1 a : designed or intended to teach b : intended to convey instruction and information as well as pleasure and entertainment
2 : making moral observations
last week my roommate gabby and i made dinner and rented Xanadu. i've been meaning to (re)watch this film for some time. this is one of many flicks that was in steady rotation during my early, early childhood. i have memories of myself and my brother Zander dancing around the house singing along to the score (this was before he came out of the closet). but my memories begin and end there. looking at the VHS case in movie madness, my memory was blank.
while i watched the film, hardly anything struck me as familiar, except the sensationalist musical scene inside Xanadu at the very end. i have a feeling this was probably rewound and watched over several times, hence its prevalence in my memory. but i couldn't help watching the film with an analytic eye, wondering how the text may have helped in shaping my personality.
in film school we talked a great deal about the DIDACTIC nature of cinema—and not necessarily only in the way that children's films are intended to impart moral values. we also discussed it from a marxist perspective; cinema is now a superstructure and henceforth can be used to send messages to, influence, and/or shape an entire culture. this was certainly the case with myself, since i was practically raised by HBO. i have done a lot of thinking and writing about the influence of fictional cinematic worlds on my own expectations of reality.
this is where Xanadu comes in. i know i watched this film frequently, so its concept must have burrowed a hole somewhere in my subconscious. after watching the film last week, i was both blown away by its unpredictability and inspired by its potential relevance in my childhood, enough to come up with a hypothesis:
How Xanadu May Have Influenced the Way I Deal with Men and Relationships:
Through an exploration of Kira's (Olivia Newton-John) relationship with Sonny Malone (Michael Beck), as well as the reference to her past romantic experience with Danny McGuire (Gene Kelly), I intend to explore the influence this cinematic world had on my real experiences with men. I will focus specifically on my repetitive desire to be a martyr or a muse to the men in my life, often feeling that responsibility comes before my needs as a romantic partner. I hope to reveal that repetitive viewing of Xanadu in my early childhood inspired this behavior; following this I can place further responsibility of my romantic indiscretions on elements other than myself.
Look forward to the full essay...