Death of Cinema
Article by Kalyl Kadri
Someone’s in my seat.
“Excuse me, sir, I think you’re in my seat.”
Extra Large Soda? Check.
Facebook? Check. Check. Check. Check. Check.
Back in my day (I know I sound super old), I used to look forward to the cinema so much. It was a sacred time where I would be immersed in a fantasy world for 90 or so minutes, riding a rollercoaster of emotions, in awe of the newest achievements in CGI and animation, consuming as many snacks as I possibly could, and most importantly, disconnecting from the outside world.
It is my opinion that social media and the global connectivity during the age of information we are living in now is causing what I will dramatically call the “Death of Cinema“.
After watching Netflix’s “The Social Dilemma“, I was able to understand the science that has kept us addicted and glued to our phones for the past couple of years, ignorant to the fact that our attention spans have also been getting shorter as a consequence of having to constantly check our phones.
How often have you gone to watch a movie in the cinema and actually turned your phone off? How often have you put your phone on silent so that you wouldn’t be distracted throughout the movie but ended up constantly checking it anyway? How many times has the light from a phone screen in the seat in front of you reminded you that you should check your notifications?
It’s that modern anxiety of being disconnected from the web that we are all sadly too familiar with. As someone who was born before smartphones and the internet existed, and experienced life outside of “The Matrix“, I wonder how kids nowadays will ever be able to watch an entire film and give it their undivided attention.
Remember holding off on going to the toilet for so long while in the cinema because you simply couldn’t miss what was going to happen next?
As little as our attention spans may be, we still demand to consume constant entertainment– one that is custom made for us to enjoy while simultaneously scrolling through Instagram and replying to all of your non-stop WhatsApp messages. That’s where Netflix comes in, and why binge-watching series has become almost second nature. The story arcs are short so we don’t need to pay that much attention throughout, the recaps essentially summarize what we might have missed when the new episode is starting, and if all else fails, we can rewind a few minutes back and catch up on what we missed. It’s, unfortunately, quantity over quality with most of the Netflix shows nowadays.
This sense of control (or ironically, lack thereof) over the pace at which we can consume ultimately makes investing our attention in the moment very difficult. However, with the rise of the streaming platform, we have seen films such as Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” and Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” exceed expectations for any content created for Netflix. This gives us cinephiles hope that somewhere in this platform lies the renaissance of film.
Whenever we’re able to be in a cinema again, use the time wisely. Savor the moment. Take advantage of being able to disconnect for what is a relatively short period, on the account of enjoying and appreciating a form of entertainment that demands extensive working hours, a big dedicated team, and a hefty budget for it to come to fruition just to amuse the masses – and ultimately, to leave an impactful impression on you. It’s quite thrilling, don’t you think?
Tags: Lebanese Cinema
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