The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Far from passionate

    Nicole Robinson

    Being the American Film Institute freak that I am, every annual list it releases ends up being a huge event for me. Three years ago, when AFI released its top-100 Passions list that documented the 100 greatest romances in American film history, I was prompted with a question that has stumped critics into circular arguments for decades: Does life imitate art, or does art imitate life?

    Before considering the answer, consider the evidence that AFI poses with romance films. In seven of the top 10 films, the couples featured do not end up together in the end. The implications of this are many, but none so powerful perhaps as this: If these are the romances that best represent the American films that people have used as a form of escapism for so many years, then how do we respond to this?

    As AFI put it, these films were selected and ranked based on passions that enrich America’s film and cultural heritage while continuing to inspire contemporary artists and audiences.

    If life imitates art, then I guess many of the divorces in this country can be attributed to classic films like “Casablanca,” “An Affair to Remember,” “Roman Holiday” and “The Way We Were.” After all, AFI claims these films have inspired contemporary audiences (in more than one way if life reflects art).

    Story continues below advertisement

    On the other hand, if art imitates life, then perhaps we are all destined to break up. After all, these films are selected and made based on an over-generalized scope of American culture.

    Imagine what those folks in Europe and Asia think of our country based on these famous romance films. They don’t exactly paint a pretty picture for that prospective significant other across the coast.

    Either way, these films pose a catch-22 of sorts that leaves us between a rock and a hard place. Were we born to die alone, or were we taught to do so from film?

    Without approaching the classic argument of nature versus nurture, because either way it doesn’t matter, I ask people to start thinking about this dilemma that had been posed over three years ago.

    In films like “Casablanca,” the relationship the couple had before their breakup is what truly defined their lives together, instead of a future without one another. As one of the rare cases of a positive ending to a breakup, there are several more that involve affairs. Films such as “Roman Holiday” and “An Affair to Remember” idealize affairs while on vacations. They don’t end up working in the end. I always thought the point of affairs was a transition to a better relationship with someone else instead of a stint of fun away from home.

    Perhaps the only promising piece of information AFI included in the passion list, which leads me to think there may be some hope for our future, is the amount of fights versus kisses. While couples have over 180 fights in these films combined, there are over 260 kissing scenes that prove lovers quarrel, but they kiss and make up more often than not.

    But will we ever know the answer to this filmic question? Better yet, will we ever find a way to break away from these tales of dying alone? I most certainly hope so.

    – contributed to this column

    Kupfer is a senior print journalism major and a showcase editor of The Spectator.

    Leave a Comment
    More to Discover

    Comments (0)

    The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
    All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Activate Search
    Far from passionate