This week, I stumbled upon a question that rattled my entire cinephile existence.
“What film made you fall in love with movies?”
I was taken aback and overwhelmed. I dug deep through the earliest memories I had of any fondness for films to answer the question.
Was it Jurassic Park, the film that made me believe that it was possible dinosaurs can actually exist again?
Was it Titanic, the film that made me aware of film scores and also had me believe that Leonardo DiCaprio actually died, and how amazing it was that cameras were everywhere in the middle of the ocean to capture every second that the ship sank more and more?
Instinctively though, my answer was A.I. Artificial Intelligence.
I loved that film as a kid. Every time it was on HBO, I’d watch it and never grow tired of it, no matter how many times I have seen it. But in those days, I don’t usually watch movies over and over again; A.I. was an exception.
There was a touch of weirdness in that movie and I was conscious of it at that young age, to some extent that I did not even know why Jude Law’s character acted as such until I learned that he was apparently a gigolo. But weirdness does not always connote to a negative thing, which is why I loved it nonetheless.
I found out it was rated PG-13. It wasn’t for general audiences–a 5 year-old like me. But now that I have come to be more aware of the cinematic world, I understood why:
A.I. was supposed to be a Stanley Kubrick movie in partnership with Steven Spielberg as director, but Spielberg took over the project upon Kubrick’s death. And cinephiles would know that Stanley Kubrick films are normally not for younger audiences; kids aren’t supposed to like his movies.
(I’m starting to feel very nostalgic.)
Later on in life as I grew more fascinated with films (and I had a deeper understanding as compared to when I was 5 years old), I found myself loving Kubrick’s films, no matter how weird they were.
Exhibit A: 2001: A Space Odyssey. After watching it, I have never been so confused in my entire life. The ending was what closed the deal. I had no idea what was happening, but I loved that the movie made me feel that way (shout out to ambiguous endings–those are my favorite kind).
Exhibit B: A Clockwork Orange. I’m surprised myself that this is my favorite Kubrick film. The main character’s lifestyle is weirdness in itself, and the entire movie is also very violent and graphic. People say it’s Kubrick’s most controversial film. But it’s a work of art.
It was in this time when I became more interested in Kubrick as a filmmaker and did some research. This was when I learned that one of the films I loved during my childhood was conceptualized by none other than this master of cinema.
It’s no wonder I love his films as an adult; I’ve loved his approach ever since I was 5 years old. Or maybe more importantly, I was exposed to his approach at that age.
I’m glad my parents made me watch A.I. that young. I can still remember Mom and Dad saying, “Maganda to, parang robot yung anak niya” (also shout out to my parents for making me watch the movies that matter).
And it was with that innocence that made my love for movies more–should I say–authentic, real, genuine.
Because only when you are a kid that you get that feeling of liking or loving something deeply, without having to rationalize and think too much on why you do. You’d just find something beautiful in it, and that was enough.
You liked it. End of story.
I do believe that’s what film appreciation is all about. Because movies do that to you–make an unexplainable head-on impact you never see coming because it shows you the unthinkable in even a single frame.
I might have been young and gullible back then to believe visual effects were real life without thinking of any reasonable explanation as to how it was done. But it’s only because I believed in the magic of cinema ever since I can remember.
And the magic there is believing nothing was impossible to create.
As Stanley Kubrick once said,
“If it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed.”
So really, there may not be just one film that made me fall in love with movies. Every film I’ve seen as a kid that made me believe in the magic of cinema would definitely make the cut. No matter how long that list goes.