<%-- Page Title--%> Straight Talk <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 139 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

January 23, 2004

<%-- Navigation Bar--%>
<%-- Navigation Bar--%>
<%-- 5% Text Table--%>

Lights Camera!Action

Nadia Kabir Barb

There is always something magical about sitting in a dimly lit auditorium watching the big screen flicker to life. It is also a place where one can leave one's day to day worries and anxieties behind for those treasured few hours and be transported to faraway lands, watch relationships being forged and broken, being thrust into all kinds of situations harrowing at times and hilarious at others. In other words put reality on hold for a while. It is a pastime that is enjoyed by people at every level of society. Cinema is escapism in its truest form.

Since the advent of the motion picture, people have been flocking to the cinema in their millions. In fact we should really thank W.K.L Dickson (working under the direction of Thomas Alva Edison) for designing the first camera called the "Kinetograph" in the late 19th century and the Lumiere brothers for taking that idea one step further and inventing the first successful projector. The first cinematographic public screening was held in the Grand Café in Paris as early as 1895. Since then we have had the silent movies; the "talkies" and now films as we know it. Incredible progress in technology has given us visual extravaganzas such as Lord of the Rings, The Matrix etc. And at the same time, we all secretly treasure a few golden oldies, be it "The Great Escape", "Gone with the Wind" or even "The Sound of Music".

No matter what genre of film you have a penchant for; you are bound to find something to please you. I for one thoroughly enjoy the whole experience of going to the movies. I still remember that the first Bangla movie I saw on the big screen was called "Nishan" and the first Hindi film at the cinema hall was "Namak Halal"! When we were growing up, children's films were few and far apart. So it gives both my husband and I an immense amount of pleasure taking our children to watch the animated children's films that come out every so often. I have to confess that I was almost as enthusiastic as my kids when we went to see "Harry Potter" and "Finding Nemo" (my excuse is that spending time with my children keeps me young at heart!). It is also an activity that the whole family can share. The last time we went to see a film with the children, we arrived at the cinema hall a little late and by the time we had bought the popcorn (he wants salty, she wants sweet), got the order for the drinks correctly (no, he said orange juice and she said apple) and had the last minute panic about who had the tickets, we managed to miss most of the trailers. Finally children were in their respective seats and I could flop down into mine. It is usually a losing battle for me and everyone else there trying to make ourselves comfortable in the not so comfortable seats in the auditorium but that is a comfort I am willing to forgo while I immerse myself in the magic of the screen in front of me. For the next ninety minutes, the world was empty of phone bills, insurance salesman and car parking fines.

My father used to jokingly say that he was unwilling to pay to be miserable i.e. the good old tear jerker movies were not exactly his cup of tea. When you have so many trials and tribulations in real life, why bother going to see it in the cinema. My husband cannot stand musicals or romantic comedies so I have to enlist the company of an old university friend if I want to watch anything more romantic than "Die Hard". I on the other hand absolutely refuse to watch horror films. My vow of abstinence is very straight forward and the logic is very simple, I watch horror films - I get scared. I get scared - everyone in the house suffers. I switch all the lights in the house on and drag my husband upstairs and downstairs with me. So to avoid the hassle, I just cut out horror films from my diet of "movies to be watched". This seems to make me fair game for my husband and my friends who constantly try and trick me into going to a horror film just to see my reaction. The last time was a few years ago when a friend suggested that we watch a science fiction film that had been released. It sounded like a good idea at the time. What he failed to mention was that it was a science fiction "horror" film! Supernatural events in space needless to say I spent most of my time closing my eyes at the sequence of gory scenes being enacted for us (and plotting my revenge by making them watch the most romantic, unrelentingly soppy, weepy film I could think of…).

My personal philosophy is that we go to films for entertainment and not necessarily for a life changing experience (although some films do make a considerable impact on us) and to suspend reality for a short while. So however easy it may be to find holes in the plot or seek out inconsistencies, it seems to defeat the whole purpose. So sit back and enjoy - anything is possible in the movies.





(C) Copyright The Daily Star. The Daily Star Internet Edition, is published by The Daily Star.