When writer James Ward of Visalia Times-Delta came to me with the idea of this blogathon, I was immediately intrigued. Today, I hope many of you will be too.
The prompt asks anyone who loves and writes about the movies, to choose five films that represent humanity for the curious extraterrestrial forces that haven landed on Earth.
Seems simplistic enough, yes?
Well not exactly. While ruminating over the seemingly straightforward question I ran into some perplexing questions. What facets of life should I convey through my selections? Should I present these alien forces a realistic expression of life on Earth, or one full of fantasy and optimism? The same goes on the opposite of the spectrum: Should I show the melancholy that perpetually pervades the souls of a majority of society?
Alas, I digress. The five films below answer all fears I had, and questions I contemplated, or at least attempts to.
I hope you both enjoy and participate in this event.
The Great Participants (Alphabetically listed):
The transition from teenage hood to adulthood is one with responsibilities, choices, and ideally a hopeful future. Cameron Crowe’s 80s classic defines that misunderstood period of the growth from an adolescent to an adult. Say Anything – while certainly a film with much to say on young life – is an optimistic movie, one with energy we all wish to possess in our time.
Now shifting gears from bliss to brutal, I’ve chosen Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver to represent the brutality and anger within the many who partook in war. While I’d hope the alien forces would recognize the aesthetic and stylistic values of the film, Scorsese’s untouchable masterpiece examines chaos and despair through one person. The senselessness of war is intact, but Travis is our main focus here. He’s dark, cynical, and discontent with a city he once loved. That same uncertainty our protagonist shares is what makes Taxi Driver intriguing. The film is often an enticing and riveting explosion of warfare, physical conflict, and individuals expressing impulsive rage. In the end, Taxi Driver still manages to present to us a bit of humanity – which really, is all we need.
Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ conveys what few cinematic ventures have portrayed on screen: the dynamic, painstaking process of creating art. And considering art – whether that’s film, painting, writing, acting, and any other artistically calibrated activity – is such an integral facet of society, selecting this Italian masterpiece was no difficult challenge. Especially when compared to writing this article. Art is the constant mental battle between oneself.
In what is most often lauded the “greatest film ever made”, Citizen Kane chronicles the life of an all too typical character in historic and modern society: the idealistic turned pessimistic. One comes out of the womb free of restrictions and ideas. But as time goes by, and one grows older, a majority of people endure through certain personal experiences that jade and even alter ones initial morals and character. Kane, played effectively by director/writer/producer/actor Orson Welles, also symbolizes the residual of effects of greed, corruption, and lust. All of these negative attributes ultimately inherently attribute to our protagonists’s demise. Citizen Kane is a tactful, honest and saddening representation of the inevitable outcome of all men and women: death.
Annie Hall is about the all too familiar exhilarating, yet terrifying experience of falling in and out of love. It’s beautifully romantic, perhaps because it’s not clogged with pseudo sentimentality, droopy montages, or disingenuous characters that plague far too many contemporary “romantic” films. Woody Allen’s insightful endeavor also manages to explore sexuality between two individuals, while still searching for the connotation of truly loving someone. Most of all though, Annie Hall teaches us that while being in relationships is often an arduous, nonsensical, perpetuating struggle, we can’t quite live without them.
Thank you for reading everyone. If you wish to participate, just shoot me an email at — email@example.com — with the online link to your article.