It may not seem like it from my description of things, but I was 100% sober, and completely enraptured by the horrid beauty erupting in front of me. Without question I knew that I was experiencing one of the most sublime moments of my life.
Personal essays on the experience of cinema
March 16 Please Have Fun at the Movies
Cinephilia takes hold when you realize that watching films in the theater is more enjoyable than viewing the same films at home, and goes past the point of no return when you find yourself committing to a complete retrospective of anything which you knew nothing about prior to its first screening and never actively sought out previously. That was me, for years, and then it wasn’t anymore.
March 8 Homo Alone
In the fall of 2015, I read this perfect sentence: “Motion pictures are for people who like to watch women,” a line I have since repeated endlessly.
July 12 When We All Got Together
Everyone I know who was cognizant of anything in 1975 remembers that summer like people remember their first sex, or first really serious high. Notoriously, everyone developed a perfectly rational demi-phobia about submerging themselves into water, even into a swimming pool.
May 23 Batman: Origins
Sex isn’t what made me take films seriously as art, but it’s what made me take the images seriously, recognizing in them the power to provoke untold unknowns in their witnesses—recognizing in them the power not only to incite desire but also to contain it, to become the tool of its expression.
May 20 Little Art Theatre, Harbor Village Square, Bargaintown, New Jersey
When I tell people I spent many years of my childhood in a movie theater, the usual response is something like: “Wow, you must have seen so many movies!” I did, at least I think I did. It’s hard to say. Most of what I remember about these years happened off the screen.
April 6 A Separation
If you happen to be a short, bespectacled, transparently gay Chinese American spending your childhood in the middle of the Bible Belt, you could do worse than seizing on Ingmar Bergman as a talisman for dark days.
March 22 Ravishing Revivals
Though I consider myself a fairly levelheaded person, not much given to mysticism, I’ve had certain movie experiences that I would say approached the magically sublime.
March 2 Entering the Screen
Movies about movies are almost as old as movies themselves, as if we felt an urgency right from the start to get a handle on how this incredible medium was reshaping our minds and imaginations. Larger-than-life characters and the stars who play them—alchemized in cinema’s most elusive mystery—colonize our minds to an almost frightening degree.
March 2 Chasing the Film Spirit
When I began to make films, I started to have a recurring dream about a cinema called the Odeon, and I had it often until I was 40 years old. I didn’t understand it at all. It didn’t occur to me in my everyday thoughts and yet it presented itself to me each night.