Δευτέρα, 13 Φεβρουαρίου 2017

Blog no.22: Wanna go to the movies?

Dear film enthusiasts,

  Yesterday was international cinema day and thus I'm a day late at this, but since I've been *cough* busy with studying *cough* I figured I might as well do it now. "Buy the ticket, take the ride" says Hunter S.Thompson in the trippy "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", and that's what you get yourself into whenever you step a few metres behind the big silver screen.
  We all watch movies, film buffs or not, even the least enthusiastic-about-film people have probably seen a bunch of them. Most of them download the majority of the films they watch and I won't be the kettle and call the pot black, if pirating was a crime I'd be facing several lifetimes in prison, and then some. Thing is, going to the cinema is just a much better way to go about it if you want to see a movie, because you're not just watching it, you're experiencing it.
  I find it hard to rate movies I have seen at home because I don't think I'm doing them justice at all. You always have a distraction, chatting on Facebook during the slow parts, probably pausing and unpausing every so often to grab a snack or take a bathroom break and you never really experience it the way the director meant you to experience it. Every time I watch a Tarantino at home I can feel Q over my shoulder, judging me for looking elsewhere instead of watching Pitt scalping a Nazi or Travolta and Thurman doing the twist, I can almost hear Fincher yelling at me to put the damn phone down and carefully study the hundredth take it took Gyllenhaal to get the shot just right, and I can see Linklater's disappointed look whenever I pause one of Delpy and Hawke's intimate conversations. Submarine got it exactly right: "How do they know? They just do."
  I dated this girl last year, really great and a film enthusiast, much like me. She was probably one of the biggest influences in me becoming so passionate about movies because she didn't just like them, by the (paraphrased) words of Anton Ego, "She adored them." Most of our dates included watching a movie or two, that's how we actually started dating in the first place, and it was always a treat. One of the best movie-going experiences I have ever had was watching The Nice Guys with her, in a cute little open-air summer cinema in Plaka, Cine Paris. We weren't doing so hot as a couple due to external turbulence and were kinda distant at first. It was mid-May I think, and the movie was starting at 8 pm sharp. We grabbed my favourite beer and some popcorn and took our seats silently, waiting for the movie to start. The sun was still creeping above our beautiful view of the Acropolis as the movie was starting. Half-way during the movie we watched the sun set from the west to give way to a lovely summer-ish night and light breeze, and half-way through the hilarious Crowe-Gosling induced shenanigans my girl and I were holding hands, laughing our asses off, kissing during the break, enjoying one perfect date. It's like all the problems we had and all the distance between us had vanished. How could they not, really?
  One of the reasons I love Athens is because of the cinema culture it provides. Coming here I wasn't much of a film buff, I watched movies regularly but I never thought of anything beyond that, watching them was just a past-time whenever I was bored gaming. Growing up in Cyprus we didn't have a lot of cinemas, just a few big multiplexes that showed the latest blockbusters so when I came here I was introduced to a whole new world of small, one-screen theatres, summer cinemas, community theatres and film festivals. It blew my mind how many movies from all around the world I could watch, not just Disney-owned properties (which to be fair are quite good in their own right). It's mind-boggling how much choice you can have here, and I imagine how much more there is in bigger cities all around the world. We're so lucky we're able to experience all these things, but unfortunately not a whole lot of us care.
  A few months ago I got into the habit of going to the movies by myself. I just got really tired of having no company after breaking up twice in the span of a year, and since most of my friends aren't huge on the whole "going to the cinema" thing I have going on, I figured I might as well try it on my own. It was pretty awkward at first, I had never done something like that because it seemed such a lonely, desperate thing to do and frankly, I was a bit of both. I went to see La la Land for the first time and I was so damn emotionally invested by the end of the movie, I was literally speechless for a few moments after the end title, and I had the luxury to just sit there by myself and contemplate my feelings for a bit. I didn't have to scoff, laugh, comment or get up immediately, and so I did none of those things. I just sat there for a bit until the credits rolled, stared at the screen for a while, and then took all my stuff and quietly  got out of the room. It wasn't sad or lonely, it was just very, very real. I watched a bunch of movies by myself after that, Arrival, Nocturnal Animals, Patterson, La la Land for a second time from the top of my head, and all of those were amazing experiences on their own.
  Looking back, I'm really disappointed at myself for being scared to do this earlier. I realized that it's not shameful or desperate to go to the movies by yourself, and that sometimes it's okay to spend some time alone. It's not awkward unless you make it awkward, and showing that you know what you're doing and that you're not afraid to do things alone and take some time for yourself is a fantastic trait to have. That being said it doesn't always have to be so profound, going as a group is always a fun ride. Just gotta find that group that tolerates your snobby "film-enthusiast" ass.

Your friendly avid movie-goer,
Stelios Zesiades.

P.S. Since it's Valentine's day and all, I might as well list my favourite romantic movies:
1. Before Trilogy
2. La la Land
3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
4. Wall-E
5. The Lobster
6. Tangled
7. When Harry met Sally
8. Amelie
9. Crazy, Stupid Love
10. Definitely, Maybe

Honorable mentions: Casablanca, Music&Lyrics, Roman Holiday, In the Mood for Love, Blue Valentine and many many more. 

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