My obsession with the world of film began when I first watched Donnie Darko. I was 15. I realized how powerful and mind-capturing a film could be, and so I kept watching and learning, finding directors I loved, genres I loved. I discovered I loved horror!
I think most people my age are wary to venture into the waters of Art House films and others along the same vein, not because of fear of misunderstanding but because of accessibility. With the growing film industry, it’s becoming harder and harder for the independent, free thinkers in this art field to survive. Most movie production studios are looking to make money rather than a great film. When you have these blockbuster films handed to you left and right, they may seem like the only options out there. Before I watched Donnie Darko, I could never have picked a favorite movie, because I was never truly impressed by a film or what it made me feel. I think there is no right or wrong way to approach difficult film, as long as it sparks an interest in the viewer. Upon seeing Donnie Darko I became so curious in what other things this art form could offer, I was led down the rabbit hole of the body horror of David Cronenberg, the neo-noir of David Lynch, and the more meaningful and empathic movies of Tarkovsky and Bergman.
The most important thing is to go into Art House cinema with an open mind. Be prepared to feel uncomfortable, or scared, or, my favorite, confused. Also, embrace that the pleasures of viewing the film are fleeting, that someone was able to manipulate your feelings through art—something purely intangible on the screen. Don’t overthink it, take it as it is. A difficult film is like calculus. Everything you need to know, the formulas, are given to you through screen and sound. But don’t question the what’s and why’s of the formula too much. You don’t need to know why it works to reap its benefits. Think about what it’s given you and just feel however you feel. Whatever you get from these films will be true. Listen to the words. Let your mind rest for a moment and just enjoy the beautiful painting of a frame in front of you. Film can be like a symphony in an art museum. All you have to do is see.