I recently managed to catch the newly remastered Apocalypse Now at the cinema this past weekend. As a jaw-dropping slice of pure cinema it’s pretty hard to beat, and to me re-enforced just how much a film can benefit from the sheer scale that the big screen offers. It’s not just a question of technology; obviously the darkened theatre, larger canvass and superior sound equipment (hopefully) allow for a more powerful and enveloping experience. But the very fact that you are not in control of the projection is also, I think, a major factor.
Not having your TV or dvd remote control to hand, allowing you to pause when and for how long you like, forces you to concentrate on the film that much harder. Not being in control – to cede your authority – is an act of submission, a sacrifice at the high altar of cinema, and in return you are permitted to enter the world of the film that much more.
Of course, you could just bury your remote control in the garden to achieve much the same effect, but it’s not nearly as much fun.