Ever since I was a kid, sitting in my bunk bed surrounded by all my teddies and toys, I have loved sitting there in the dark and watching the same VHS tapes on my little TV. I have loved being whisked away for an hour and a half to another world, a world that I could join and be a part of. I often placed myself in this cinematic world, which as an aspiring actor from the age of 6, I found intoxicating- I could be whoever I wanted: a hard boiled detective, an underdog changing their fate, even the leading lady who gets her happily ever after- before I became a proud female warrior and learnt that being the love interest was way less fun then being the hero- but I never gave much thought as to why I loved film so much, I just knew I did.
Then, recently when watching a particular scene in 2016’s ‘Their Finest’ I found myself becoming suddenly emotional. And this was not due to the tragically ill-fated romance of Catrin and Tom, or the depiction of war time London (although incredibly resonant) but because of a scene that managed to reveal to me why it is exactly that I love film. In one line of dialogue I had an answer that I had never really considered before; when discussing their profession, Sam Clafin’s character explains his own philosophy on why we need films, stating that ‘People like films because stories are a structure, and when things turn bad it’s still part of a plan. There’s a point to it.’ That train of thought hit me like a ton of bricks, as I started to realise the truth behind the statement.
As someone who doesn’t handle uncontrollable variables in life well, I began to find an incredible amount of joy within this discovery. No matter how unexpected and often cruel life can be, for a few hours we can all escape to a fictional world that functions in a way we can predict, in a way that we can root for, in a way that I, as a filmmaker, can write and decide myself. I’ve always wanted to tell stories that mean something to those that watch them, to portray the struggles and complications of being alive on this planet and a part of human society, but in a way that allows for a happy resolution, something not everybody is lucky enough to get in the real world. That no matter how hard and difficult things may seem, the protagonist will learn and grow and most importantly; end up where they belong.
There are many things in my own personal story that have seemed pointless or have had me screaming into my pillow ‘WHY ME!? WHY UNIVERSE WHY?’ (In a typical teenager melodramatic tone) Events that for the life of me I couldn’t understand why they had to happen at all- but this scene, this line of dialogue, this revelation made me realise that Film has enabled me to find ways to deal with this issue. To look at mistakes made or times that I regret as something more than an embarrassing or upsetting situation, but part of a plan. The part of my own movie where I learn a bit more about myself and get back up before going to conquer the world.