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Rewatching (seeing things differently)

Gamblour. · 2 · 1150

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on: March 10, 2008, 10:47:30 AM
So we all know when we rewatch movies, we catch new things. Rewatching a film you remember loving as a child can be both thrilling and disappointing or just completely new and bizarre. I rewatched Flight of the Navigator recently and it was incredible how I had restructured the film to be entirely about the spaceship and had forgotten everything about NASA and all of that.

But I think more stirring still is watching a film that you haven't seen in a number of years, but not too many. Ones you are certain you remember as they are. Last night, I watched Taxi Driver for the first time since my senior year of high school, so it's been about 5-6 years. I was surprised it had been so long (if I've watched it since, I can't remember).

First of all, it was thrilling just to watch Robert de Niro and finally, truly being to able watch and understand more of what his character is going through and what he's doing as an actor. As a youngster, what the fuck did I know? I remember liking the violence and thinking some shots were cool, but beyond that what the fuck did I know? You just assume movies from the '70s were carried out a certain way.

His performance meant so much to me now, the way he stumbles and presents his thoughts, how he slowly spirals inward. After living a little a bit, you notice the ticks and actions of someone reaching out for help at times, someone on the edge. The film itself, it felt as if someone had come in and re-edited my dvd, adding scenes, switching moments around. The camera moves, I finally see the lovely strangeness of certain shots critics had noticed when the film was released. I was so confused and alert that it felt like I was seeing it for the first time, completely fresh. And then the ending, the violence I seem to remember so well now making me fairly sick to my stomach, and noticing the horrific absence of sound more than anything.

Anyhow, my point is that high school seems like a lifetime ago, those 5-6 years. And how much have I learned or changed since then? How differently do I see things? Watching Taxi Driver last night was like seeing it for the very first time, and it was one of the most wonderful film experiences I've ever had. It reinvigorated me, even now with all of these great films coming out.

Roger Ebert touches on this subject in his Great Films article for La Dolce Vita. He discusses his changing point of view, at the very end I believe, as he watched the films over the years, the decades. He remarks on his changing views of the Marcello as he himself aged.

What films have you rewatched and how has your perspective changed? What was the experience like?


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Reply #1 on: March 14, 2008, 04:55:06 PM
Eyes Wide Shut.

I watched it when it came out so I was pretty young and all I really could remember was "boobs!" and I think i even remarked in conversations how I thought it was his weakest film (total and complete bullshit I was just saying to impress whoever I was talking to). But I just rewatched it a couple of months ago and I haven't ever been so engulfed in a film. While viewing it this time with a good friend who was just as amazed as I was i couldn't stop thinking about all the other films of his I'd seen. There's a moment where a character says something to the extent of: "I'm not afraid of dying I'm just scared of how its going to happen" and this is a line almost verbatim from Paths of Glory and of course I didn't get that all those years ago. Thinking back on the first time i watched it I couldn't recall any of the story really. This time I was shocked and scared and on the edge of my seat. Every shot is so incredibly composed and painstakingly detailed. Seeing it with a few years of film theory under my belt definitely made a difference. Going into it with the knowledge that this was Kubrick's very last film had me viewing it in a way i could not possibly have conceived when i was 14 or 15. I really had an appreciation for it this time and its quickly become one of my favorites.
“The myth by no means finds its adequate objectification in the spoken word. The structure of the scenes and the visible imagery reveal a deeper wisdom than the poet himself is able to put into words and concepts” – Friedrich Nietzsche