UNITED STATES—I love cinema, I really do, but I think the past week has been the most entertaining, educational and exciting week in cinema that I can recall in years. I have always been a fan of old-school cinema; I learned so much as an undergraduate about early films, technique and how the black-and-white era really placed a stamp on cinema that current movies have not and never did.

I re-watched and was introduced to some of the greatest flicks I have ever witnessed and it truly hit me like a ton of bricks: cinema is my life. I dissect a film, I study it, I analyze and I try to understand social themes of the movie and why they’re important to modern day society. I re-watched the 1980 drama “The Elephant Man” starring Anthony Hopkins and John Hurt. This movie is so brutally emotional; I don’t think I have witnessed a flick that stirred me to the core.

It says so much about society and our judgement on people who don’t look like us, and seeing this real life tale of a man with a deformity that frightens the world earn a bit of compassion from a select few people, shows what we need in this world today. Do I think it was the goal of the filmmakers to break our hearts watching this flick? Absolutely, but it works and Hurt delivers a performance I cannot fathom how he did not win the Academy Award for.

I saw “Taxi Driver” for the second time, one of the third flicks of Martin Scorsese that I learned about in my undergraduate film course. The score in the movie is fantastic; it really sets the mood for the entire flick, not to mention Robert De Niro who captivates as Travis Bickle, a man who suffers from extreme insomnia. He is socially awkward, yet charming at the same time. That shot that Scorsese delivers during the big climax of the movie is fantastic. I have always appreciated Scorsese’s work, but that aerial shot at the end of “Taxi Driver” I cannot use words to explain it.

“The Godfather,” I don’t know why that movie so intriguing to people, but it is. It is about crime, the mafia, family, violence, but it is done so well by Francis Ford Coppola that at over 3 hours, I never get bored watching. It holds you attention from start to finish. “12 Angry Men” a film that tackles the jury system and how jurors behave in the courtroom that NEEDS to be showcased to jurors before serving jury duty. Incredible film with a stunning performance by Henry Fonda is one to be studied. I finally witness the greatness of actor Robert De Niro yet again after finally watching the 1980 film “Raging Bull” that won him that Best Actor Oscar, over John Hurt for “The Elephant Man.”

“Gone With the Wind,” the 1939 classic that dominated the Oscars that I never saw I finally sat down and watched the 3 hour plus flick and wow. Vivien Leigh delivered a top-tier performance as Scarlet O’Hara. The movie is indeed controversial as it deals with the Civil War and slavery and almost ignores those issues as they were not more potent in American history. I appreciated what I witnessed, but I need to re-watch the movie to really decipher and study the social themes and issues present.

At the same time, I started to realize there are a bevy of flicks that I have NEVER seen that I have to witness like, “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “The Deer Hunter,” “Sophie’s Choice,” “Deliverance” and the list goes on. These are iconic flicks that I should have seen as a film scholar, but time isn’t always on your side, but I am going to make time. I have to make time to perfect my craft as a filmmaker. You do that by studying the works of others and then finding a way to deliver your own spin on certain techniques when it comes to utilizing the camera and narrative plot points.

I learned in the past 7 days how impactful my love for cinema truly is and it wasn’t something I always thought about, but the realization hit me how big of an effect cinema has on my spirit and creative juices, and I know without a doubt filmmaking is indeed my true passion and I started writing a script that has been circling in my head for years. Oh, what a time to be alive.