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BLOG: The magic of cinema: 'Lockdown reminds us of the importance of the small joys'

"It is ironic that while we are unable to venture into a multiplex, we are currently living through a scenario usually contained to the silver screen."

empty cinema screen at Queen's Film Theatre, looking from back towards screen
QFT screen

A blog by Jonny Murray, Clerical Officer, Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research.

It was 2007 and I was leaving a screening of the fantasy comedy, Stardust. It’s a highly enjoyable film that has aged quite well in an era where nothing ages well.

I overheard a little girl excitedly explain to her dad all the most impressive parts of the film, outlining to him all the moments that filled her with joy. Her enthusiasm was infectious, and I remember thinking this would be a good memory for her, the first time she experienced the magic of cinema.

This is one of my own favourite memories of going to the cinema. It’s my ‘go-to’ memory when someone asks me to name an important cinematic experience or, more recently, when I was asked if I had any memories of the Movie House Dublin Road as it closes its doors for the last time.

One of the simple joys that this pandemic has taken from me is going to the movies. Before the lockdown, my partner and I would go to the cinema about four or five times a month. When we would go to the QFT, I always insisted that we sit in the front row - being that close to the screen in the QFT allows you to be completely engulfed by the film. To spend a few hours fully immersed without worrying about a panic-inducing, ‘Breaking News’ notification appearing uninvited on your phone.

It is ironic that while we are unable to venture into a multiplex, we are currently living through a scenario usually contained to the silver screen: a global pandemic complete with heroes and villains. To help us cope with the withdrawal of not being able to enjoy the cinematic experience, we decided to make a list of classic films we hadn’t seen from each decade and spend a Sunday afternoon seeing what all the fuss has been about.

Of course, while it is a marvel of the modern age that we are able to enjoy more or less every film ever made from the comfort of our homes, there are few things that replicate the experience of going to the cinema.

The lockdown has reminded us of the importance of the small joys that life brings us. Be that going to the pub with friends, going to a restaurant or even having a chat with colleagues without having to open MS Teams. A coping mechanism I have seen is to plan all the things you will do when this is all over. For some, this will be booking a dinner with friends or joining a gym.

For me, I can’t wait to go to the cinema and then excitedly tell my partner about all the most impressive parts of the film we just saw and outline all the moments that brought me joy and experience the magic of cinema again for the first time.

 

QFT is continuing to bring great new and old films to QFT Player, the Theatre's new streaming platform, with a mix of free-to-stream films and others that you can buy.