Sunday, June 19, 2011

I Are Von Trapp

Salzburg, Austria at night.

As I write this, the French Film Festival at the Shangri-La Plaza is just wrapping up with The Tree of Life, this year's Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or recipient. It's supposed to be a Best Picture contender for next year's Oscars, plus Brad Pitt (in serious, awards-bait mode) and Sean Penn are in it. Good thing I decided against going to the fest; it's been raining all day, and we don't want another Equus, do we?

I had my own French film fest today. This afternoon, I watched Of Gods and Men, and just now, Le Concert. The former's a pretty intense drama about a group of monks caught in the web of religious war in Algeria (based on a true story); the latter is a sort-of-musical-comedy about a faded Russian orchestra conductor. I'm not going to review them now; watch them, as both films are pretty well worth the time and effort. I've now watched thirty films for my Oscarthon and will be concluding it in a week or so.

It's a long weekend, and a pretty benign one at that - perhaps the most benign we'll ever have for the rest of the semester. The first week of med school's over, and yes, it was just three days of introductory, sort-of-like-Values-class sessions. We have classes five days a week (UP colleges normally have Wednesdays off), eight hours a day (8 to 5, with a 12 to 1 break). The previous days have been all about getting to know the 120 lateral entrants (I still don't know half of them, and they say it sometimes takes more than the entire year to know your entire class). We were made to watch Patch Adams and Freedom Writers, probably to further inspire us to become doctors for the people, and that's just about all the interesting things we did (sarcasm).

So I wondered: Why do we watch movies? Here's my answer: Movies help us develop empathy. To immerse oneself in that fictional universe, to establish a connection with the characters, to tread that fine line between fiction and reality. That plethora of emotions and myriad of thoughts that flooded our very selves throughout the entire viewing experience, we bring with us as we exit the cinema or close our screens.

Next weekend's another long weekend, and after that, we have our exam on this week's classes (on the country's health care system and all that shiz). Then, the real thing begins. Anatomies, histologies, physiologies, biochemistries, dissections - the real medical stuff that we'll need in the future. And of course, the must-study-for exams, more than twenty of them for the semester alone. But first, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber on Saturday night - yes, we're watching.

Now that I've mentioned theater, I just read online that there will be auditions next weekend for Resorts World's production of The Sound of Music. How about playing Friedrich or Rolf come October, while balancing med school and all that jazz? But I'd really like to go to Salzburg someday.

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