My profile as an independent cinema-goer: How I became a cinephile extremist
Going to the cinema is nothing casual to me. I think I first realised it when I came out of “Das Leben der Anderen” in a multiplex three years ago. I could not talk for a few minutes after the end of the movie. I was upset by people packing and standing up during the closing credits. I was being intolerant. I had turned into an independent cinema extremist.
In Bordeaux, where I come from, my local cinema- or let’s say my independent cinema, is located in a former church in the very center of the city. The church was a parking lot before they made a wonderful picture-house out of it.
When I was younger, I used to go to a multiplex that was closer to my high school. Luckily, it offered screenings in original version. I got so used to it, that it progressively became a requirement for me to go to the movies. That’s how everything started. Later, the price at the multiplex had increased and I got to know this other cinema, which remained cheaper than any other (this counts when you are a student), although the most beautiful of all.
The Utopia- that’s its name- shaped my cinema goer practices according to its high standarts. In its walls, I learned how to show full respect to a movie as to a work of art.
There, you don’t eat pop corn- you don’t eat at all actually; you are at the cinema, not in a fast food. Now I cannot tolerate any noisy chewing while watching a movie.
There, you don’t arrive late, because there is no advertisement before the screening. You are at the cinema, not in front of your television. You are going to open your mind, and there is no way one tries to sell to Coca-Cola any available parts of your brain.
There, you wait until the end of the closing credits before initiating any movement. You are at the cinema; you are not at home watching a DVD. You respect the people who worked for the making of the film by reading their names, and listening to the soundtrack. You take time to re-enter the realty and become aware of your environment again. They won’t switch on the lights before anyway.
There, you are not a consumer, you are a believer. Going to the Utopia is a small act of resistance against a way-too-fast running world. A different look, a pause, an offer, or a cry of protest. Sometimes a good mainstream. As long as you are willing to let it as long as it takes to melt on your tongue, like a Hosti, or an old good wine.
Of course I (reluctantly) accept that there are other ways to enjoy cinema, as pure entertainment, with everything that goes with it: loud chips bags and gloutonnous soda glurps and greasy fingers and crumbles all over the floor and other giggling chats. But this is not my way. I believe that an intelligent movie can be as entertaining as a less demanding one; I believe that a comedy is all the more hilarious when the humour is subtle; and I believe that intellectual should not be opposed to popular and it is even a shame to do so.
I became an extremist, out of respect for cinema in general. Because when I am sitting in a theatre and after the lights turn off, I still feel the same excitement that brings me back to my childhood, that of being told a story.