Steven Spielberg's op-ed in Empire is a powerful ode to cinema.
When the greatest living director speaks, we listen. The latest issue of Empire was curated by Edgar Wright and contains a massive celebration of cinema. For the issue, Hollywood icons share their most treasured experiences with readers. As NFS's most vocal Spielberg fan, I wanted to share some of Spielberg's words within the issue.
Cinema has been scary this year. I was talking with a friend just last night, lamenting how much I missed the communal experience of going to the movies. I have to admit, I have been worried that cinema won't come back as strong.
But in my darkest hours, I have relied on the movies I love to bring me back to the light side. And now I have some Steven Spielberg words to help.
Spielberg writes, “In the current health crisis, where movie theatres are shuttered or attendance is drastically limited because of the global pandemic, I still have hope bordering on certainty that when it’s safe, audiences will go back to the movies. I’ve always devoted myself to our movie-going community—movie-going, as in leaving our homes to go to a theatre, and community, meaning a feeling of fellowship with others who have left their homes and are seated with us. In a movie theatre, you watch movies with the significant others in your life, but also in the company of strangers. That’s the magic we experience when we go out to see a movie or a play or a concert or a comedy act. We don’t know who all these people are sitting around us, but when the experience makes us laugh or cry or cheer or contemplate, and then when the lights come up and we leave our seats, the people with whom we head out into the real world don’t feel like complete strangers anymore. We’ve become a community, alike in heart and spirit, or at any rate alike in having shared for a couple of hours a powerful experience. That brief interval in a theatre doesn’t erase the many things that divide us: race or class or belief or gender or politics. But our country and our world feel less divided, less fractured, after a congregation of strangers has laughed, cried, jumped out their seats together, all at the same time. Art asks us to be aware of the particular and the universal, both at once. And that’s why, of all the things that have the potential to unite us, none is more powerful than the communal experience of the arts.”
Reading these words gave me new hope not just for this year, but for theatrical movies moving forward. While it's been nice to enjoy things on my couch, there is a certain magic to the communal experience. I feel a spark that only exists when the lights go down and the sound comes up.
As a writer, nothing feels better than the experience of seeing your own work debut to a crowd. These strangers, hopefully, empathize with your characters and feel the wide range of emotions that go along with viewing a theatrical movie.
So far not. Movies will never die.