Is a movie the same as a film?

By Isis Win

“Not being a sort of buff of cinematography, I’ve watched a great number of films” I said to a group of friends in a long night gathering. One of them replied right away, “You mean, you’ve watched a lot of movies?” My friend’s response immediately turned everyone’s attention into the topic. Radical, I though since most of the invitees much preferred to be talking about college football, or basketball. A few, I know, prefer to talk about something else, such as beer. The girls . . .  well, the girls mostly take turns with each other to cover all sorts of other topics. But this time, even the girls got involved. I never suspected that my silly response to my friend’s comment about – how much he is disappointed about US television programing, therefore he owns no TV, would lead to this conversation. Gears got greased up, energy looked like we were having Red Bull drinks, the music almost stopped and for that moment we all were invested in exchanging our thoughts all together. All sorts of topics came out in regards to this industry that for years, was one of the top, almost comparable to cars and weapons manufacturing. Movies or films, the US influenced the entire world, changing many countries’ lifestyles.
Everyone wanted to live a lifestyle the American way. Seeing beautiful people, living in nice sweet picket fence homes, always ending the day on a perfect note, everyone conquering that inspiring love, traveling to far and exotic places and always manage to squeeze the best out of that place, days that were interminably long – sunny and perfect weather, green pastures everywhere, no one ever getting hurt, happy faces – happy people, you got the drill, right?
Those are movies everyone said. Films depict true life as it comes and all sorts of tragedies happen and more than at once, someone else said. Another friend insisted that Shakespeare wrote for films not movies. Films are B&W – movies are in color another friend said. But a friend that had remained mostly silent, not getting involved in this silly chat; instead, he pulled out his iPad and was steadily working on it. Then, he draw a full smile and said “Last year, HBO’s New York Latino Film Festival, presented us the most creative, sparky, witty and amazing campaign to showcase the difference between film and movies. We all cluttered around his iPad to see what he had to show us. A series of posters used during the advertising campaign. The images are so great that we decided to set up the large monitor laptop and look at them. We loved it, but as well, it enticed us to truly cover our thoughts about this important industry that in the last two to three decades has been drastically changing through digital technology. And frankly, whether movies or films, the effect is simply uncanny.
Before sharing these posters, let me share a little bit the how and about I fell in love with cinematography. All started the simplest way, mother took my siblings and myself to Walt Disney’s Fantasia. We got hooked on it. Since that moment, mother was able to get us into the loop of good behavior by rewarding us with the theater. Not only did she take us to the theater, but we went far from home to see those movies on the largest screen that was available. And it was really large! That theater no longer exists, otherwise I would like to revisit it to confirm that it really was huge, and not just the impression of a small child. We saw all Disney’s films, we covered all Jerry Lewis’, and from time to time, we watch some of our mother’s beloved performers. Of course, only movies that were proper for kids our age, such as Doris Day’s movies. But incredibly the movie that capture me entirely was King Kong. Since that day, not only did I behave like a good child to go to the theater, but as well to be allowed to watch movies on our B&W TV set. I wasn’t allowed to see all movies or any movie, In fact, I was allowed only to see a couple of those on TV a week. But at some point I misbehaved by getting up in the middle of the night, when they were broadcasting a late night movie and everyone was asleep. I did that for I don’t remember for how long and luckily I never was discovered. Needless to say, although the TV set was in the first floor and our bedrooms in the second one, I kept the sound low and sat as close to the TV as I could. At times I even felt my hair electrified by the tube. Then, how did I know that during my late teens I would find a job that would continue my love for cinematography. I was to watch all sorts of films the entire day and I was expected to make notes during the film, regarding specific scenes, words, moments that could be used by any government office in a sort of infomercial. Those scenes were used to provide some illustrations in training workshops of all sorts. I did a good job to the point that I was given a 16mm sound movie projector so I could watch more movies during the weekends and in the company of others. Amazingly, any movie that existed was available to be watched. At the time, there were so many small movie theaters that relied on 16mm media.
I will say: I much prefer to watch films than movies, according to the Latino Fest. But today many of those Sci-Fi and fantasy movies, perhaps most that do not qualify as films, are my cup of tea. I believe I was fully hooked to them once “Star Wars” came out. Today, I watch as many as I can. Sadly, I can’t most of the time. Well, at least at the theater, unless that movie is one of those that must be watched in the large screen, such as the trilogy of “Lord of the Rings”.
I subscribe to a couple of movie cable channels and Netflix. On every occasion that I can no longer read the stack of books always waiting for me, I turn to my 27″ small screen and delight myself with a film. Most of those I can assure you are films, not movies. But I watch a few movies that for some strange reason are among my very favorite. My brother, who as well is nuts about movies or films as I am asked me to make a list of my 10 favorite films. I found it is literally impossible to fit only 10 into a list. I ended up with no less than 100 titles that made me very unhappy a day or so afterwards because I continuously remembered many others that were not included. Therefore, I do not qualify as being a true movie buff. OK, I need to pause here for a second. Movie buff in my view is an individual who remembers the title of the movie, the year it was made, most of the cast names, directors and their filmography, knows a lot of trivia about each of them and can even recite entire dialogs and lines! Back to my thought, not being a true movie buff, I’ve watched a great number of movies.
Now take a peek at this amazing art. Or are they just illustrations?


One response to “Is a movie the same as a film?

  1. Having just watched “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” I had to laugh when I saw the poster about the computer geeks, and shooting accuracy, as the protagonist of the series, Lisbeth Salander never fixed a printer, but got hit with bullets, and herself missed every shot she fired. So where does the series fit?
    The characters were compelling, and while their exploits bordered on incredulous, the subject matter, violence against women, is a very real issue in modern society, one that touches every one of us in some way, including the 1 in 5 women in the US who will be sexually assaulted at least once in their lives.
    Steig Larsson and the Production Team of the “Millenium” series gave a dramatic face to a brutal reality that women live in, and that people, victims, perpetrators, and bystanders alike, often don’t want to admit exists. And while Lisbeth Salander is perhaps a figure bordering on the fantastic, she embodies what women can aspire to: empowered, responsible agents of their destiny, despite the violence they are subject to.
    For such social merit, something that elevates it above simple “entertainment”, perhaps the “Millenium” series should qualify as a film.

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