Monday, 2 August 2010

Audience participation

Mary Ann Johanson has asked at her blog Flick Filosopher about her readers' preferred way of viewing movies. Since I'm attempting NaBloPoMo again, I'll spare her my natterings at her blog and witter on here on my blog:

This question has come up on other blogs and I'm bemused by the replies. On one side, we have the DVD viewers who decry the irritations of price, timing, and people who behave as if they're at home watching television themselves. On the other, we have those who like the cinema "experience": the concession, the big screen, the special effects if the movie has 'em.

I have a cinema preference myself, but it's mainly for the shared experience. Sure, I want to throttle the guy who repeats every joke, or the teenager sticking his feet through to my armrest, or the couple who are chatting (and are so offended when requested to stop!). However, my favourite movie memories have involved being part of the audience reaction.

I was lucky enough to see Singing in the Rain for the very first time with a university student audience, all howling with laughter at Donald O'Connor's acrobatic mishaps as he sang "Make 'Em Laugh". I saw my first Ginger Roger/Fred Astaire musicals as part of a festival for the same, and watched delightedly as a couple rose from their seats afterward and executed some pretty fancy footwork in their exit up the aisle. I recall the silent boyish awe of a row of nineteen-year-old boys eating up ET and the stunned gasp during the opening scene of Star Wars as that enormous Empire warship passed...and kept on passing....

This past year, I experimented with the looping device at my local arts cinema to see if I could catch the dialogue better. I can, but I miss the chuckles and sniffles around me. I'd rather miss a few words than be shut off from the connection around me, even if that means the risk of wanting to throttle someone.

Kinda like my rationale for marriage, I guess.


chrissie_allen said...

Oh yes, you can't beat the intense experience of shared big screen viewing, with all its attendant pros and cons. The latter of which can be excruciating to say the least. Well, almost. There's nothing to match the sight and sound, the feel of the chair against your back, the tangy odours, the neon signs that glow comfortingly in the dark. The buzz. When I was an early teen my mum was an usher (then with the suffix, 'ette' of course) for a time at the local flea-pit and often i would go wait for her to finish her shift on the way back from school, if she was on afternoons. I'd get to slip in and settle in a chair to watch, well whatever, "Carry On"... Somebody..or Michael Caine in a spy film, til she was ready to leave. Then out, to the shock of summer sun after the cosy gloom . Absolute magic!
There's alot to be said for comforts of DVD viewing,but it's always so gorgeous actually to go and be a part of it all sometimes.
I like your flicks memories! Thanks Persephone.

Christine said...

I'm with you, I love going to the cinema. It IS crazy expenisve (although there is a "dollar cinema" here in Montreal, which makes going to see even terrible movies on the big screen worth it... sketchy, but worth it) but it is how movies are made to be seen. I love the dark, cool theaters, the crinkle of my bag of candies, the thrill of surround sound music scores... my very favourite part though, is always the previews. A whole series of mini-movies. Wonderful.

SOL's view said...

I love the cinema as well. The joy of getting out of the house, sitting in the dark and getting caught up in the adventure on the screen.

The effects are ALWAYS better in the cinema.

And as long as there aren't babies in the audience and no one is too obnoxious, I usually enjoy myself.

Oh, and I LOVE the reviews! A wonderful way to get into the mood after all the ads.