Seeing a movie again

There is a deep pleasure in seeing a movie for the first time. You don’t know what is going to happen, and you want to find out.

In the hands of a master filmmaker, a first time viewing is a completely thrilling experience. Even after many years, I can still vividly remember my first time viewing certain great films.

Yet there is a different pleasure to be gotten from watching a movie that you’ve seen before. The second time you see a film, you have the privilege of seeing the filmmaker at work.

There are so many fascinating things to observe: What surprises are revealed, and when, the crisscrossing character arcs, the way an entire world is gradually created and revealed through great lighting, editing and camera work.

I remember one time when I was about 13 years old, and I was home sick from school for a week. There was a TV station that would choose a movie to show every day in the early afternoon each week.

So that week I saw Inherit the Wind five times. The first time I was riveted. By Friday I felt I knew the film inside out, and I was getting things from it that I had completely missed on first viewing.

I can still vividly remember many of the powerful scenes in that film, even after all these years. I am sure that is because I had the privilege of seeing it five times on five successive days.

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