What do we think of when we think of film?
Are movies simply mindless entertainment? Are they merely commercial products shrewdly designed by studios to rake in the most cash in the summer or win the most awards in the winter? Are they in danger of obsolescence as the supposed golden age of television now finds series dominating digital streaming services? And, at the most basic level, can a film be a film if it’s no longer shot on film?
These are the questions film culture faces today. And, as I am a writer of the cinephile persuasion, I would argue that while many Hollywood movies today – blockbuster and prestige – don’t do the film community many favors in terms of repudiating the notion of cinema as cheap entertainment, film is first and foremost a medium for artistic expression. Film is art. And it should be treated as such. As a long-time lover of film, I seek to engage each work as art, find and celebrate beauty, contemplate its complexities and uncover truth, allow it to challenge or strengthen my faith, and wrestle with what it says about life.
The best art is that which earnestly explores the mysteries of this world, intelligently and honestly comments on humanity, and perhaps most of all affirms life itself. Throughout cinema’s rich history, from Carl Theodor Dreyer to Yasujiro Ozu to Satyajit Ray to Hou Hsiao-hsien to Abbas Kiarostami to Terrence Malick, the medium’s greatest filmmakers are those who have crafted meaningful art that is profoundly human, intensely spiritual, or both, and always centered on how we as humans live.
Thus, while I admire those who can mine for gold in the unlikeliest places (mainstream Hollywood fare, nihilistic or intentionally shocking European festival favorites, international Oscar bait), the primary function of this site is not to provide space for over-discussed films. Instead, I hope to offer an alternative platform to praise and analyze lesser-known films – old and new – significant in some way with regards to their artistic merit and valuable commentary on humankind and life. The site will be comprised of features highlighting various works as they speak to a given aspect of life, evaluations of particular films, and occasional lists because they are fun to write and read.
I hope you will join me as I celebrate the art of film and the artists who create it. I am always looking to expand my horizons, so please offer movie suggestions or contact me with your thoughts. I’d love it if you would come along with me on a journey through a world of cinema that has a lot to say on life, and nothing more.
— James Rashid