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Why bother going to the cinema?

Why go to the cinema nowadays? After all, not every film demands to be seen on the big screen. For every Dunkirk or Blade Runner 2049, where only a big screen can truly define the scale of an event or the sheer sense of visual wonder, there are many smaller, more intimate films perfectly suited to home viewing. Nowadays many arthouse films get released in cinemas and are made available on demand, simultaneously, so why trek out, at this time of year on a cold dark night, to see films at your local cinema?

Community. That's why. That shared sense of experiencing an event at the same time and in the same place as others, I call community. One of the great things about Oswestry's community cinema is that the more often you go, the more you recognise people. That person you first knew as 'The one who sat next to us for Lion that time', well, by now you might well know their name, and even consider them a friend.

There's a scene in 2009’s Up In The Air where George Clooney’s character has to try and talk a nervous bridegroom out of cancelling a wedding. Clooney asks him "Your favourite memories, the most important moments of your life - were you alone?”. Well, when you think of the films you've seen that took your breath away, that moved you, made you feel part of something bigger, made you laugh out loud, were you alone? Watching at home? Or at the cinema?

That sense of community is why this Boxing Day I'll be walking into town, rain or shine, to watch Paddington 2, I’ve got my tickets booked already. I could wait for it to appear on DVD, Netflix or Amazon, but where's the joy in that? Sitting in a cinema, surrounded by friends, family, and fellow filmgoers...there's the joy.

by Michael Hudson

From our weekly column in the Oswestry Advertizer, published on 28th November 2017.

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