I never miss an opportunity to go to the cinema, either with friends or on my own: it’s one of my favourite experiences – especially in winter, when the city streets can be cold, dark and rainswept. HOME (Manchester’s centre for contemporary theatre, film, art, music and more) is my go-to venue but other cinemas are available and, whichever one I end up in, I always enjoy that big-screen experience. There is something about being in that darkened, enclosed space and escaping into someone else’s story that excites and enthrals me. I often emerge moved, inspired, amazed or all three.
Research shows that watching films in a cinema can be a form of therapy. Even the length of film is equivalent to a long therapy session, and the cinema itself recreates the womb – dark, enclosed, and warm – which makes it feel like a place of safety, nourishment and growth.
These are some of the therapeutic benefits of the cinema experience:
- You relax and get a chance to let go of anxieties.
- You pay attention to the film and get to be ‘in the moment’.
- You can identify with characters and go with them on their journeys.
- You can see things differently by putting yourself in the shoes of the characters.
- You can learn stuff – about places, history, other civilisations and societies.
- You can socially interact by discussing the movie with others who have seen it.
‘The fascinating thing about film is putting the spectator in moral positions that they’ve never been’
Alex de la Iglesia
And, in case you’re wondering, here are my favourite films of 2019 so far. (Sorry, they’re not a very cheery bunch.)
- The Favourite – Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz & Emma Stone at their best in this in punk Restoration romp
- Capernaum - 'disorder' a young immigrant boy decides run’s away from his Beirut home to escape his parents
- Woman at War – Halla’s story – behind the scenes of a quiet routine, she leads a double life as a passionate environmental activist
- Monos – eight stray teenagers in a disquieting take on the war film and survival thriller
And do have a bit of fun by checking out which seat you choose in the cinema and what it says about you.