1 November 2003 | stedrazed
A brilliant collection of lovably strange people.
CINEMANIA is a film for its subject matter: film geeks. I absolutely loved it, which tells you a little about me. This is a great film for anyone who's ever hopped a cab, bus or subway train in a mad frenzy to get from one movie to the next, for everyone who's ever made a list of all the films they've seen in a year just out of morbid curiosity as to how wisely they've spent their time, for anyone who's ever sacrificed a social event to see a movie alone. Yes, I've done all these things and more, but despite my identification with the weirdos that are the subject matter of CINEMANIA, even I was amazed at the absolute compulsion many of them have for cinema. One man is said to choose a carefully orchestrated "constipating diet" in order to avoid the inconvenience of missing the beginning of a film due to the necessity of bodily function; another places a personal ad in which he writes almost exclusively about film; the only woman among them, Roberta, has been known to physically fight ticket sellers at theatres that inconvenience her goal to save the ticket from every movie to which she's ever been. The astounding thing is how proud the cinemaniacs seem of their obsession and the utter lack of anything else in their lives. One film buff proclaims himself a "writer and philosopher", yet we never hear about him writing anything other than the aforementioned personal ad. Another has an extensive collection of movie soundtracks on vinyl, carefully arranged by composer, but doesn't own a record player. But this is not a mean-spirited, satirical film out to expose or poke fun at the "losers" and their passion for passive entertainment. As I have said, it is a film for those who identify with these so-called "losers", hopefully to a somewhat saner degree. Perhaps the most touching and important moment in the film is a scene in which one film buff (proponent of the constipating diet) discusses the escapist quality of film. "In a movie", he says (I'm paraphrasing) "you can just walk out of the restaurant and blend into the crowd, then walk across the street as if moving on into your new life, but in real life, you know, you have to go home; you can't put real life in a frame and make it art." But sometimes real life is art, sometimes it's better without the frame, and I'm happy to know that the tragic, comic and wonderful "characters" of this film are really out there, still passionate about this great art form, even to the point of insanity. Right on, brothers (and sister)!