2014 Falling in Love Film Festival Report

On January 19, 2012- two years ago yesterday- I met my amazing girlfriend Shiran in person for the first time. We’ve been through a lot together in these two years, and I’m sure we’ll go through a lot more in years yet to come, and one of the biggest factors in our relationship has been movies. From our initial bonding over shared tastes through movies seen together for the first time to movies shared with each other, film has been one of the keys to our terrific time together.

It’s appropriate, then, (especially in the midst of Sundance and Slamdance) that one of her gifts to me for this anniversary was to organize what she termed the “Falling in Love Film Festival.” It’s a collection of movies that correspond to major events in our lives, and as we’ve been watching them over this weekend it’s struck me just how much these movies represent us in various ways, and how many of them also speak to our shared experiences in film. And I felt like it’d be something worth commemorating on this blog (something that Shiran encouraged me to do in the first place). Join me after the jump, as I ramble about my relationship via movies (with some spoilers):

The Artist

The Artist was our first date movie ever, after which we shared our first kiss. Which is kind of disappointing, as neither one of us are huge fans of the movie. Of course there are a few redeeming elements, like the old-school serial opening and the dream sequence where everything makes sound except George (Jean Dujardin), but overall the movie is kind of “meh” at best. However, I could look at the story of a young woman saving an older man from his artistic stubbornness, and them building a bright future together, as something similar to my own relationship. And it’s also a nice reminder that we’re both open-minded enough as film buffs to give any kind of movie a chance, regardless of our own preferences.

Cabin in the WoodsThis modern horror classic finally got it’s theatrical release right around the time my relationship… reached a new level of intimacy, let’s say. Actually, despite the three-month gap it was also the second movie Shiran and I saw after The Artist. In addition to being a ridiculously fun movie that we still enjoy revisiting, and a great reminder of how super-popcorn-y movies like this are a huge part of our cinematic diet, I also think that the structure of the movie reflects how our relationship was developing at the time. Something that starts out just being fun turns into something much deeper and much more exciting the further you explore it. And while my relationship might not have murderous unicorns or Bradley-Whitford-devouring mermen, it has something even better at its core: my soulmate.

UpUp contains what I think is one of the most touching relationships ever put to film, so it’s not too surprising for it to be a part of this festival. It’s very inspiring to us, both as a touchstone for true, everlasting love, and for the idea of love as an adventure to be taken together. Carl and Ellie made it through a lot together, and even though they didn’t get to live out all of their dreams together, they still had a great adventure of a life together. It makes me feel the same way about me and Shiran, that we’re on a terrific adventure that has a whole lot of unexpected turns and moments on the way. And I can’t wait.

FrozenOne of our favorite movies of last year, Frozen was also a great bonding experience for us as we braved the swarms of sneezing, whining children to see it. But most importantly, it came at the end of a few anxiety-inducing months for us, and had a perfect message for us. As best personified in the song “Fixer-Upper”, the movie teaches the idea that no one is perfect- and everyone makes mistakes- but that love is powerful enough to make up for all the difficulties along the way. And while we’d already arrived at that realization ourselves, Frozen so perfectly encapsulated this feeling that it couldn’t help but affect us.

Much Ado About NothingBy the time we saw Much Ado About Nothing Shiran had already become fully indoctrinated into Whedon fandom, but this movie also commemorates a much bigger life event for both of us, as it was the last movie we saw before we moved in together. This movie about the pratfalls and minor tragedies of love also turned out to be somewhat prescient of the aforementioned anxieties that were yet to come. It still to this day serves as a reassurance that regardless of our own insecurities and flaws that we can end up with our soul mates, no matter how uncertain it might seem. A great, funny, and sweet companion piece with Frozen.

Star Wars

Star Wars was a huge missing piece of Shiran’s pop culture background when we met, and I was more than happy to present it to her for the first time (I still think it’s charming as hell that she loves C-3PO more than anything else in the movie). It’s still one of the great dramatizations of the angst of early adulthood and wanting to get where you’re going as fast as possible. It speaks to both of us and our hope that we can get where we’re supposed to be, even if life throws us a few curveballs (or Star Destroyers) along the way. It also shows that reaching the stars is that much easier with help, be it a wizened hermit, bickering droids, a couple of smugglers and your princess sister, or just the love of your life. And it also began a great tradition of each of us sharing a favorite movie with the other, one which we will be returning to soon.

The fact that these are some of the movies that play such a great part of my relationship is just another way of confirming that it’s a relationship that works, and one that I’m excited to have a future with. Shiran and I love each other very much, and love these movies almost as much. Here’s to many more years of great times and great movies.

Oh, and happy anniversary sweetheart!

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5 Comments on “2014 Falling in Love Film Festival Report”

  1. shiran says:

    I’m so happy you liked the festival, despite it being so corny! I’m happy I found my soul mate with you, but almost as happy to have found the best movie going partner. One other thing movies helped us discover: the heavenly combination of buncha crunch & sour patch kids as our signature movie snack.

    (I love you)

    • brendanfh says:

      It wasn’t corny at all, it was very sweet! And yeah the candy combo was a great discovery!

      (I love you too!)

      (Sorry for the delayed response!)

      (And all the exclamation points!)

  2. Nanc says:

    Wow, we’ll stated and Happy Anniversary you two!

  3. […] Aside from Salvatore’s relationship with Alfredo, the recurring beats around the young couple as they go from courtship through to having a family, as well as the various little glimpses of life in this town as it intersects with the Paradiso, give the movie a great deal of life and emotional investment, and shows the connection between film and filmgoer. But amongst all of this cinematic life, perhaps the two most heartbreaking moments for me were seeing the blind Alfredo for the first time (knowing that he’d never get to see his beloved movies again, much less Salvatore’s), and the reveal of the gutted and condemned Paradiso during Alfredo’s funeral. But it is only through those heartbreaking losses that you can appreciate what movies gave these people while they had them, and makes the final keepsake from Alfredo to Salvatore all the more touching. To me, the ending speaks to the endurance of film, not through the theater or through seeing it alone, but from memory and emotion, and from the bonds that are forged through it, which is something that I identify with greatly. […]


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