I can trace my relationship with my father through our changing attitudes toward movies. I really owe my love of cinema to him. When I was a child, we always went twice a week together. It was a special time, sitting beside my father in the dark, enchanted by the action on the screen but also protected by his presence. Although a gentle person by nature, my father loved westerns best of all. We even had a little ritual. After a real good western my dad would put his arms around my shoulders, chew on the straw of his soda, and say in his best fake western accent: ``Son! That was darn good!''
But that was to change. As I entered adolescence, I began like most teenagers to question my parents' values. Our dinner table became a battleground as we fought over every aspect of my appearance, my values, and my general attitude. There was little we agreed on.
To make matters worse, I had become a movie snob. I had begun to read movie magazines, not Modern Screen, but the intellectual sort like Films in Review, and my perspectives changed. No longer would a simple ``Did you like it?'' suffice. The movie (excuse me, ``film'') had to have some kind of redeeming value. I wasn't going to waste my time on any old movie. But my father was not keeping up with me, and soon we stopped going to movies together.
Then I entered college and rose to the eminent position of secretary of the Film Society. We were a highly cultural group devoted to the movies of Fellini and Bergman, not to mention Indian and Japanese films. If it was esoteric, we loved it. I would watch Alan Resnais's convoluted ``Last Year at Marienbad'' with as much interest and enjoyment as my father watched ``Gunfight at the OK Corral.'' The gap was growing ever wider.