Hubby working out of town means a chance for some deep cleaning and organizing. While slowly sorting through random stacks and stashes in the office, I came across one of my old films. Like actual film, like in a can.
Finding this is jarring for several reasons. Bound in bubble wrap with a hand written note from a dear friend recently deceased, I haven’t seen this projected for decades. And honestly…I don’t quite remember which film this is, long ago passed to Dave in NOLA to view at a movie theater he managed part time, entrusted to him as a bond between friends moving in different directions.
During that time, at then slightly indulgent, brain expanding, childhood-dream fulfilling graduate school, we scholars watched hundreds of films a week. Some were shockingly short, some were feature length and beyond, way beyond.
To clarify, this was not like flipping through the internet, or watching on a screen the size of a credit card while multitasking. This was intentionally sitting in the dark, quietly, viewing each work with respect – extracting anything we could of a message, a tone, an idea, or observing what was stirred up inside of self.
By no means were all the films good. But the process and approach was, creating an environment that encouraged one to stretch and play and strive to express something as only YOU could, on film.
Even though this was not as spontaneous or easy as pulling a phone out to use for camera, editor, screen and distribution method, between friends it wasn’t uncommon to pop off 100 feet, experimenting with lenses or lighting, getting lost in a wee world created in that tiny eyepiece. For fun. And later, screening those few minutes together was in a sense a celebration.
So many of those faces and places are gone – passed on or moving in a lifetime that no longer exists for me other than in memory and celluloid. Almost within the same moment that I reach to tear off the plastic wrapping, I set this film can down, content with a small mystery of my own making.