A Curious Cinematic Mind | Teen Ink

A Curious Cinematic Mind

November 6, 2022
By Anonymous

One of the best teachers I’ve ever had is an inanimate object: A 65-inch flat-screen Vizio TV sitting in the center of my family room.

I can’t describe myself as a professional film critic, but when I find a movie that sparks an interest, I become so infatuated with the characters’ experiences, that it feels like they’re happening to me. By putting myself in their position, I discover new ideas that I can’t learn any other way. As a kid, I watched Barbie morph into a princess, a singer, or a fashion designer. She showed me that the possibilities were endless; that I could become anything. 

During the peak of the pandemic, I stumbled across the movie Call Me By Your Name. The dreamlike color palette, echoing piano and harp sounds, teenagers enjoying an Italian summer—secret gardens, lakes, and vineyards—in the 1980s. It wasn’t surprising that at some point I would be revolving my entire life around the Northern Italian setting.

One summer day, my mom walked into my room while I was painting a quote on the wall, muttering words to myself. 

“What are you doing?”, my mom questioned, attempting to read my moving lips. She looked puzzled when I glanced away from the decorated wall. 

“I’m practicing my Italian”, I said, turning back to my project. I began learning the language after watching the movie. I then proceeded to plan an entire trip to the Italian scenery. I would wear bright and breezy clothing similar to the characters. I would read The Heptaméron, Wuthering Heights, and The Iliad; all classics referenced in the film. I did this as if to immerse myself into a culture that I previously knew nothing about. I stepped back to look at my gleaming wall. Is it better to speak or to die? This quote presented itself beside the main character throughout the film, deciding whether he would be honest with his feelings or succumb to fear. I read this quote feeling satisfied. I read it like I wouldn’t absentmindedly glance over it 3 years later. I read it thinking about how I never spoke up in class, being too afraid of possible embarrassment. Or how I refused to open up to my friends in fear of rejection. I read it because it made me think, and I enjoyed that feeling of profound thought. 

I tried to explain this passion flaming inside me to my friends, only to receive dry, confused responses. I did everything in my power to convince them to feel the same way. I had them watch the movie with me on FaceTime, feeling personally attacked when they would say that it was just “fine”. I showed off my popular movie reviews or my essays on the symbolism of fruit. And they had the audacity to say my analytical obsession was a waste of time. I certainly didn’t think I was wasting my time. Eventually, I recognized that it was just my way of learning. 

My infatuation with that movie soon faded, however, like with every other phase, I took something with me. Is it better to speak or to die? That question has shown me that if I speak, people will speak back. Watching Anne of Green Gables taught me to appreciate nature and friendship. The Rocky series showed me that hard work pays off. I learned to accept myself as a human who makes mistakes from Good Will Hunting.

Watching these movies continues to open a new world of life lessons, those that expand my learning beyond the classroom. These hyperfixations have helped shape me into who I am because I was curious. I was curious about human interactions, about how people experience new places, and about how they accrue knowledge. I’m thankful for my flat-screen TV because I can learn new perspectives from different experiences, and for that I know I will always be a lifelong learner. 

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