ONCE upon a time in Quezon City, I no longer enjoyed watching movies. I was enrolled in a film class and we were tasked to watch movies every week without fail whether at the laboratory or at movie theaters. The magic was further killed when we were made to join real movies as they were shot, posed as extras for hours only to realize later that we had three seconds of exposure and occupied 1/260000th of the silver screen or even smaller than that. Don't get me wrong, I had no ambitions of becoming a movie star or actress but studying movies killed the magic of cinema for me. That perfect kiss? Of course, it is -- subtle lighting, romantic filters, engaging music and yes, chewing gums and mouth wash. So that scene where he kissed her after he threw the cigarette to the ground has cuts and shot before he puffed the cigarette. Shot in reverse sequence. Imagine that kiss in real life and it would be what my brat of a friend called as "a mixture of lip wax and full ashtray." Nauseating, of course.
So, for a while, I stopped watching movies because the activity that offered catharsis became stressful. Obviously, what made it more so were the papers we had to submit for each and every film. I particularly abhorred film that came with subtitles because there was always the
suspicion if the translations were accurate and the bother of reading the bottom of the screen while watching what was going on the rest of the silver screen. Once I made a mistake of asking David Kyu-ok about a Korean movie I watched on TV, whether the subtitling truly captured was the dialogue and when he said "No!" the magic got lost again.
But there's Star Wars that never fails to lure me back to cinema's cold and dark enclave. Some years back when George Lucas announced that he was making more sequels, I was once again willing to suspend my disbelief. I wasn't just willing but I was eager and it helped that my eldest niece also became a member of the cult.
A long time ago in a galaxy faraway, Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Forces stood against a mighty and oppressive regime led by Palpatine were the heroes I fervently wished would step out of the screen. Imagine waging a battle by using The Force to control the minds of the Imperial guards to step away from battles? No body bags. Imagine a diverse universe coming together to pursue a common enemy -- Emperor Palpatine and the Sith. But movies are what they are -- imaginary and offer only momentary respite from the chaos we have made for ourselves. As a movie it can only say: May The Force be with you.