Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Life of Pi Review: Part 1: Lonliness

My experience of Life of Pi needs to be written in three parts. This is the first.

I cannot recall a single time before tonight that I have gone to a movie on my own. I can recall lying on the couch and watching movies on my own. I can recall lying in bed and watching movies on my laptop on my own. But never going to the cinema on my own. And for me, it was a bit of a daunting experience.

I came home from work this afternoon, and going to watch a movie was the last thing on my mind. But then Grant announced that he was going to be going to a braai this evening. And it's not that I wasn't invited to the braai, it was more that I was torn in two minds - part of me wanted to get out of the house, while the other part really did not feel like spending the evening making small talk with people that I had little in common with. So, for me, the braai was out. But I still didn't want to stay home, so I decided to go to a movie. I had seen that Life of Pi was showing, and I was pretty keen to see it, so I went through my list of friends remaining in Grahamstown, each of whom had other things planned or just did not feel like a movie night. Which is fair enough. But it left me in a bit of a conundrum. Do I brave the cinema on my own, or do I give up on the idea and spend the night at home.

The idea of going to a movie on my own scared me somewhat. It separates you from all of the couples, the groups of friends, the groups in general. I could picture myself walking up to the counter and booking a seat for one, only to receive blank stares from the cinema goers around me. "One," I could hear them whisper, "Is she mad?" I would walk up to the snack vendor and be sneered at as I ordered a single popcorn, just big enough for one, an individual pack of smarties (because you can't have one without the other) and a solitary cold-drink. I would enter the cinema itself and find myself alone amidst couples making out on either side of me, segregated, separated and alone.

And then I remembered... this is Grahamstown.

I pitched up at the cinema and ordered my ticket. Aside from myself, the man behind the counter, the snack vendor and the ticket taker, there were exactly three other people in the room. Once I had purchased my snacks, which were gladly given as the snack vendor doesn't see much business in this town, I made my way into the cinema, only to find myself completely and utterly alone. No couples lining the aisles. Just me, all on my lonesome. As the previews began, people starting coming in in drips and drabs, but I still had the row to myself and exactly two (platonic) people in front of me. In fact, when they took their seats they were even kind enough to ask if they were getting in my way by sitting in front of me and offered to move. I didn't let them. There being other people in the cinema made it feel more like a real movie instead of a DVD at home.

And there was no more to it. My first lone movie-going experience was completed. The movie commenced, and when it was over I climbed into my car and drove home. Far from the ordeal that I was expecting. And yet, I have a feeling that when I have the option of seeing a movie alone again, I will not take it.

While the experience was far from terrible, movies to me are a social activity. One of the best parts of the movie-going experience is to sit beside a friend or loved one and make idle chitchat while you wait for the previews to start, to discuss what you think of the up and coming movies and to make inside jokes during the movie itself, exchange knowing glances and know that you both saw the sane thing at the same time that makes you giggle a little inside.

Anywho, now that is over... the next part of the review is going to be of the Roxbury/Movie-Cine cinema itself in Grahamstown. Part 3 will cover the movie itself. Be prepared.

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