Apr 24th, 2020, 07:42 AM

Coronadiaries: How I Became A Film Critic

By Paulina Trigos
À bout de shuffle by Jean-Luc Godard / Image Credit: Paulina Trigos
It all started with a Tik Tok...and the rest was history.

It appears that everybody’s preferred app to spend their time during quarantine is Tik Tok and I am not an exception. As I was scrolling through my ‘For You Page’, which is rather like the homepage of the app, I noticed that there was a trend about movie recommendations given by film buffs. Although the recommendations mostly included cult classics and A24-distributed films, I was more than intrigued at the possibility of learning about a neglected hobby of mine. Suddenly, a light bulb appeared above my head.

As someone who is truly passionate about film and the industry, I realized I actually don't know much about it. I haven't watched all the important and hyped up movies that any film student should watch and I felt ashamed. I had watched the most recent films but, what about the beginnings of film? Granted, I am not a film major but as someone who is interested and loves cinema as I do, I thought it was important that I should know the films that are being referenced; that I can sustain an intellectual conversation and become a true citizen of the artistic world. Film has always been an essential part of my life; I have been unusually drawn to it ever since I saw Cinema Paradiso by Giuseppe Tornatore and understood the power and meaning of film; of life. 

I quickly grabbed my journal and started writing down the films that people were reviewing and recommending just so that I could expand my film knowledge and use this ample amount of time for something useful. Before Sunrise by Linklater, A Ghost Story by David Lowery, À Bout de Souffle by Godard, The Dreamers by Bertolucci were just some of the films I jotted down and watched. My hand moved so fast and I quickly filled up seven pages of movie titles and directors I yearned to know more about. I suddenly felt more accomplished and even knowledgeable; I had wanted to delve into the world of cinema since so long, and I was finally doing it. 

The beginnings of my quarantine movie list / Image Credit: Paulina Trigos

As credits rolled down and movies were crossed off, the list just got longer and my desire to know more was insatiable. I continued watching films, both recommended by Tik Tok and out of my own volition. Before I knew it, I had developed a great fascination for the classics, for the experimental and the foreign. I was no longer interested in the modern works. I wanted to find the root of it all. I wished to learn about techniques, about camerawork, about what inspired modern cinematographers to pursue a career in film and to dig deep into my infatuation with cinema. 

Hitchcock, Welles, Kurosawa, and Bergman were added; Varda, Fellini, and Tarkovsky as well. Surrealist short films amazed me, interviews with certain directors intrigued me and suddenly David Lynch's Masterclass was all I could think of. 

After years of being in the dark I felt like an invisible camera was beginning to focus on me, interested in what I had to say. And so, a second light bulb appeared. I began writing my thoughts on the films I was watching, in a way becoming a kind of film critic. I found that this was the necessary push I needed in order to, not only know more about the cinematic world, but to start a journaling routine where I could express myself. I began my own personal blog where I documented my learning progress in hopes that it can be of service in a future, that it can serve as inspiration and as a mere recollection of my days in confinement. 

These following weeks in confinement have been horribly hard on my level of productivity and finding this distraction from the realities of life was everything and more. Needless to say, quarantine definitely has its obstacles but with it, inspiration and motivation have resurfaced. Time is no longer my enemy; the world is my oyster and I am eager to keep learning.