Missing the Movie Theater Experience: Filmmakers Remember Their Favorites

Posted on May 16, 2020 at 8:00 am

Someday we’ll be back in movie theaters, enjoying films surrounded by a community of fans. Until then, enjoy this great article from The Guardian with filmmakers remembering some of their favorite movie-going experiences.

Copyright 1959 MGM
Director Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”): I must also mention a matinee reissue of North by Northwest 20 years ago at the Lumiere in St Martin’s Lane, an underground cinema in the centre of London that is now a gym. You would go down three or four flights of stairs, shedding the reality of life in London, and find yourself in this gorgeous oval space, like being inside a whale’s ribcage.

Alfred Hitchcock created that film for an audience. He orchestrated their oohs and aahs, when they would lean forward and when they would sit back. This wasn’t about someone on the sofa at home getting distracted by their phone or the doorbell or going to get a drink. The place was full of energy and at the end everyone stood and applauded; just as they did when I saw Slumdog Millionaire at the ArcLight in Los Angeles.

Double Oscar winner Emma Thompson: Superman, 1978. Huge cinema. We were 17. It was exciting, funny and dramatic but, rarest of all, the female lead was as interesting and inspiring as the male even though she couldn’t fly on her own. When I exited the cinema I wanted to feel the way I was feeling at that moment for ever.

Edgar Wright (“Baby Driver”): My whole career has been spent trying to replicate the various highs I have had in a cinema. One memorable screening at my local cinema in Somerset was the afternoon I happened to see the 15-certificate Gremlins at the age of 10. My brother and I approached the manager with the novelisation of Gremlins in hand, explaining that, as we had read it, we couldn’t possibly be scared by the actual film. Amazingly, he let us in and the thrill of watching the film, while also thinking I could be thrown out at any moment, was off the charts. I am still chasing that buzz.

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