Film Feels


It hit me 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, the emotional aftershock.

I am not one to cry in movies that often. I mean, I did cry watching Piglet’s Big Movie, but nothing is as subtly, horribly sad as when the Hundred Acre Wood gang has lost Piglet and a crying Roo draws Piglet’s face in the fogged up window to have rain drip down it like tears. But, I don’t really remember the last time I outright cried in a movie when something happened.

Honestly, I haven’t outright cried at the moment of anything happening in awhile. I have this weird disposition where I don’t actually feel the full force of sad feelings surrounding a situation until hours, days, sometimes even weeks later. Sadness is an emotion that most avoid, but I handle it worse than if I were to be just happy or just angry.

So, what happened at 1:30 Wednesday morning? I started bawling. I sat in my desk chair and cried for about an hour. Why? I finally was getting my emotional aftershock of seeing Private Violence at the True/False Film Fest, Columbia’s very own amazing documentary film festival.

The Private Violence screening at Jesse Auditorium on Sunday, March 2 ushered in around 1,700.

The Private Violence screening at Jesse Auditorium on Sunday, March 2 ushered in around 1,700.

During the film fest I had the opportunity to see four films. I saw Jodorowsky’s Dune, which covered the journey of Alejandro Jodorowsky in trying to create the movie version of the book titled Dune, Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart, which detailed the first ever televised murder trial and the effect of media,  Ukraine is Not a Brothel, which gave the inside scoop on Ukraine’s controversial, topless feminist protest group, and Private Violence.

My friend, and RagTag Intern/True/False Core Staffer by default, Ian, as well as my friend Cassa told me about them crying in Private Violence. It covers the incredibly hush-hush topics of domestic violence and abusive relationships, issues I hold very close to my heart.  The movie had some really gruesome images and some horrifying first person accounts, as well as many stories of women that had died due to abusive relationships.

Now, I did tear up a bit, but I got nowhere near the level of bawling or even tears running down my face, that is, until three days later.

Movies are weird that way. They stick with you. They permeate your brain and will flick switches of your memory on an off every once in awhile, reminding you of things in your own life that you may not always want to remember, or of things in the social and historical memory of our nation and world that we don’t always want to remember.

Yet, we still love them. We crave the ability to feel things that we hide on a daily basis through the artistry of film, whether it be fictional or documentary. We celebrate their ability to create new worlds of emotion for us through impeccable music, set, costume, screenplay, actor and actress choices in the form of the Oscars.

The winner for Best Picture, 12 Years a Slave, did just that in adapting the story of Solomon Northup’s kidnapping from his freedom in New York into slavery in Louisiana. My ResLife staff and I saw it this past Wednesday evening, the same Wednesday that I was finally emotionally compromised by Private Violence, as our required staff meeting. Just like Private Violence, it was horribly beautiful in how it was made in such painstaking detail to inject the emotion of each and every character and of the time period and issue directly into your veins. Once again, I did not outright cry. There was a little bit of water being held back my the dam of my lower eyelids that subsided after 20 minutes at the most, but that was it.

Are these movies failing me? Do I not have a soul or emotions?

Oh no, these movies are doing exactly what they want to do, exactly what makes them Best Picture quality. They throw me into a sea of emotions that shocks my system into not feeling them for the time being, the way I deal with real trauma in my life.

When it comes down to it, these films are giving me “feels”, feels I may not think I am ready for. But, if I wasn’t ready for it, would I really subject myself to seeing it? No, the films know what they are doing, presenting feels in the most real way, knowing that is the only way to get to me, no matter how harsh they can be.

I’ll take it, whenever it hits me.