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Every movie, everywhere, all at once

April 26, 2024

Kaya Patel

“You will be bored of him in two years, and we will be interesting forever.” Jo March pleads with her sister Meg to stay in “Little Women,” Greta Gerwig’s 2019 take on the classic novel, which remains near the forefront of my conceptions of the life of a writer. It’s a portrait of the artist as a young woman. I am now at the point where I count my goodbyes. We depart onto our own pursuits, whether they be our dreams, our responsibilities or both. Jo desperately wants to avoid the slow and inevitable dissolution of the family unit as she understands it and keep Meg from marrying. But in her desperation, her selfishness emerges—and Jo knows it. Meg should do what Meg wants to do: “Just because my dreams are different than yours doesn’t mean they’re unimportant.” Jo is asking for too much.

I hate to let go of people. Why can’t I just keep you forever in my pocket, close and warm? I want to be able to hear your voice and look at your brilliant face and your smile and see the shaky vividness of your eyes. But our four-year-long institutional playdate is over, and we have to leave and find our new homes in our new cities and make new friends. It’s a marvelous thing to have friends whose dreams are drastically different from my own, but why wasn’t I warned it suddenly becomes difficult at this point?

As of the writing of this column, the 24th of April, 2024, I have a day and a month until graduation. The state of my life is dropping from plane of existence to plane of existence. Wrapping all the loose ends together. Burning the candle at both ends. Sometimes the feeling is that of Evelyn, in “Everywhere, Everything, All at Once,” swapping into different dimensional variants of yourself. The predominant question of the moment is, “what if?” The position of retrospection is perfect for one to wallow in their regret. Other times it’s more like “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” Joel having the world fall around him, to make absolutely no sense, but to keep on moving forward. Everything becomes fragile at moments. What will fall away? How do I talk to the people inside my head, who are screwing everything up? All is in a kind of upheaval.

There has been little time to watch movies. Movies are time. Although I am anxious to face the new world ahead, I do look forward to being able to watch more. I began falling in love with film during peak-Covid, in quarantine waiting for the end of Zoom high school. Movies have been the way to unwind, to check out for a couple of hours and be somewhere else. To tell me a story.

Take me to the overwhelming romance of Vienna in “Before Sunrise.” Show me a stick figure wearing a hat lose his mind in “It’s Such a Beautiful Day.” Let “Andrei Rublev” relay to me how to be an artist in a cruel and warring world. Whisk me away and drop me into a “Castle in the Sky.” Have “Diary of a Country Priest” share in my misery and help cure me from it.

I don’t perceive life as a movie. It’s all much too complicated. But in sitting down and watching something, I take myself and my world to it. Although they may be viewed as separate, the cinema and the real world constantly spill over onto one another. They ripple over, sometimes gently, sometimes with great force. Films call back to your past, they solidify your present and they presuppose the future. The road taken, the road ahead, the road behind and the road not taken. Every step, every frame, fast forward, rewind. Today, tomorrow, always. Eternity and a day. I carry them and will continue to carry them as they’ve carried me down this road so far.

Thank you for reading “Editing Life and Film.”


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