Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Film Shared, Unspoiled


A film shared, unspoiled, would feature in my very own song of “favourite things”. It would have to rhyme with “coiled”, “boiled” or “foiled” I guess, but I’m sure it could be worked in.

Now the sharing part, that is easy. If I enjoy a film, I will watch it again if my company has not seen it, in fact, I love watching not only the film again, but my company’s reaction to it. I very rarely view a film a second time for myself (unless for study purposes, or due to much time passing and a desire to receive the same satisfaction I recall from the first viewing).

The “unspoiled” part is where this becomes complicated.

In order for the film-sharing to be unspoiled:

1. It must be dark. Either due to night falling, a cloudy sky and drawn curtains, or an elaborate façade to create such effects whilst sick. Sunlight is a spoiler – not because of light interfering with the image display (although this is also unwanted), but the knowledge there is day to be absorbed and tasks to be done in light, creates a burden of viewing which spoils the pleasure of escapism (sickness alleviates this burden due to light losing its attraction).
2. The company must be invited. I have never been able to improve myself enough to welcome an unanticipated viewer to the film experience late in the game. This is not to say a film shared, unspoiled cannot be spontaneous – oh contraire – it can be, however, the viewers are together when this decision is made, or the company is invited soon after the conception of the idea. It is those who join late, who spoil – no matter how liked they may be. Once the hopes of a film experience have been painted in mind, an alteration to the vision unsettles, and eventually spoils. Arriving at the viewing location, to learn someone will be there that you did not know would be, alters the initial vision, and spoils. Someone coming home during the viewing, and joining, with our without oral request for being “filled in”, spoils. Their presence during a film you intend to share, and have company love, demands an update, or at least a nagging feeling in the mind that such an update should be given, or the late-comer will not truly appreciate the film as hoped. Nothing spoils more acutely and directly than the hanging question, “Whatcha watchin’?” (shuddering).
3. The company must know when to talk. Whispering, occasional comment, exclamations, and laughter are welcome responses to the sharing – in fact, if absent, may cause concern. Talking and commentary, however, grind on the sharer quickly (unless both have previously viewed the film). Frequency rather than nature of oral response, determine the spoilage.
4. All must be comfortable and able to see all of the action clearly. Insistence one will sit on the floor and shiver through the film is a spoiler. Contentment to view on a tiny screen mounted in the corner of a room 10 metres away from the seating is a spoiler. Couches should be moved, blankets sourced, and shoes removed.
5. The company must shun interruptions. Answering the phone and talking for 35 minutes is a spoiler. Going to have a shower as an intermission is a spoiler.

Treats are an accelerant or intensifier. Their absence does not, by necessity, lead to failure to enjoy a film unspoiled. A well-cooked meal immediately preceding viewing may allow for all five conditions to be met (being comfortable and shunning interruption is difficult when hungry). Treats are proverbial icing on the film cake.

Perhaps some will think twice about sitting down to a film with me now. I don’t mind that at all – good – you should think twice – it’s important to me!

I will think twice before again watching a film with you should you the bring a chatty friend I’ve never-before-met who throws open curtains insisting it is “dismal” inside, too hot for blankets, too close with the couch two metres from the screen, with a polyphonic ring-tone on their ever-ringing cell-phone.
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