I grew up watching movies. Much of what comes out of my mouth quotes or references a film of some sorts, anywhere from depression humor to Disney animation. I always had an advantage over my friends when it came to watching movies because my family possesses a VIP movie pass, granting free movies. I never hesitated to see a film multiple times because I was never held responsible for paying the admission price. I watched movie after movie, finally realizing the effect they had on me. They weren’t just entertainment. They were a message. Then I realized my belief – I believe a movie can change an opinion.
The most effective messages in movies are seen in political controversies, my favorites being “V for Vendetta” and “Apocalypse Now.” I always saw these movies as a way to express some of my personal beliefs. “V for Vendetta,” a futuristic story battling political and religious oppression, pumped words such as “freedom” and “revolution” into my head. After watching this movie, I had a new outlook towards authority and organized religion. This power, generated from the minds of brilliant directors, is what I believe in.
I also believe that a soundtrack is as important as the plot itself. Music is a part of the setting, no matter how unnoticeable it is. In the 1980 Vietnam film “Apocalypse Now,” The Doors perform “The End” as an ironic way to provide the audience with a first opinion, which glued me to the television screen as I watched the terrors of Vietnam unfold. A soundtrack is effective when it raises your hair and your chest pounds with excitement, fear, honor, or grief. The combination of audio and visual effects controls the audience. This audio and Robert Duvall on a Vietnamese beach proclaiming, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning,” controlled me thirty seven years after the war itself.
After watching and analyzing hundreds of movies, I realized that every movie has a point of view. This point of view can be political, religious, racial, or anything else. Even the simple World War Two movie has its own bias and point of view. From an American standpoint, these films serve as feel-good stories for the “good-guy” allies. However, my opinion towards point of view changed drastically when I spent a week with my German friends. “Downfall,” a German, film, presented the fall of Berlin from Hitler’s point of view. I was shocked when I felt myself feeling pity for Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party leaders. The ancient philosophy of seeing both sides of a story became reality for the first time as I stared down the emotional English subtitles at the bottom of the screen. And as the screen turned black, I realized that I had another belief – everyone’s perspective is important.
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