Saturday 12 November 2011

'Looking up - the big screen'

'Looking Up - Arguments in favor of bigness' by Michael Koresky and Jess Reichert

I've never been to the Museum of the Moving Image in New York but it is definitely on my list of top places to go on my next visit to New York (some time in a mythical future where I can afford such trips).  To celebrate the opening of their new film theatre they invited the editors of Reverse Shot to contribute a video essay and text on the wonders of film in the cinema, that is on the big screen.

They talk about a lot of the issues that have been on my mind recently when going to the cinema - why do I prefer the cinema to watching a film at home? what do I go to the cinema for? what do I want out the film - entertainment, escapism, thought-provoking? When I went to see Wanda recently I certainly wouldn't call it a comfortable cinema-going experience in the sense that I didn't go in, relax and disappear into the film for a few hours.  It wasn't that kind of film, it made me think, made me uncomfortable at many points, but ultimately it was still me leaving my world and entering another. I loved it but equally I love the complete escapism of going to see something silly like the latest X-men film where you can completely surrender to the fantasy world of the film, not have to think, and emerge a few hours later back into the real world.

Whatever type of film I'm in the mood for seeing though I'd pretty much always prefer going to the cinema to see it.  There's something so magical to me about 'the big screen' and the experience of going to the cinema so i really enjoyed listening to Michael Koresky and Jess Reichert ruminating on why this is. Some of the things they said that jumped out at me - 'if we see it big we also want to be small' 'we want to be in thrall to something larger, something greater'.

However, I'd certainly never want to give up the variety of ways that we have of viewing films - right now I'm so happy to have turned the TV on to find Singing in the Rain - only half an hour in, perfect Saturday afternoon viewing and I don't even need to leave the couch!

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