Thursday, 14 February 2013

February 14th: A day to remember

Hello, my pals and gals and welcome to the best day of the year!

Exactly one year ago, at 11 p.m., I sat down in front of my TV screen and watched Casablanca for the very first time. It was my first movie pre-1960, it was my first black and white movie, and it was the beginning of a wonderful journey I inadvertently embarked in. And to be quite honest, I still don't know what hit me.

It was a wonderful year. All things considered, it was the best of my life. I made so many new friends, I discovered so much about myself, I had the inspiration I needed to do more and I changed my routine to the point that it's unrecognizable. 

I think anything that starts being this big a part of your life inevitably teaches you lots of things. The effect is even greater if you think about what you saw and apply it to your own life, which is something I've always made a point of doing. I've learned priceless lessons from these films, these stars and these stories and I decided to celebrate this wonderful occasion by writing a list.

The Most Marvelous, Surprising, Valuable, Interesting and Exciting Things I Learned From Classic Film:
A list by Marcela

1. Appreciate what you have (It's A Wonderful Life, 1946): With this Frank Capra masterpiece, I was confronted with the idea of the world without me. We are not necessarily always conscious of the effect we have in other people's lives and we are not always appreciative of the gifts life has given us. In watching "It's A Wonderful Life", I learned that one must appreciate and cherish even the little parts of our lives we've deemed irrelevant or taken for granted, because we'll never know what tomorrow may bring and we can never imagine what we'd be without them.

2. I was born in the right decade (Inherit the Wind, 1960): I always had the idea that I was born in the wrong decade, because of my lifelong preference for the aesthetics of the past. But after I watched Inherit The Wind I got the final assurance that my place is in 2013. I have no question that the movies, music, fashion, etc, of the past are still, in my view, superior to those of today; although the ideals, politics, philosophies of the present show an evolution that I quite appreciate.

3. A little laughter goes a long way (I Love Lucy, 1951-1957): I Love Lucy is the funniest show in the history of television and I have underestimated the value of gratuitous, instant laughter before. The guy who said "laughter is the best medicine" definitely had it right. Sometimes it's not worth it to push yourself to work harder when things aren't going well - sometimes it's better to give yourself a laugh break. Lucy is just the little gal who can do it.

4. The art of misjudgment (Bette Davis, 1908-1989): When I first saw Bette Davis and when I first learned about her life I immediately judged her incorrectly. I thought of her as an emotionless robot, who couldn't possibly experience the feelings most people experience. But as I got further into her personality, I realized she was a woman with a past of struggle, a woman who could give and receive love and who cared about the people in her life in a way that I was too limited to understand. Her struggle with her daughter is a touching and moving tale. She was strong, but ultimately, the loss of love was her downfall.

5. Relationships are two-way streets (Adam's Rib, 1949): I used to think that when I went into a relationship I would have to make all kinds of concessions, give up everything I cherished the most for the sake of my relationship, because this is just what men require of us and that made be reluctant to engage in a romantic relationship. After I saw Adam's Rib, I was presented with the type of relationship I want for the future. A man who can match me par by par. A man who will challenge me in the same way that I will challenge him. A man who will not be superior, or inferior, but equal in every sense of the word. And, plus, don't tell me they weren't a lot of fun.

6. Real altruism expects nothing (Mrs. Miniver, 1942): My favorite scene of Mrs. Miniver is when the German soldier enters her house and asks for food and something to drink. Not only is it a powerful portrait of wartime conditions, but it is also a testament to Mrs. Miniver's character. She, despite being behind the barrel of a gun, does her best to help the solder who is clearly in a much poorer shape than what a human being should have to endure. Mrs. Miniver is, in itself, a movie about altruism and war, and how even in those circumstances, real altruism expects nothing in return.

7.  The road most traveled is not necessarily right for me (Greta Garbo, 1905-1990): I've never been one to take the road most traveled, to live the lifestyle most people are living. And, with that, I can relate to Greta Garbo. She left her fiancé at the altar, when realizing her mistake that the "normal" course of a woman's life was not the one she identified with. So, she was then filled with courage to pursue the lifestyle that would truly make her happy despite the judgement from the public eye.

8.Work for the life you want, not for the life you have (Woman of the Year, 1942): I can put the lesson I learned from this movie in a simple sentence: I am not a world-renowned professional. I am not anything spectacular. But, I need to work and focus as much as if I were such things. Because then, this will be the only way such goals can be achieved. I can't work for the life I have, I need to work for the life I want.

9. Trust myself (Katharine Hepburn, 1907-2003): Inspiration is the most powerful force in the world. You can never understand what it feels to be inspired to change your life by someone until you actually feel it in your bones. When I most needed inspiration, as if out of magic, she was there. She gave me the ideal, the motivation, the determination; she showed me the possibility that everything I want can be real if I just trust myself, trust my judgement, trust my fitness to be in this world as the person I wanna be. I'll never forget her.

10. "We'll Always Have Movies" (Classic Cinema in General): We all have bad days. We all have fights, bad grades, busy periods, and we all need something to cling to. All I need to do is remember that movies are there. Movies are always gonna be there. Whenever I have a bad day, I can remember movies are there, and I will never be alone as long as they're there. The thought alone makes me feel better.

So long,


  1. First, I wish to you many more years of good movies!
    Second, classics also taught me a lot of stuff, and I think it was the same with every classic film fan: everybody finds a different inspiration in films.

  2. Great post Marcela, this is exactly why classic movies aren't just old movies, they are still relevant and have more to teach us even today.