May 25, 2003

We're All Cinemaniacs

You know when you see someone so terribly awkward and embarrassing but that you see a modicum of yourself in and thus you can't help but cringe? This is the experience CC had as she realized she could name on sight all the screening spaces captured in Cinemania, a documentary about five extreme New York cinephiles. These fans find they must juggle their schedules to fit in all the screenings they'd like to attend, watching up to 5 movies a day, and consider themselves serious collectors of movie trivia.

There are bits of the movie where it drags, and parts where the film seems to unfairly mock their subjects making them seem particularly nutso. In these moments, the film seems to unnecessarily narrow its scope, separating these fanatics from those in the audience who might call themselves just fans. At the screening, CC attended with J a member of the audience turned around after the credits to ask who had seen more than one movie that day and everyone tittered, uncomfortably I might add. But really, what makes the director of AMMI, featured in the film who comments on the cinemaniacs, who's deemed legitimate for his cinephilia so different from these obsessives? Because he doesn't memorize running times of every film screened at his museum?

As J pointed out, it might have been more interesting to use these insular people to further understand the impulses that lead to cinephilia. Do they, and also us "normal" movie watchers, crave the escape? The perfect image made real? Or just the singular feeling of being in those seats as the house lights go down and the screen begins to flicker?

Read a good introspective review in the Press by Matt Zoller Seitz.

Posted by karen at May 25, 2003 11:24 PM