Zinan Zhang ’14

ZinanThanks to my doctor-parents, I perceive the world as a giant puzzle filled with mysteries that need to be solved and suffering that needs to be ameliorated. It should not come as a surprise that my favorite TV shows are Sherlock and House. As a chemistry major—sorry, I’m not caught up with Breaking Bad—with interests in neuroscience and global health, I aspire to be a medical doctor, chemistry professor, or researcher in the pharmaceutical industry. In my free time, I love to read classic dystopian novels, to swim, and to peruse Science and Nature abstracts. Don’t worry; I have come to terms with my nerdiness.

My film preferences are pretty varied, but a common theme in many of my favorite films is an exploration of the resilient human spirit and the irrational, emotional human mind. While dramas like Dead Poets Society, Das Leben die Anderen, The Pianist, and Citizen Kane tend to pull on my heartstrings, they are usually grounded in a very realistic, historical context. In contrast, the movies I like that examine the human psyche often use more artistic freedom and stray into the genre of science fiction: Fight Club, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Vertigo and American Beauty.  Furthermore, in my opinion, animated films like Toy Story 3 and Up have done a superb job at embodying the human experience, while using a fictional medium.

Last but not least, I would be remiss to not mention my favorite crime and confidence game films: The Godfather, The Maltese Falcon, and Catch Me If You Can. At the heart of all these movies is a game of chess: Michael needs to protect the king of the Corleone family, Gutman sacrifices his pawn in the hopes of protecting himself, and Frank always tries to stay a move ahead of Carl. Ultimately, I enjoy movies that have intricate, mysterious plots and even more puzzling characters that shed light on human nature.

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