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Make the most of what Boston cinema offers

by Tim Strain / Film Columnist • April 19, 2012

There are two weeks left, people.

For my final Beacon column, the only thing I can think to write about is how little time I have left at Emerson, and how I’m spending that time. These two weeks will probably end up being the busiest of my life to this point. I’m scratching and clawing to move forward in every facet of my life. With this column, I’d like to look back. 

With that being said, what has it all meant?

I’m a film student who works at a movie theater and writes a film column for a newspaper. I have the privilege of seeing movies for free and relish being able to work at what I love, but the labor has taken a toll: I haven’t been to the movies in 46 days. That’s eternity in my book.

At the outset of those 46 days, I saw this as a problem. I’m not able to escape to the movies because I’ve been putting off the stuff I need to do and now there’s no time left to do anything else, I thought.

Most of the things I fret about while walking down the block on Boylston Street aren’t problems, I’ve come to realize. They’re inconveniences that arise from the opportunities I’ve been blessed with.

Everybody has the chance to watch movies; my whiny ass has lucked out and gotten the chance to learn how to make them. Because of this, I can’t stay bummed for too long.

What I lament more, though, is the opportunities offered by the local theater circuit that I’ve been passing up. There are twinges of regret for not taking advantage of nearly enough of the chances given. I might not be living in Boston, or any other city with such an wealth of cinematic options, for much longer.

The Brattle caters the sleaziest fringe offerings around, as well as some of the richest retrospectives; last month I missed Welles, Hitchcock, and Wilder. The Somerville Theatre is unquestionably the classiest place to swim down the mainstream, and I may even miss the cavernous AMC Loews on the Common.

ArtsEmerson’s film program, which gets less publicity than its theater lineup and is only two years old, is rivaled in its commitment to offering globe-spanning foreign cinema only by the Museum of Fine Arts. Even if the work is sometimes too “out there” for me, it’s always been a pleasure to kick back with the handful of other aficionados in attendance.

While everyone seems to have been talking about The Hunger Games, John Carter, 21 Jump Street, and the like, I can only wait until The Avengers kicks off my summer. In the meantime, I’m going to miss my second Independent Film Festival of Boston in three years because it coincides with the last seven days of classes. While must-sees like Andrea Arnold’s revisionist take on Wuthering Heights make their Boston premiere, I will be locked away in the deep recesses of Ansin’s editing labs.

I want to tell everyone who aspires to create movies to make the most of these opportunities. Find a way to fit screenings with director and screenwriters appearances into your schedule. I know you’re busy —I’ve been there, and I’m there now. I’ve learned more about the medium from listening to and speaking with professionals than I have from all the time I’ve spent reading theorists like Marshall McLuhan and Ackbar Abbas.

To anybody who has more time than me, enjoy it! As the days grow warmer, the end of this part of your life draws nearer. Seek out the stuff you don’t know much about and leave the Netflix Instant for another day.