One of my best friends often tells me that for a self-admitted “Film Buff”, I go to the cinema nowhere near as often as I should. And when I do, I go to see “Tat.” I seem to only bother with fandom based popcorn flicks and neglect the more high brow Oscar-nommed films that seem to be on every film buff’s mind that year. His comments made me think. Why is it that I don’t make the effort to see movies at the cinema? Why do I make myself wait for the right time to watch them at home while reserving the efforts for certain movies?
The answer is a little more simple that I thought. Quite simply: I don’t really like the cinema.
The distinction between Film and Cinema is very clear. A film is what we see on TV, on the big screen, and on our streaming services. Whereas cinema is simply an outdated method in which we watch films. During the golden age of the motion picture, it was a social event that everyone could share together. Cinema screens allowed people to see what was going on during the war, what latest visual achievement filmmakers were achieving with this new medium and soon enough. It became a worldwide phenomenon.
The issue I have with the cinema isn’t a new thing. Being a public pastime, there are going to be factors that make the experience a far cry from sitting at home with a cup of tea. You’re essentially watching a film in a room full os strangers. People who have a completely different idea of what is acceptable behavior: Talking, chewing, answering phones, canoodling. You’re taking a risk everytime you enter a film. The risk is that you have no control over the social tone of the room you’re in and for a precious nerd like me. It tends to make the cinema experience a little tiresome when you’re sharing the room with an inconsiderate pleb. It comes to a time where it almost seems worth waiting for films to be shown on TV so you don’t have the put up with such a forum.
To the defense of cinema, the tip in power between home and public viewing of a film is mainly thanks not to the degradation of cinema, but the progression of streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and the explosion of the internet’s popularity. It’s fair to argue that going to the cinema was never the perfect way to watch films. Fair enough, the screen is big and the speakers are plenty, but you can walk into ten cinemas in this day and age and at least four of the screens will be off in some way: out of focus, broken speaker, aspect ratio. When you have paid money to have a pleasurable experience, you’re way more wound up when it isn’t perfect. When you’re at home. You can tailor the experience to make it as comfortable as you like.
So to my treasured friend. I might make more of an effort to watch better films at the cinema. But it will have to be an amazing film if it is to be worth the effort.