Monday, September 10, 2012

The Magic of Re-Watching

Re-watching is much like growing up. 
When you're a child, everything is bare emotion - hatred and passion, coldness and warmth. But as you grow up, your emotions start to become more refined and varied; you sense the layers of things and you're able to understand the relations between them.

Did you know that one of my favourite films as a child was Barbie in Swan Lake? Anyhow, it's a pinkish film with a pinkish story. As a child, I loved this film, and the reason was "Well, because it's awesome!". Now to a confession; I still like this film, and I still own the DVD. But the reason I like it, is because I adore indulging in the thoroughly kitschy and pink story along with some of the greatest classical music I know. I see myself, the child, watching the film - and I see myself, the teenager, watching the film. I'm somewhere in between, and I enjoy this.

A different and more recent example, is that of Sean Penn's extraordinary drama Into the Wild, which I borrowed from the library last winter. I watched the film one lazy Sunday afternoon with my mother, and we were both awe-struck by the drowsiness and enlightenment the film caused us to feel. Into the Wild is currently on rank 20 of my favourite films list, and I know that this is just the right place for it; nevertheless, I was utterly surprised by its greatness when we watched it in class the other week.
The feeling of greatness was always in my mind when I thought of Into the Wild, but there was no way for me to pinpoint the exact reasons for this. And now that I could see the reasons, I just couldn't believe that I had been so right about the movie - because normally, most movies turn out to be not as great as I thought when I re-watch them.

Having said that, the best and most favourite movies I know are the ones that have held up for many, many re-watches. Especially the ones I watched before I was old enough to have a real side job, the time when I didn't know how to get movies for free (I'm talking about the library) and when the price of a DVD was that of three months' pocket money. We re-watched a lot back then. And that's for example why I like movies as Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, or Mohabbatein. My re-watching wasn't the same as it is now, and the more I watched these movies, the better they became. They couldn't get worse, because I didn't even know they could. 

Of course, there are also always those movies that don't change status after re-watching. Take Adam's Apples. It's a very fun dark comedy that just doesn't get better than "good". It's not great. It's cool and something else (in comparison to American comedies), but just good. And I can live with that.
Then, there are also the movies that change just slightly after re-watching, as Happythankyoumoreplease. I don't know if I want to call it "great" but it's one of my favourite films, and remains one of my favourite films. Only, when I re-watched it a week ago, I saw several sides of it, or several points-of-view of looking at it. There was the common point-of-view: fun but nothing more, a sweet idea but not daring enough. The haters point-of-view: hipster, doesn't tell us anything. And there was my point-of-view: a beautiful collection of snapshots that add up to an enchanting and thought-provoking collage. Furthermore, a film that reminds me to be happy and thankful sometimes. Examining the other points-of-view helped my realize how confident I felt with my own, which I hadn't been so sure of after reading a couple of not-so-enthusiastic reviews.

What one must remember concerning re-watching, however, is that no matter how insightful and revealing re-watching may be, it's also a question of the right dose. In this case, we can compare it to Coca Cola. I don't like drinking that sweet sugary stuff too often, but at the right moment, when my body is screaming for it, it's like an explosion of happiness that flows down my throat.
The magic of re-watching may not be overexcited, for then it will not work.

... And you wouldn't have time to watch new films that will put your re-watchings into context.


  1. I love watching some movies over and over and over again. It just feels amazing. I tend to re-watch the entertaining movies more than the serious ones. I'll be probably doing a similar post soon but as my DVD Wishlist because most of the movies I own are ones I watch more than once.

    1. Mine too, it's stupid to buy DVDs you won't ever watch. Most of mine are more "entertaining" too.
      I'll be looking forward to your post.

  2. Delightful post, I can really relate to it!

    There are some films I rewatch a lot. It happens mostly when I'm flipping through channels and they're on TV. Happened just last night with a midnight session of Atonement, and this morning with There Will Be Blood (not the kind of film you'd think to watch at breakfast, but it's actually the second time this happens!). I appreciate them more and more with each watch because I'm always finding a new side of them or new details that I haven't noticed before. But others, like you said, just stay the same - they're entertaining, and that's about it. Like Christmas movies, haha.

    Into the Wild is one that I must rewatch soon! All I got is a vague memory of it, but a good one. Again, really nice post, Mette. :)

    1. Thanks a lot, Sofia.

      I used to watch every Bollywood film on TV, no matter if I had the DVD - just wanted to support the films. But nowadays I don't watch much TV, mostly because of the commercial breaks.
      However, I can relate to your re-watching being more or less impulsive or spontaneous. When I want to re-watch a film it's just like "So, what am I going to watch today... ah, that one would be great!".

      Do re-watch Into the Wild soon, I hope you enjoy it.

  3. Fantastic post!

    Loved the points about you watching a movie where it brought back memories from the time of your life when you saw it too - I think a lot of entertaintment that comes from the film can come from the fact that we were in certain mood, state, moment in our life that was great/memorable for us.

    I love rewatching movies and often times I choose to rewatch one of my favorites than seeing something new - that way I won't be disappointed with the film I'm seeing :)

    1. That's a good point too! It's much more comfortable to re-watch a movie you like, I guess that's why many people do it all the time instead of watching something new. My sister, for example.

      I'm very happy you liked my post, thanks for your lovely comment!

  4. Lately I have trouble finding even the time to watch anything at all, but because of your inspirational post I'm going to pull out an old favorite tonight and watch it with a bottle of coke.

    1. Oh, that's great!
      I don't have that much time to watch films either, for example today I have a driving class at 9pm. But if only I keep my average of one movie a day, I'm happy.

  5. Re-watching favorite movies is good. Last time I did was watching Never Let Me Go, and I still loved it. I want to do more re-watch some great movies but just never did it. Always lose to some new movie I need/want to see. But there's a comfort in re-watching, knowing that you at least know that you'll love it.
    Great post!

    1. Thank you, Andina.
      I also re-watched Never Let Me Go this summer and was happy to like it just as much as the first time.


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