Movies are really important to me. At home, I have a favourite art house cinema, where I can watch good films and cult classics alike in a group environment with a big screen. Sure, I love Netflix (at least the UK catalogue), but there is something special about going to a movie theatre. When I’m not working on schoolwork. It’s much easier to go on tik tok or youtube than to sit down and watch a movie on my laptop with my full attention. So I have taken to going out to the movies when I have a couple hours to spare.
I used to be scared of going to movies on my own, but after the first time, I have found it to be a really wonderful experience. For me, it feels like treating myself to go to a theatre and not worry about talking to other people for a couple of hours. In London, it was an excuse to take the train somewhere new, but in Oxford, the theatre I have been to the most is Curzon, in Westgate shopping centre. The theatre experience there is unlike what I’m used to back at home. It also has a bar, and from low lighting and decoration, seems to be styled as a fancier theatre experience than a typical movie theatre. Despite this, the first time I went to see a theatre at Curzon in London (It is a chain) I was invited to get a free membership offered to people under 25. With this membership, tickets are 5 pounds off peak, and you can get discounts on concessions. I haven’t discovered any catches with this promotion so far, and have really enjoyed the Curzon theatre experience. While I have seen advertisements for popular superhero films like Wakanda Forever and Black Adam, Curzon also plays dramas and foreign films that I have not seen at other theatres while I have been here. These are the kind of films I prefer watching, and for the cheap tickets, I have really enjoyed my experiences there. Even on opening weekend when I went to see Don’t Worry Darling, the theatre wasn’t terribly crowded. At home I am used to going to showtimes before noon to get cheaper tickets, but the membership has allowed me to spend an evening at the theatre relatively cheaply.
Last night, I went to see The Wonder starring Florence Pugh, which has a beautiful score. It was a movie about stories, about belief, and about the relationship between Britain and Ireland. I didn’t know anything about it before I went, just that I wanted to see a movie. I really was moved by the film, and I think that the theatre was the best place to experience a film like it. There is nothing like being immersed in a film soundscape. One of my film professors at my home university told me once that the best way to experience a film is to see it on the biggest screen you can. I don’t think this is true of every film, but it is true that viewing context adds a lot to how we interpret art. After the film ended, I took time to walk around the theatre, look at the posters, and look out at Oxford from the rooftop terrace, where the theatre is located, trying to live in the feeling the film had inspired in me for as long as I could. I reflected on myself, on my desire to make meaningful art, and the way that my experiences, both educational and artistic, affect me. I saw a part of Oxford I had never been to- houses of people who lived here that I will never encounter, people living their lives with just as much complexity and feeling as I have. Then I walked home a different way than I usually did, letting the effects of the film linger. It was a very moving experience, and the reason why I love film.
If you like films at all, I would really recommend Curzon. It’s not exactly a community arthouse theatre, but the sophisticated decoration and service makes me feel quite fancy. An employee told me that they play 25 minutes of trailers after the showtime, so if you do show up early, maybe check out the bar and concessions, if that’s something that interests you. Definitely get the membership, and try to log in to the website before you get up to the counter (a mistake I always make). Go alone, if you haven’t before. It’s easier than you think. Talk with other people there. Take time to immerse yourself in a film if you can, even if it is just once, and maybe go to a theatre and watch something you haven’t heard much about. Live in the experience.
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I’m a third year student at the University of Redlands, pursuing an alternative education through the Johnston Centre of Integrative Studies, and I am studying abroad at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford. This essentially means that I design my own major, and instead of grades, I get written evaluations. I study History, Film, Literature, and Art. I’m deeply involved in the community, which means I love going to meetings and deciding policy! I love to sew costumes and clothes and to watch old movies with friends.