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{06/03/2012}   Going to the cinema

The pictures, flicks, cinema, movie theatre … whatever you want to call it, I love it. It’s escapism, a time free of your mobile phone and a chance to watch a film the whole way through without disturbances or a perceived pressing need for a mug of tea/beer/a wee/to answer a phone call. It is a bubble of real-life-removal.

Last night I went to see The Artist. I was one of maybe five people in the cinema. As ever, I got completely absorbed in the film. I even enjoy cinema adverts and trailers (I always mute the volume when TV adverts come on). I cried at a trailer for Titanic in 3D (I know, I know. I was in quite an emotional mood), and managed to squeeze out some salted water during The Artist (it’s not a sad film).

As soon as I walked into the already dark cinema, I felt the buzz that I always get when I go to the cinema. No TV home entertainment system could ever be as good as a trip to the cinema.

While at university, I went to see Natural Born Killers at the cinema on my own. It was a daytime showing. When I went into the cinema it was quite a sunny but chilly afternoon. The film left me reeling. I always have a kind of enjoyable come down after being in a cinema, it feels like it takes a while for me to readjust to my normal world. I got out of the cinema later that afternoon, in a film-induced fug. It had been snowing and everything was white. It compounded my belief that in every day life you can remove yourself from normality if you want to. For me, the cinema works every time.

This is probably why I cannot and will not watch horror, scary, thriller or gruesome films in the cinema (Natural Born Killers was watched in a Tarantino phase, ie blood and gore ok, ok-ish). I like my escape world to be nicer than that and I get so absorbed in films that a horror, for example, would scare me way too much! I do watch the odd thriller or miserable film but only on DVD. I did slip up with Sleepy Hollow though because I hadn’t read about it, I thought it was a fairy tale type story. That was altogether too much for me at the cinema! As was Seven. That film still haunts me today. I watched that in America and I would estimate that two thirds of the audience left as the film progressed, ugh so disturbing.

I once watched a film in the coolest, quirkiest cinema imaginable in Oxford, Mississippi. The cinema was a corrugated tin roofed glorified barn with old armchairs to sit on. Whatever film it was we watched – it’s on the tip of my – Ooo, I got it, I got it, death row, Sandra whatshername … Dead Man Walking. I definitely saw that there and I think that was the film I’m thinking of (I know, not a cheery one). Anyway, in the film it was chucking it down with rain. It was also raining outside the cinema and the sound of the rain on the tin roof brought that scene to a life in an almost surreal way. Incredibly powerful.

I once watched a film during the day as the only person in the cinema. Just me, sitting in the middle of the cinema watching a film, as I recall a chick flick I hadn’t wanted to share my interest in seeing with anyone else due to the cheese factor. First of all it was a bit scary being on my own, then I felt really special, then I deliberately rustled in my bag safe in the knowledge no one was there to care about the noise I was making. Then I sprawled out a bit and enjoyed it.

Whenever I go to the cinema, I always want to write a screenplay and sit in a cinema watching it brought to life. Then I wonder if being a director might be better. I just love films at the cinema. I don’t even go to the cinema very often.

As for The Artist, I loved it. It made me want to go and watch old movies (for they were movies rather than films in that era, the golden era of Hollywood), not necessarily silent ones, but ones that seem so basic now but … well, there were fewer films made and Hollywood then wasn’t prone to churning out schmultz like it does now. I feel a need for a Some Like it Hot evening … if only I could find a cinema showing that, I’d be properly made up then!

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