With the hope and anticipation of cinema’s reopening soon, here are some favourite memories that remind us of the power of cinema.
Parasite and a Post-Pub Trip by Emma Frith
I didn’t know it at the time, and although it had been planned for months, it was going to be one of my last cinema experiences for a while. I remember waiting for the bus in pouring the rain, irritated, and tweeting something along the lines of “this film better be worth it!!!” The film was Parasite, and it was absolutely worth it.
My friends and I are big fans of director Bong Joon-ho. I cried my eyes out for a good three-quarters of an hour over the ending of his previous film Okja, and his earlier feature Memories of Murder is my friend’s favourite – booking tickets for his next film Parasite was essential. We decided to go to our local Picturehouse screening, which was showing a livestreamed Q&A with Bong Joon-ho after the movie. Although I got lost on the way there, and the popcorn was incredibly expensive, sitting alongside some of my favourite people for one of the first UK screenings of a film that would go on to win four Academy Awards less than a week later, was extremely exciting.
I loved the movie right away and was literally speechless after when the lights came on. It had become somewhat of a ritual for my friends and I to dissect films for hours at a time, and we headed straight to the pub to do so. Discussions about theories and observations, and the now notorious “Jessica… only child… Chicago…” rhyme, were had over pints and some pub chips; all of us collectively stunned by having our expectations exceeded so greatly. We haven’t been able to go and see a film together in the last year, but I hope by the time Bong Joon-ho’s next film comes out, we can come together for another memorable cinema trip.
Ghost Stories in a Ghost Town by Daisy Holbrook
Being from a relatively small town with a dying high street, finding things to do with my friends was always a struggle. Between wandering aimlessly or going to the local spoons, we were never exactly spoilt for choice when it came to nightly entertainment. However, one night the local cinema was hosting a mystery screening. It was £5 for a ticket, with the catch being that you had no idea what film was going to be shown, only that it was unreleased. That was enough to tempt us – each of my friends bought a ticket, we smuggled as many snacks as possible into our backpacks and headed to the cinema.
The film ended up being Ghost Stories, a British horror anthology movie. I had gone in with low expectations and ended up getting to watch what is now one of my favourite films. It had beautiful cinematography, great comedic relief, genuine scares, and an incredible cast.
I don’t think any of us spoke throughout the entire movie.
After the film had ended, we each had a thousand questions. We all shuffled out the cinema into the night, not wanting to go home without unpacking what had just taken place on the screen. We found a local cafe whose doors were surprisingly still open at such a late time, and we spent the next few hours huddled around a table littered with hot chocolates, discussing the movie and sharing our own conspiracy theories about the film (as the film was unreleased at the time, there was a real lack of Reddit threads to help explain, leaving us alone to figure it out). It was an entirely wholesome night, bonding over a shared adoration of film and the viewing experience, it made me value the cinema so much more and the enjoyment impact that can come from it.