Getting re-acquainted with film culture

As much as I’ve tried to fight it, film has taken over my life.

I have always been drawn to movies and the movies. No matter what was happening in my family, we could always squash any beef for a few hours to go the cinema.

Even when I gave up my middle school-era, Access Hollywood-flavoured dreams, I retreated into Tumblr for the next five to six years as a place where I could indulge in film culture. Now, as an adult who is realizing the sociopolitical power of art, I am filled with joy any time I can slip a bit of film analysis into my portfolio as a “serious journalist.”

Before Petit Ange Brun, I hadn’t posted anything on my personal website. But I did feel compelled to express how incredibly important “Hidden Figures” and “Get Out” are. Not just to me, but for shifting perceptions of what black media is. Of what it can be.

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Photo by Thomas Charters

I appreciate the art of storytelling in film as much as I do in journalism. In particular, I am always striving to support any form of storytelling where the voiceless can be heard.

And if you haven’t figured this out about me by now, let me be frank: the brighter future (for creatives of colour, visionaries with disabilities, femme and non-binary artists, queer innovators) that sparkles on the horizon is what gets me up in the morning.

So, when I caught a glimpse of UCL’s Film + TV Society at the Welcome FairΒ last week, I couldn’t resist. I am always looking for an outlet to develop my skills as a journalist and critical thinker when it comes to film because it so close to my heart.

There are two components to the club: half are directors and producers and editors, and the other half are critics. I am interested in flexing my cinephile muscles through reviewing, so today I went to the blog and podcast social.

For the most part, I got to talking about differences between American and British higher education. Beyond that, the eveningΒ did solidify an observation I’ve come to have about Β Londoners. As soon as I open my mouth anywhere, a certain chain of events will take place.

It will always start innocuously: “Where are you from?”

From this will follow a question of specifics (Washington, D.C.) to even more specific (but I go to school in New York, upstate New York, Syracuse). You’ll be surprised how many Londoners have no particular ties to Syracuse University, but will have heard of it.

Lately, I’ll ask people if my accent was obvious. Some will sheepishly admit that yes, it was quite obvious. And then, doing the math(s) in my head, I’ll realize that they were just asking “Where you are from?” as a segue to sate curiosity, not cure ignorance.

I don’t have a problem with it. It, quite literally, comes with the territory. If nothing else, it’s an intriguing case study in British formalities and American reception. I’m always operating under a sort of double consciousness, wherein I’m just waiting for a comment on my accent and to see what part of my nationality is up for grabs.

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Electric Cinema Portobello by Patricia Cuasante

A large part of updating this blog is to explore my difference, my Othering, my status as an American expat. As a member of the media and a lover of film, inevitably,Β my classesΒ this semester and some of my own cinematic experiencesΒ abroad have already helped me to this end.

 

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