How Did I Fall in Love with this Little Thing Called Cinema?

Two large metal doors part to reveal an inhuman silhouette standing there. Ripley steps out, wearing two tons of hardened steel. The power loader. The camera tracks in on Ripley, encased in the skeleton of the power loader.

Get away from her, you bitch!

My earliest memory of cinema. One of them anyway.

On The Empire Film Podcast episode ‘A Celebration of Cinema: Edgar Wright & Quentin Tarantino In Conversation’, Tarantino regales the listener with a story that, to me, perfectly illustrates why I love cinema. During a screening of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom that was attended by Tarantino himself, a woman jumped up from her seat near the end of the movie and screamed “Pasolini was beaten to death on the streets of Rome and I say good riddance!”

Whilst this example may seem extreme, it conveys one thing: passion. Although it takes passion to love cinema as a whole, every single film itself evokes passion from each of us as an audience in one way or another – whether that passionate response is giving a film a good rating on Letterboxd or declaring that the brutal murder of a filmmaker is a good thing is completely dependent on the picture.

As for my love of cinema… it began as a child. Although it has unfairly become somewhat of a cliché to claim that one has loved films their entire life – or to paraphrase Henry Hill: “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a filmmaker” – it is most definitely the case for me.

My love of cinema began shortly after my parents’ separation. I am not entirely sure if I loved movies even before this or if this was the moment that I began to pay attention to the films I was being shown, but this is when I became obsessed. Visiting my dad on the weekends, and watching films with him and my brother, very quickly became one of my favourite parts of the week. I am unsure if Aliens was the first film that he showed us around this period, having also been shown Terminator 2: Judgement Day & Blade II (my dad sure liked sequels). However, James Cameron’s Aliens was the movie that made me want to become a filmmaker. Well, kind of. Aliens made me want to become an actor.

Having seen Ripley in that power loader, I was under the impression as a child that if you acted in movies you literally lived within that world. Not just dressing up and using props but physically becoming another person and living in another world. Of course this was appealing to me. Although this belief as a child was overly fantastical, it turned out not to be as far away from the truth as it would seem.

Movies are an escape. An escape from your troubles, stress, anxiety, depression or even just the rain outside. Film has the power to transport you from one world to another, similarly to what my young self thought. Knowing this, it is no wonder movies evoke such passionate responses as the one regaled by Tarantino on the Empire Film Podcast. Moreover, it comes as no surprise that my love of films stems from those first films I can recall.

Whilst those first films I was shown by my parents – and many more such as the likes made by Laurel & Hardy as well as Star Wars, Disney and Pixar movies – are perhaps the most important factor when it comes to my love of films, they were also only the beginning; the spark that lit my curiosity and led me down a path of discovery. Discovery which allowed me to witness some truly amazing pieces of art (and a fair share of trash) that would literally shape me, make me consider pursuing a career in film and even come to the realisation that a career in the arts is possible.

The quote may go “manners maketh man”, but perhaps in my case “movies maketh man” would be more appropriate.

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