3 Things I’ve Learned as an Asian Film Student

In case you haven’t noticed, I am of full Asian-blood, and I’m currently majoring in film. Gasp

What? Asian? Majoring in Film? Somebody call the cast of High School Musical to sing “Stick To Your Status Quo” and hopefully talk some sense into this Asian.

Yes I know, I know, we are still a rare species but I personally think that things are looking up. Thanks to Mr. Ang Lee for proving that, yes, Film might be a risky industry, but there is still hope left for us. Hollywood, make way for Asians, please and thank you.

I’m still a freshman but surprisingly, I’ve learnt a lot throughout the course of 3 months. No, I still can’t get a grasp of the technical film terms, but I learned a lot about myself, as a human being.

My Limited vocabulary

As much as I want to use the excuse, “I am an international student”, I don’t want to just wimp out like that. After every single film class, I will come out feeling worse about myself. I feel intimidated by all the big vocabulary my fellow classmates just casually throw out in our movie discussion.

“This piece of film is wonderfully alluring. It moved me,” some girl said. Soon, everyone else started “chiming in” with their fancy vocabulary. And when their eyes roll over to me, “What about you? What do you think Eunice?”

All I had to say was, “Yeah, totally, this movie is awesome man.” And then I feel dumb for the rest of the day.

Note to self: Read some book called the “dictionary” more.

My Self-Control

After completing my first film class, “Introduction To Film”, I realize I handle myself pretty well in public.

There are times, 7 times to be exact, when I had the urge to get up from my seat and scream my head off. Why? Because of the annoying people who just couldn’t shut up. I call them the obvious spoiler commentators.

Come on, you know who I’m talking about. Throughout your lifetime, you have to have at least encountered one. If you haven’t, then you’re probably one of them.

They are the ones who go like “Oooooo something is about to happen. Something is about to happen.” in horror films. Well duh, it’s already hinted by the building up of the horrifying music, so shut up. We all know. They are also the ones who go like “OUCHH that must hurt!” or “Oh snap!” in action films when the antagonists got kicked in the crouch. Yes, I’m sure it did hurt, now SHUT UP!

As much as these people make me scratch my head off. I didn’t. I kept calm and bit my lips real hard till they bleed a little. I’m sorry, maybe it’s just me but I like to enjoy my movies uninterrupted. (Well except in boring movies. I remember how obnoxious I got when I was watching Prometheus. Can’t help it, that movie just sucked so bad.)

Even though there is a big sign up that looks like:

Let me tell you this. College students… they couldn’t care less.

In the first week, they sneak in M&Ms and silently chew them in the midst of the film. 2nd week, they casually walk in with a bag of popcorn in their hands. By the 5th week, people proudly walk in with a plate of nachos munching so loud as if they want to look over to see what they’re eating. My lenient professor tried to stop it and decides to confront them in the middle for the quarter. And ya know what, they brilliantly replied: “Well, the sign says no soda and hamburger. This is nachos.” *CLAP CLAP CLAP* Geniuses.

You see, as much as I’d like to turn around and yell, “CAN YOU CHEW ANY LOUDER?” …I didn’t. Hence, my self control level: strong.

My Un-Artsiness

Correct me if I’m wrong. Is it un-artsiness or in-artsiness?

If you’ve ever taken a film class then you would know. After each screening, we have to analyze the film. Typically, analyzing one or more elements from each category, cinematography, editing, mise en scene, or sound. The typical question would be like: “What is the director trying to imply by his use of dutch angles?” or “What is the implicit meaning of the mise en scene of the movie? Is it intentional?”

Yes, sometimes it is reasonable and I do learn a lot from writing and researching on the movies. For example, do you know in “Life Of Pi”, the color orange is a character of its own as it symbolizes survival and hope.

But 73% of the time, I feel like I’m too realistic to be a film student, I’m not deep enough. This often happens when we are watching abstract foreign films in which I have no clue what the context was. I mean, I already don’t know what the film is going on about for 1 hr and 45 minutes, do you really expect me to answer an abstract question?

For example, “What do you think the director is trying to express by placing that table in the middle of the shot?” Well… I don’t know. Maybe to put stuff on it? You know, tables could be useful sometimes to put stuff on. Yep, that’s how I would answer it.

Tell me, what are you really trying to say huh, table? DON’T JUST SIT THERE, ANSWER ME!

Anyhoo, that’s all my observation for now. I still have a long way to go. As much as it seems like it, I am not complaining. I’m glad I chose this major, and I have my parents to thank. Pursue your dreams kids.

Take care. :)

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