I often receive friendly criticism for the type of movies that I collect and enjoy. My friends up here at Hume call them "Nathan movies". I suggest that people come over to watch a movie, and they say, "as long as it's not a Nathan movie." And, I have to admit that I don't often watch movies solely for entertainment value. Sometimes, I do, sure, but sometimes the movies that I watch aren't an enjoyable experience. Sometimes they are, but not always. The movies that I tend to buy, I do so because I want to see them and think that others should see them as well, but they are the kind of movies that I wouldn't be able to borrow from a friend or neighbor. I do enjoy the blockbuster action movies, chic flicks, and romantic comedies, but I could find those in most anybodies' collection. I like movies that move me to care about the world, and to care about the people in the world. I like movies that resonate with who God has made me to be.
So, I've wondered how to describe the movies and stories that I like. I've said that I like movies about reality and truth, even if they are told through fiction, even if the truth is painful. I like movies that move me, that I identify with in some way. I like movies that make me cry, that invoke real emotion. I like documentaries and foreign films. I like artistic movies that see the world and the people in it through a different perspective deeper than the surface. These kind of statements were my best attempts at describing the kind of movies I like.
I just recently watched the French Three Colors trilogy (Trois Couleurs: Bleu, Blanc, Rouge) by the Polish writer/director Krzysztof Kieślowski. I really liked them, and even more, I liked watching all the behind the scenes videos about the director and the film makers. In their words I discovered a good description of why I like the movies that I like. Check out these quotes:
"He [Kieślowski] understands that the Cinema is a great tool to tell the audience about something else. The story is only a pretext."
"They're not Genre films. They're not Love stories, as we think of them. They're not even Art movies, as we think of them. You wonder how Kieślowski and Piesiewicz, his co-screen writer, even dreamed up these stories. They're full of odd little details. He was trying to make films about the soul, for want of a better word, or about destiny. And, I think he succeeded more than most people have done with Cinema. And, of course, in doing that, he's actually getting to some very basic questions that we have about our lives: why are we here?, how do we find happiness?, what's going to happen to us when we die?, how do we react to the death of other people?, what's important in life?, is it equality?, is it love? And, he's dealing with these very abstract things, but in a very material and accessible way, and I think that's what made him great, and what made him popular."
Film Critic and Author
When Krzysztof Kieślowski would select his cast and crew, he would talk to them about philosophy and their lives, asking them questions about life and death. He wanted to get to know the souls of the people that he would be working with. It was those things that were of first importance to him in the making of a film. I suppose his belief was that these things would carry through their acting, their editing, their cinematography into the very soul of the film itself. I believe that in many ways, he was right. This reminds me of David, when he being full of the Holy Spirit played his harp for Saul when he was being tormented. There is something deeper, something spiritual from the soul that is communicated through the artist in his performance.