When I was asked to write an article expressing why film was important in today’s world I immediately (in true “Life of Brian” fashion) sat down and had a meeting with Me and Myself (though Me was late, as usual). We pondered this question and we argued this question (we were in a pub at the time and Myself caused quite a stir, much to the consternation of Me and I) finally we came to the conclusion that, yes… Film was important in the modern world.
Our problem was that expressing the level of importance, it being such ‘an high one an’ all, so we agreed that this was the main burden of our endeavour.
Myself (the show off that he is) spoke about the films he had written over the years, the ones that had been made and the ones he was trying to now make himself. He spoke of how he found them to be expressions of things he could not adequately verbalise in any other way and that film presented a unique expression of the human soul in a way that no other medium could hope to capture. He ranted about artists long since gone whose work would outlive us all, and how their influences and ideas still evolved in new viewers every day and then, in an uncharacteristic bout of shyness, concluded how pleased he was that he could express so much of himself in the only medium that would allow such subtleties.
The rest of us nodded in approval of Myself’s passionate and well considered monologue, and for a moment we fell silent until the ever tardy Me spoke up in a small hesitant voice.
Story was Me’s focus of attention as he stated that story was the beginning of all things. Sometimes these stories may be as simple as a “what if” or as complex as an unfinished epic. Religion is born of stories as are the great inventions that change the face of the world, stories have made us understand the plight of people we will never meet and see that we are sometimes villains in other peoples eyes. Me continued by saying that we teach our children with stories and express our deepest thoughts and feelings with them, they entertain and enlighten and sometimes educate. Often they make us laugh, said Me with a small smile, and sometimes they build such empathy that we cry; no story medium being as potent and immediate than that of the moving image. No vehicle of the story able to touch billions of lives and sweep across the world like a tsunami of ideas with quite the same unbridled, uncontrollable joy this medium can produce.
For a moment Myself and I were dumbstruck with Me’s outburst. A glance passing between us that said “and you think you know a person”; but it was clear that Me’s feelings were accurate and true and no article about the importance of film could be written without Me’s inclusion.
So this left I, and I felt a burden to express myself in an equally clear and heartfelt way. Myself had talked about self expression and the ability to present fabulous things to the world, and Me had spoken the importance of story and the legacy that it leaves to its audience; so what could I add to this?
All eyes were on me as I thought (between sips of cider) and formulated.
Films are important, I said, because they are a perfect mirror to the world. They mirror all those things we see, occasionally with mirrors that distort forcing us to see things in a different way. They also hold up mirrors to that which we can’t see, and sometimes things would not like to. These mirrors are sometimes like a carnival Hall of Mirrors, provoking smiles and gasps of amazement, and sometimes they focus on things that have previously gone unseen. Sometimes they do all at the same time and sometimes they magnify one moment of time and space infinitely and precisely.
Films, I said, are as perfectly imperfect as their creators, with all the same freak show beauty and carnival brilliance. Films, I said, are important because my life would be worse for their lack, and I suspected that most people would feel the same.
Besides, I said with a smile, film is the only thing Me, Myself and I could ever agree on, and the thing that brought many other different people together in a global community.
When I had finished Me and Myself sat silently thinking.
Yes, they said almost in unison and then laughed at the coincidence. Film is a universe to itself and in it all is possible, and what could be more important than that?