March 05, 2006

The Big Screen Experience

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The repreated insistence on the “big screen experience” throughout tonight’s Oscar ceremonies was heavy-handed, and ignores the main way that films have meaning for me. I may not be most people, but it has been almost a year since I’ve watched a film in the theatre.

I don’t miss it one bit. The experience of sharing a film with an audience - even at its best - pales in comparison to those same moments in the company of a limited set of friends. The screens may not be as big, and the sound usually comes from a dump find, but the emotional impact of film comes through loud and clear. It draws me closer to people that mean an awful lot to me. It makes film more intensely personal and significant.

I’d like to draw the parallel to music. There’s nothing like the “live” experience at a concert hall, but recordings of music are also considered significant experience. Great albums are stories in and of themselves that stand on their own. On the other hand, the persistent attitude in the film industry that considers the DVD as an afterthought of the creative process saddens me, as a lot of opportunity that is being squandered.

It is kind of funny that I am saying this however, while watching the ceremonies themselves on the big screen at Olin’s auditorium.