The other night I went to a pre-screening of the movie Te Ata. While waiting for it to start, I got to thinking: why am I here when I could be home exercising, cleaning, or typing up more release forms, etc? If it’s just for entertainment I could turn on the TV at home while doing something productive. So why is it important to go out and watch movies sometimes?
This made me think of a student I spoke with once while attending film school. What stood out was that he had, at some point, decided that he wouldn’t watch any more movies to avoid any outside influence. His films were to be 100% original. Now, if you think about it that wouldn’t really work but the more surprising thing (to me) was to find an aspiring filmmaker who would take that position.
Apart from the importance of having rolmodels in the career you hope to enter into, it just makes more sense to observe. For many filmmakers, it’s important to watch other movies to learn from them. See what works and what doesn’t. Gain the ability to discuss and analyze it with others and learn about new techniques/equipment. Also, its a good idea to watch recent works from a director you will soon be working under to get an idea of what to possibly expect… If nothing else, it is important to show support for fellow filmmakers.
Now back to the Te Ata viewing (don’t worry, no spoilers). The movie was excellent. On a technical level, I enjoyed the soft lighting and large quantity of shots and cuts. It never stayed on any particular shot more than a few second so it kept things (visually) progressing but it didn’t feel rushed. As for the story, being about Mary Fisher (AKA Te Ata), it was quite interesting. The movie portrayal made her very relatable and the story was touching. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll end with a sense of satisfaction…