TONIGHT I have a hot date with James Bond. I’ll be at the movies, sitting in the dark, surrounded by hundreds of other people, soaking up No Time to Die, the two hours and 43 minutes.
I don’t care if this is Daniel Craig’s most memorable take on the role. Rami Malek doesn’t have to be Bond’s best villain.
It will just be exhilarating to sit on the plush seats, feel and share the excitement of the crowd as the lights go down.
For once, I could even savor the rustle of popcorn, the crackle of candy wrappers, for they are precious reminders of the presence of others, a sweet relief from the socially reduced lives we have been forced to lead for. long periods in the past 18 months.
Every sold-out screening of this latest Bond title is a gesture of optimism, proof that many people want to move on after Covid.
Every ticket sold is life-enhancing proof of how we aspire to return to the climaxes of the life experience in the flesh, not the second best on Zoom.
No Time to Die symbolizes an exciting return to something approaching normal for beleaguered movie chains, an injection of confidence for the global film industry, which has been so severely hampered by the lockdowns.
In 2020, UK film industry revenues have plunged more than three-quarters from 2019 levels.
What a joy then to hear the financial media report that the values of the shares of the big movie chains have already skyrocketed with the release of the film. For example, the Cineworld share price rose by 11%.
We know James Bond saves the world time and time again. This year, he has a role in both reality and fiction: putting cinema back at the center of our cultural lives.
And I believe Commander Bond can do the job again and give us a happy ending, despite the challenges.
A chorus of Jérémie believes that cinemas will be replaced by streaming. Why go to the cinema when you can watch the same movie from your sofa on platforms like Netflix or Amazon Prime?
I can tell them why. A shrunken screen. Tedious hours of browsing overly familiar or unattractive titles. Home theater is a second-rate and emotionally depleted substitute for a movie showing in a suitable theater. resisted pressure to bypass a theatrical release. “Not for us,” was Ms. Broccoli’s verdict.
“I think we’ve learned a lot of things in this 18 month period and one of them is definitely the sense of community, that we need people, that we are social creatures and that we we need each other, ”she said.
We do indeed. Like concerts, opera, theater, literature festivals, the buzz of a film screening in public enriches the experience.
And the cinema, above all other art forms, delivers the opium of escape.
A visit to the cinema gives us a temporary opportunity to forget all the struggles and nagging worries of everyday life by immersing ourselves in another world for a few hours, at very little cost.
Think of the masses during the Great Depression who flocked to theaters to watch films like the glitzy Gold Diggers of 1933. They offered people a respite from reality, the distraction of a fantasy world. Who couldn’t do with that right now?
Apparently in 1930, over 65% of the population went to the movies every week.
My grandmother most certainly did, and whenever we could be counted on to sit quietly and watch a movie quietly, she, or my mother, would take us too. A trip to the movies was a weekly event for me growing up, a life habit that only weakened with the lockdown.
This cinematic tradition for young people continues in the noisy “Big Scream” screenings for parents and babies organized by Picturehouse Cinemas.
Cinema is the most popular and accessible art form. Its appeal touches all classes and all ages. But like all selfish commentators who preach doctrines of inevitability, these “streaming is the end of the cinema” experts predict the death of cinemas.
They would not shed a tear if architectural and cultural landmarks like the Glasgow Film Theater, Edinburgh Cameo or Bo’ness Racecourse closed their doors forever, or if the multiplexes that support struggling business parks were closed. , because they have their own agenda technocracy.
Their market consists of passive consumers who can be profitably spoon-fed in the lazy comfort prisons of their own homes. Sign up for our package. Let’s supervise your cultural life.
Those who tell us that cinemas will inevitably disappear claim to predict the future because they want to control it.
So they denigrate the lasting appeal of cinemas and their financial health. But box office trends, pre-Covid, belie their grim predictions.
Before Covid, the first weeks and months of 2020 saw cinemas surpass both 2018 and 2019, the two most successful years for British cinema since 1970.
I’ve been to theaters every time they’ve been open for the past 18 months and marveled at the resilience of the filmmakers.
I’ve seen a flood of captivating and well-made films: the captivating Stillwater with Matt Damon; Heartwarming Nowhere Special with James Norton and sensational child actor Daniel Lamont; the unsettling but ultimately uplifting Herself, with Clare Dunn; Dream Summerland with Gemma Arterton.
Covid’s mandates have radically circumscribed our existence. Now I see a set of Russian Matryoshka nesting dolls as a visual image of our future.
We can allow our lives to be reduced by fear and control to the tiniest dimensions of the smallest doll, or insist that they become whole again with the complete set.
If you choose the latter option, then a ticket to No Time To Die is an obvious place to start.