Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Film Lover in a Hick Town

Practically all my life, except for a few years when I lived in Denver, I have been living in hick towns. Towns like Albany, Georgia and Columbia, South Carolina. Des Moines, Iowa and currently in Anchorage, Alaska. For a film-lover, this has meant that my personal history of mentionable filmgoing experiences has been extremely limited. Even in college towns like Columbia and Des Moines, the pickings were always slim. Knowing what was worth seeing, and never having an opportunity to see it, was a presiding frustration. There was always chance - that impartial arbiter of life - to blunder into, as I did in 1971 when one of the nuns at Saint Peter's Parochial School screened a 16mm print of Federico Fellini's La Strada. She found some overt Christian message in the film, along with whatever else, and convinced her fellow nuns that it was worthy of foisting onto an unsuspecting PTA meeting. That film changed everything I knew about movies and eventually made it impossible for me to watch one for nothing but its entertainment value. Hollywood, as I knew it, was doomed.

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