It is always interesting when we notice something about ourselves that is a little off beat, a little weird. For a solipsist it is a delight and hearty food for thought. One of the things in that category in my own life has been the slow evolution and development of my near obsession with the movie Casablanca.
Although I was never a fanatic, I must say that I derived a great deal of enjoyment from movies in my earlier life. The only time I approached fanaticism was a stretch of years in my late forties when I watched every foreign film available on tape in the Cedar Rapids Public Library. That collection is now destroyed of course, but it was impressive for a community the size of that one. I watched classic French films, Chinese films, Australian films. I watched all the Werner Herzog films I could lay my hands on anywhere. Pedro Almadovar. And other directors. Enough. You get the idea.
I have lost all that. I haven't the slightest urge to rent a movie, let alone go to a theater. I do not wish to waste the time necessary slogging through the dross in order to find something worthwhile. And I do not give a damn about the worthwhile anymore anyway.
But for some reason there remains Casablanca. I have the disk with me. It is the only movie on disk that I have now. I am not going to estimate for you the number of times I have watched it on the laptop since striking out on this venture. I would be embarrassed. There is no way that I could estimate the number of times I had watched it during my life previously. But the number of times that I have watched it is not really the point. The point is that that damned movie has had an impact upon my life. No other movie has, thank goodness.
I cannot explain to you why this is so. I could talk about how utterly beautifully Ingrid Bergman is filmed in certain scenes. I could talk about Humphrey Bogart's performance, which is an unsurpassed portrayal of bitterness and cynicism transformed. The great, great supporting cast. The song. Stuff like that. And all of that would be true even if ineptly addressed. Unlike everyone else in the world, it seems, I do not consider myself a qualified commentator on movies. Worse, it would be boring because there is no way that I could say anything that has not been said a hundred times before.
So why did I bring the subject up? I am not sure. I am not sure. I cannot quite formulate a satisfactory explanation of why, subjectively, I myself find that film so entertaining. Figuring out why it is so entertaining for me would only be the first step however. Now I have come to the point where I am convinced that if I can discern the real reason or reasons for my fascination with this film, I will have learned something important.
Maybe if I watch it one more time. . . .