Thom Andersen, the intricate filmmaker behind such pensive documentaries as Los Angeles Plays Itself & Red Hollywood, returns with his new film 'The Thoughts That Once We Had', a personal love letter to the history of cinema, which is at least somewhat inspired by the books of Gilles Deleuze (The Movement-Image and The Time-Image). While many will write off The Thoughts That Once We Had as the type of film that only cinephiles can enjoy, I'd argue that what Thom Andersen has created with this film is a crash-course in film history which exudes his passion for the power of cinema, an infectious attribute that could serve as a great starting point to those who simply want a better understanding of cinema as an art-form. Running approximately 105 minutes in length, The Thoughts That Once We Had is the filmmakers shortest effort, making it more accessible than the 3+ hour Los Angeles Plays Itself, but that doesn't mean it's any less dense. Featuring very little dialogue, The Thoughts That Once We Had dances with glee through the expansive world of cinema, showing the universal quality of image, contrasting documentary filmmaking, silent filmmaking, musicals, and action films in a way that beautifully expresses how cinema is reflective aspect of life itself. Cinema, and art in general really, are reflective of life, humanity, and society, but Thom Andersen's film takes it one step further, arguing that the true power of cinema lies in its ability to restore our belief in the world. One aspect which really stood out to me about The Thoughts That Once We Had is just how unstructured it can be at times, jumping around the timeline of cinema in a way that gives the film a beautiful, unhinged feeling of exploration. Perhaps the best way to describe the film is that it isn't a story of cinema but rather a love poem, as the film flows freely through the expansive world of the moving image with the passionate filmmakers as our guide. For those wanting a thorough and objective education on film history this isn't the film, but that's what makes The Thoughts That Once We Had so compelling to me, as it's truly a film that exudes the passion of its filmmakers who deliver a powerful ode to the moving image.
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Love of all things cinema brought me here.