I’m a pretty extreme individualist, so I don’t get upset about “bad” movies. To me, each film is a separate reality, and it’s not my place to interfere with its unfolding. When I say I loved a film, what I truly mean is that I lived it. This has nothing to do with how critics or the audience perceive its quality. Every film is a unique entity that deserves our respect, taking into consideration its background, purpose, and the experience it offers us as viewers.
Films are real yet fantastical, born from the depths of creators’ minds, brought to life by the available means of the moment. They mirror life itself. Not all of us have the resources or talents to create masterpieces that impress others or even ourselves. But since we have crafted our own existence, our creations hold value and should be respected as much as the achievements of others.
One of my earliest childhood memories is seeing the poster for the 1961 French live-action film, “Tintin et le mystère de la Toison d’Or” (a remarkable movie, by the way, although the sequel is less impressive, as it abandons the comic book style and becomes more generic and less ambitious). I vividly recall my upset when my father pointed out that it wasn’t real, just a movie, and that it didn’t prove Tintin’s existence in our reality. Well, how wrong he was. Tintin exists not only through that film but also through the graphic novels and subsequent animated productions. Over time, I’ve changed my perspective. Films are reality — just a different form of it.
Seeing life through this lens is freedom for me. It opens up endless possibilities, keeping me on the edge in a positive and constructive way. Later on, I discovered magic and learned to perceive my surroundings differently. Cinema undoubtedly plays a significant role in this reality-altering experience. And yet, they are just movies. Like I can’t shoulder the burdens of the world, I can’t bear the weight of storytelling either. Judging and feeling pity are not my business. Things are what they are, and that’s incredibly powerful. A film can evolve and mature over time — sometimes in a matter of days, or even hours. I may watch one and feel less impressed, but if it holds something valuable that resonates with me, it merges with my own thoughts and suddenly becomes significant. Or at the very least, highly entertaining.
My main qualm with the fanboy community lies in their tendency to try and change others’ opinions. They assume everyone shares their perspective, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, there will always be those who blindly follow, be it in politics, sexuality, or other highly individualistic realms. But they are the ones trapped, unable to move beyond the boundaries set by others. It’s their responsibility, not mine.
When I start a movie, it serves me in several ways:
- As a mood-setter: I’ve seen it before, and I know it will inspire me, ignite my imagination, fill me with joy or introspection. Sometimes, it simply keeps my mind occupied while I engage in other tasks, like good music playing softly in the background.
- To alter my behavior: This goes hand in hand with self-reflection but has a more tangible, creative impact. After watching a particular film, I might feel compelled to venture into nature, connect with people, or immerse myself in writing — like I’m doing now. It gives me a powerful boost.
- To disconnect from reality: I revel in the act of reshaping my own reality, and films provide the easiest and most effective means to transform my perception of the world around me. It’s like a psychedelic experience without the intoxication.
Some people achieve this through music and books (as I do too), but films reign supreme. They stimulate my senses — visual, intellectual, and auditory — like a finely tuned program that I can activate or deactivate at will. It’s an all-encompassing experience. Occasionally, I yearn for something deeper, more profound. This could be anything from Steven Soderbergh’s adaptation of Solaris and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker to lighter fare like Alex Proyas’ Knowing and the Wachowski sisters’ Jupiter Ascending. One film that never fails to ignite my imagination is Ridley Scott’s Prometheus — and to be honest, its follow-up, Alien: Covenant (it gets better and better). Coherence, Computer Chess, The Endless, and Resolution are among the films that profoundly touch me. But I could go on, listing hundreds, even thousands of films that span the entire spectrum of what’s considered quality. Over the years, I’ve written extensively about Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut — a film that has transformed me with its multiple layers of realities, messages, and radical imagination.
I both love and don’t love movies. They simply exist, an integral part of me and the life I live. At the same time, they matter and don’t matter. I navigate constantly between these realms — below, above, and straight through them. It may be an unconventional stance, but that dash of healthy madness adds to the richness of the experience.
Now, how do you watch films?
Fred Andersson is a Swedish story producer, researcher and writer with over twenty years of experience in commercial television and the author of four books. He lives in Märsta, outside Stockholm, with his photographer husband Grzegorz and two overly active cats. Join him on Twitter and Instagram.
Fred Andersson is a Swedish story producer, researcher and writer with over twenty years of experience in commercial television and the author of three books. He lives in Märsta, outside Stockholm, with his photographer husband Grzegorz and two overly active cats.