

  7. Ha ha ha! Nice to know you share at least some quirks. Regarding peeping into the real me, I’ve often let this blog do that in the past as you well know! 🙂

    Thanks for commenting, and I’m happy you enjoyed reading it.

  8. It’s quite a complicated process, but in most cases these days it happens like this – budding scriptwriters are trying to get directors to adopt their script, once directors take up a script they search for producers, who have links with the studios. Of course, anything and everything can happen vice versa.

    Yes, there are literally hundreds of thousands of cases I suspect, where scripts don’t get anyone to produce them. There are also many cases where no studio finances a producer or a project. Many famous films have such a history that they had to hop from studio to studio begging for financing. That’s where movements like Sundance help artists create independent films without the support of the big studios.

    Oh yes, thanks for visiting and commenting!

  9. You are an intense connoisseur of the movies

    A agree with the lot and wonder why people start to rush out of theaters once the credits start

  10. This is interesting. I myself don’t tend to like the reviews unless the move description is obtuse. And i hate the movie theatre because I can’t walk around or do something while I’m watching the movie. Needless to say, we have very different habits 🙂

  11. enjoyed this post immensely, thanks for doing this.
    I unlike you love to watch back to back movies and often do during festivals.
    and I am not at all coversant with movie making craft but I watch movies like they read a book, relying on dialogue, acting, gestures shown, music etc. maybe you can educate people like us about the behind the scene craft in one of your posts with blockbuster examples which is easy to go see again and again while its running. my DVD drive isnt working rt now.

  12. the other response was in your chat, wanted to see if the chat option worked but I guess smthngs wrong you reposted all my commnts back at me!

  13. Yes, one has to make an exception when there are festivals! I’m not sure I can ‘educate’…some of the ‘behind the scenes’, or ‘the making of’ programs on TV can be really a good place to start. I’m happy you enjoyed reading. 🙂

  14. so you do a post that is not too jargon heavy and with references from movies we Indians might have watched. on the net they use examples that are unknown to me, besides they assume we know much already.

  15. Jargon?! I apologize, I never thought I had used jargon in this post. I’ll think about writing about more movies.

    I do once in a while. You might want to see them all by clicking on the ‘movies’ tag in the tag cloud in the sidebar.

  16. Afternoon,
    you make perfect sense. It must send the script writer crazy to see so many new films and not theirs.
    oh, this link was just broken and I had to click Back. Byeee

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