After spending a few years at home, I think we've underestimated what it means to be at the movies. What it means to walk into a communal space with hundreds of people and really concentrate on the images and stories we see on screen. It's a transportive experience that delivers things larger than life.
Recently, I watched this experimental piece that tries to contextualize what it means to go back to the movies. The video essay was called "Back to Theaters" by Victoria Oliver Farner, and it was released by MUBI.
MUBI says of the film, "In cinematic language, the narration is articulated according to the size of the human in the shot composition: full-length in the context of the landscape, and then only the eyes, which appear in front of us with an unknown magnificence. 'Back to Theaters' returns the viewer to a non-privileged place."
So check out this experimental piece, and let's talk about what it means to go back to theaters after.
What Does It Really Mean to Go Back to Theaters?
That video is really evocative of the time we spent just watching things on laptops and bedroom TVs over the pandemic, which isn't a true cinematic experience. It reminds us that filmmakers have curated their thoughts and feelings to be showcased in the largest format available. And how limiting it can feel to watch it at home, alone.
I have to admit, it's been very hard for me to watch a movie during the pandemic. I looked at my phone, did chores, or even washed the dog during a film. Every day was spent multitasking. When you go to the movies, you are forced into a singular event. You're there for one reason, and therefore distractions can be put away.
Another thing I am not sure we talk about enough is the scale of movies on the big screen. Even as someone with a 55-inch TV, I think that it's hard to be really enveloped. Plus I have noisy neighbors, a dog, and lots of other distractions. Going to the movies really does feel like church. It's a ritual, one best spent becoming deeply connected to the material in a profound way.
As the theatrical experience comes back, it's important to support and remember all this. As filmmakers and even as fans, we're always voting with our tickets, and we're also supporting venues where we go to worship works of art. If you are able to go back to the movies, go. Hollywood has changed so many ways since the pandemic, and it's scary to think that our beloved venues and houses of worship could disappear within our lifetimes.
Let me know what you think in the comments.