Part One of a Two-Part Series
It’s a weird thing. Generally, I consider myself rather introverted and balk at most opportunities to go out and socialize … and yet, during this near 9 month stretch of lockdown/isolation, I have found myself reflecting pretty hard on that idea. Especially when it comes to going to the movies – which, in the time of COVID, is not a thing.
The last film I saw in the cinema was Birds of Prey. And looking ahead at the 2020 movie calendar, I was looking forward to Wonder Woman 84, Mulan and Tenet, to name a few. And then there are the festivals. The plan was to attend another TCM Classic Film Festival, followed by Tribeca in the spring and the New York Film Festival in the fall.
I recently became fast acquaintances with a coworker who shares my love of classic cinema. Her appreciation centers in the realm of silents, and notably the life and work of Buster Keaton. Through our conversations, she introduced me to The Silent Clown film series, a gathering of silent film fans in NYC. The plan had been for us to start attending a few in the coming months.
Combined, none of these plans even factored in the cinematic surprises which crop up in any given year …
Of course, in the wake of the pandemic, events were either cancelled altogether, or transformed into virtual in-home experiences. In the case of Mulan, when the opportunity presented itself to purchase, I decided to wait it out.
Which brings me back to my reflection. In the intervening months, most (if not all) of our entertainment choices reside in a myriad of streaming platforms. With so much at our fingertips in the comfort of our private domiciles, this seems like the perfect setup – watching endless hours of movies without the hassle of travelling to sit in a packed theater.
But what has happened to me recently has me wondering. Sure I have caught the odd film or two, but overall, I have not been as engaged as I imagined. As I pondered this further, I came to a startling conclusion – I MISS going to the movies!
Sure, I often complain when I get there. But I really think that the communal experience of seeing a film with friend and stranger alike is a wonderful, shared experience. We all have our reasons, but the aim is largely the same – we are there for entertainment, inspiration, etc. The movies are often an oasis in a frenzied existence that gives us little time or space to emotionally respond and process our experiences. At least, not in the way a great film (or even not so great) surely can. There are likely several studies and papers here on the wonderful interwebs which go into clinical detail about this very subject, but I wanted to share this experience with you all on a visceral, personal level.
Coming to terms with this has been a release of sorts. I am now prepared for the cold, dark months ahead and reconnected to one of the great loves in life. I can now go back to sitting back, launching [insert streamer(s) of your choice] and soaking in as many movies during this time of COVID as possible. Or, I can at least try.
How have all of you been coping? Hit the Comments section below to share.