Old movies, new eyes

There’s a certain attraction in movies from the old that reel me in. By old movies I mean not silent, Charlie-Chaplin fares. By old movies I mean either those I watched before I even had the capacity to fully appreciate the themes, understand the lines, or internalize the message, or those classics begging to be discovered for the first time.

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Tootsie (1982).While flipping through cable channels, I once saw some parts of this movie, with Dustin Hoffman in his Dorothy look. Then I knew I just had to watch this movie again. What I remember most about it is how much I love its theme song sung by Stephen Bishop. A part of it goes:

Looking back as lovers go walking pass…| All of my life | Wondering how they met and what makes it last | If I found the place | Would I recognize the face? | Something’s telling me it might be you | Yeah it’s telling me it might be you

Dustin was brilliant in this gender-bending movie. Of all the actors I’ve seen play a female role on the big screen (and I’ve seen more than a few), he is, by far,  the most effective among them. Tootsie is a fun, echanting comedy film that features excellent thespians and a tight script, making this lighthearted movie heavy on impact.

Verdict: I enjoyed this movie more the second time I watched it.

Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (1988). I watched this Italian film after it was recommended by ADCPP, a movie buff whose taste is a notch higher than mine. The greatest challenge about this movie? Getting a copy with English subtitles. In desperation, I had to watch the movie, in 14 parts(!), thanks to Youtube. It’s the story of Salvatore, a small town boy who grew up to become an accomplished film director whose passion for films  started in his early childhood. It’s also a story about how a common passion—the love for cinema—can tear down the boundaries of age and experience for Salvatore and Alfredo’s’ friendship to bloom . It’s a bittersweet movie, sprinkled with funny scenes, memorable lines, and punctuated by black-and-white clips showing old(er) movies.

Alfredo: Living here day by day, you think it’s the center of the world. You believe nothing will ever change. Then you leave: a year, two years. When you come back, everything’s changed. The thread’s broken. What you came to find isn’t there. What was yours is gone. You have to go away for a long time… many years… before you can come back and find your people. The land where you were born. But now, no. It’s not possible. Right now you’re blinder than I am.

Salvatore: Who said that? Gary Cooper? James Stewart? Henry Fonda? Eh?

Alfredo: No, Toto. Nobody said it. This time it’s all me. Life isn’t like in the movies. Life… is much harder.

Verdict: I enjoyed this movie. Period. 🙂 [Will be watching the director’s cut soon. Thanks to KH for lending me her copy!]

The Promise (1979). Currently downloading while I’m writing this post is this sappy movie based on a Danielle Steele novel. I am absolutely sure I watched this as a rerun on TV because I was too young to go to the movies when it was shown! Just like Tootsie, one of the things that I remember about this film is its hauntingly beautiful theme song.

Say goodbye when I can barely say goodnight |  if I can hardly take my eyes from yours, how far can I go? | Walk away | the thought would never cross my mind | I couldn’t turn my back on Spring or Fall | Your smile least of all | When I say always I mean forever | I trust tomorrow as much as today. . .

A necklace, a car accident, a promise, and two lovers who drifted apart only to find themselves again, years later, with one of them unaware of the other’s true identity. I am looking forward to watching this movie (again) on this cold, rainy day.

Verdict: I enjoyed this movie less the second time I watched it..

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Movies, in a way, are like books. Books, even if you’ve read them before, can still teach you something new in your re-reading. Old movies, seen with new eyes, can still be as fresh and exciting as when they were first projected on screen. The images might be grainy but something about these stories and how they are told can make them appear sharp and vivid—at least in your heart.

6 Responses to “Old movies, new eyes”
  1. carlotta says:

    interesting, i never thought that all of my life (tama ba ang title?) could be a movie theme song. i’ve always thought of it as a wednesday/saturday/sunday song hehehe. i do love the melody tho, especially i’ll never say goodbye (which i only learned what the title is just now wahahaha!)

  2. Abaniko says:

    So you’re waxing Totoic this time, huh? Correction on Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, it’s AJPDCPP. Hehe.

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