Sunday, February 20, 2005

The Illusion of Life

The Illusion of Life

I'm on my way home to KL via Singapore. I don't mind spending a couple of hours transiting at Changi airport because the atmosphere here is very pleasant: free Internet stations are everywhere plus the entire terminal has Wi-Fi. It's also fun to check out all the latest electronic gadgets that they are selling at the duty-free shops.

I slept through my entire one-and-half hour journey from Jakarta. For some reason I'm feeling a bit tired, even after a full day of rest in Jakarta on Saturday. I even went to watch a movie at Plaza Blok M. I vow to find time to watch more movies this year because good movies can be very inspiring and thought-provoking.

When we live our lives in the same surroundings and getting the same sensory input everyday, our minds can become rather dull and the consequence of that is trite thinking. Movies are a good way to inject fresh sensory input into the mind, triggering fresh new lines of thought and ideas.

Watching movies in the theatre is always preferrable to viewing DVDs in the comfort of one's home. First of all, no matter how high-tech and mammoth your home theatre is, nothing beats the picture and sound quality that one can get in a proper cinema. But more importantly, watching a movie in a theatre is an immersive experience--you go in and enter into another world completely; you are enveloped in darkness and your concentration on the movie is total and absolute. That makes all the difference.

At home, you are simply too comfortable: you tend to go to the toilet a bit too often, you take breaks to raid the fridge; phones will be ringing plus a thousand other things will distract your concentration away from the movie. The end result is a watered-down experience. It's good enough if you just want to follow the plot of the movie and perhaps marvel at some of the flashier scenes; but you'll miss all the subtle nuances that make a movie great.

I think writers can also improve their craft by studying movies. A film director has to tell a story--which can sometimes span across a few generations--within two or three hours. Hence no fat can be admitted. Every scene, every piece of dialogue must contribute to the overall plot. Good movies need to control its pacing and rhythm--you need to achieve the right balance between slow and fast scenes and build up to a climax, also not forgetting how to blend music and colour skillfully to enhance the mood of every scene.

A good movie, like a good book, stays in your mind forever--it becomes a part of you, part of your life's experiences. It is not unlike a love affair; you always come out of the experience, changed. And after a while, you begin to realize that life itself has the illusory feeling of a movie too...

No comments: