I have always loved that moment when the lights go down in a movie theater. Whether you’re watching a summer blockbuster with friends, laughing and sharing popcorn or absorbing the newest avant-garde French feature straight from Cannes, moviegoing transports you into another place, another life, another mind. I’ve spent my life captivated by the art, from begging my grandma to let me watch Tim Burton’s vampire flick at nine years old to memorizing the "Teen Beach Movie" (2013) soundtrack as a tween to watching "Parasite" (2019) every day for a week straight during quarantine. I am a political science major because of Armando Iannucci, and I don’t know how much of my personality developed naturally and how much I stole from "Megamind" (2010). The art of film and television is beautiful, fascinating and complex, and every time I watch a new favorite movie, it feels like the director is peeling back the layers of my heart.
Cinema is more than a periscope into another world — it is a mirror through which we can observe ourselves. Film and television from every country imaginable reflect its politics, culture and society. It is no accident that media examining wealth inequality has spiked in South Korea, that French cinema is undergoing a resurgence of Banlieue filmmaking portraying suburban poverty and police violence or that China’s 2021 war epic depicting American military defeat smashed box office records. Whether the message of a film or show is that blatant or whether it can only be found subliminally, cinema within every community imaginable reflects and even directs societal issues and commentary.
When I tell people I study political science and film and media studies, I laugh with them about how unrelated the two are, about how random it seems, but every day I become further convinced that the two fields are more entwined than we imagine. That idea constitutes the birth of this column, where I will write about the connections between cinematic trends and broader cultural phenomena with the expertise and brazen confidence of a 19-year-old college student who has yet to be thrust into the real world. I’m no Scorsese, but I am a self-professed addict to film and civics alike. As I wish to spare my poor suitemates from the constant tirades, I will henceforth be subjecting the entire Tufts community to my love of film.
We’ll examine different countries, creators and audiences, focusing on whatever I feel like that week because this is my column and here I control the narrative. We’ll cover all my favorite methods of communication: rambling, raving and ranting, with a touch of copy editing to make it a tad more coherent. I hope you’re as thrilled to see where this goes as I am, and I can’t wait to talk about my interests with you all (and perhaps insult some of your favorite movies and shows in the process).
Until next time,