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“Surrealism is embedded in the everyday, in the daily experience” — Katharine Conley
It seems fitting for me to transform every moment or thought into a film screened inside my head. Cinema is my life, and guides me beyond my life. I rise from reality and I’m cast into a limitless world of my own creation. Here I am the humble king, the anxious father, or the tortured slave, the only conscious inhabitant of an otherworldly domain. Rocks don’t fall back to Earth, and instead morph into winged beavers as men in suits walk past me backwards. I leap across Norwegian fjords and land on a vibrant golden beach, but suddenly the sky cries: “Vikram, your lunch is getting cold!” Who dares to interrupt me? My canvas is left incomplete as my imagination is broken by my mother. My soul condenses and settles into reality again.
I often recite to my cousins the bittersweet tale of a boy called Vincent, who is depicted in a short film by Tim Burton. Vincent is a seven year-old who imagines himself living in a world of his own creation. In this infinite realm, he reads the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe — finding himself particularly drawn to “The Raven” — and practices scientific feats far ahead of a child’s intellect. Unfortunately, as he matures, he grows out of his thoughts and forgets his beloved world. My disposition feels much like a parallel of Vincent’s. My love of cinema developed because film transported me into a surreal state between the abstract and the real. It became a state of perception where I could reflect on the most intricate ideas and be elevated from the daily notions of maintaining the ideal “eight-pack” figure or tweeting about a Justin Bieber song. Without realizing it, I was soon growing alongside the classics and blockbusters of world cinema. My television became a teacher and the dingy local movie-hall became my classroom. Now, every film I begin to view sets me on a journey of deep research, exploration, and wonder.
The moment the final credits roll, I am provoked to learn what influenced the producer to couple an accurately biographical scene with a completely fabricated one, or to analyze the pioneering camerawork employed. An indirect fruit of my cinematic curiosity is the ability to investigate a subject and dissect it into its core components; I find myself using these very skills to disprove my opposition’s arguments in parliamentary debate. I have morphed from being shy to being able to connect with a variety of different people simply through everyday discussion of films and plays. As I feel the tears well during a third screening of Philadelphia, I realize that I have grown more sensitive and reflective. Often I gaze at a director’s long endeavour to perfect a production and find myself inspired to commit to challenging projects with the same rigor and perseverance.
The imaginary world of cinema has given me permission to aspire to peaks of perception that many would proclaim impossible. Perhaps I am just like Vincent, a boy who perceives dreamlike notions as his source of individuality and joy. As I grow older, I finally hear the sweet answer to an inevitable question: “When will I mature and exit my own surreal reality?” Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”