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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

10 years of Flick Filosopher: I find a groove

It took a few months, but I finally found a voice for myself that I actually liked with my first review of James Cameron’s epic Titanic (I would write about it twice more in the months between its release and its Oscar win for Best Picture). At least, I remember feeling really pleased with one of my reviews for the first time with this one, and reading back over it now, I see the beginnings of the path I would later take:

What makes this the brilliant work that it is, however, is the framing story that brings 101-year-old Rose out to the wreck of the Titanic. We forget that history happened to real people — even in the best, most moving historical dramas, events seem distant and unreal. But Cameron introduces us to Rose today — in the world we all know, and know is real — and lets us meet the woman she blossomed into because she met Jack on the Titanic and they went down with it together. Without preaching, without even stating it, Cameron makes us remember that history was just people living their lives, in a continual flow that didn’t stop (depending on which generation you’re of) in 1918 or 1945 or 1969 but reaches to us today — that we simultaneously create history and are drawn along in its wake toward the future. And that even more paradoxically, all this pondering on the past grounds us firmly in the world that is here and now.

review of Titanic, posted 01.05.98



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