A short while ago, I had two entirely different cinematic experiences.; first watching the new Bladerunner film at a multiplex and secondly watching ‘Loving Vincent’ at Home, an arts complex in Manchester.
Both being of a certain age, Lesley and I are entitled to reduced price seats and have the freedom to watch films at off-peak times. So far, so good. It was with some amusement and delight we discovered that we had a 256 cinema to ourselves! The show starts and the interminable ads and trailers which have long replaced the B-movies of yesteryear commence. It is during this time that some other people arrive and being Brits, follow the numbered seats routine and sit next to us. At this point, I realise between them, this family of three, are carrying sufficiently large quantity of snacks and fizzy drinks to dress the set for a 21st-century version of Belshazzar‘s feast or even ‘La grande Bouffe’!
Immediately the person sitting closest to me begins to shovel food into her mouth with a metronomic and robotic movement whose timing is so precise that the next portion arrives at her mouth at exactly the moment she’s completed the deafening process of masticating the previous dose of food substitute. I am galvanised. I tolerated it for more time than I should’ve done as by the time we’ve moved I am a twitching wreck unable to enjoy the cinematic pleasure.
In contrast, the arts cinema was small, full and was completely lacking in earth-shatteringly loud snacks. I enjoyed the film except for the presence of two women sitting to my right who constantly laughed at on screen events which were NOT particularly funny in that superior way that implies they had noticed a set of nuances which us mere mortals were unable to discern. This flaunting of faux discernment was a conceit is clearly underlined by the fact they sang along to the odious ‘Starry starry night’ which the producers had predictively chosen to end the film!
So: which is it to be ?