Why I prefer to watch movies ALONE

And what are your preferences, dear reader? Do you prefer to watch movies alone or in a group?

Jakub Piwoński

5 July 2023

For some people, a movie screening is an opportunity to meet someone, chat together. For romantics, it is almost a must-have date. There are also those who cannot imagine watching a movie alone, just as they cannot imagine drinking a glass of wine alone. How is it, alone?

Yes, by myself…

Does a movie work better individually or in groups? I am a supporter of the first option. In my opinion, the reception of a film work should not be disturbed by external factors. Reception of art, any kind, should be as pure as possible, while searching for the key to interpreting a work is, in my opinion, a process that should take place on its own.

But let’s start from the beginning. There are two reasons why I prefer solitary sessions. First of all, I’ve been a fan of cinema for a very long time, you could say since my childhood. I am connected with this art form. I take the role of a film journalist very seriously. In my opinion, a film screening is not just a moment when I get the opportunity to see a given creation. For me, movies are a window to the world. In this case, the author’s vision is a kind of filter of the reality that surrounds me. The quality of this filter can vary, different amounts of light can pass through it, different prisms are chosen, not all of them can reach my heart.

Which does not change the fact that every session is important. Because being a keen observer and participant in life, I ultimately get the opportunity to compare my own experiences, my own observations, with other people’s observations. What will come of this meeting, I do not know. However, I like it when it is not disturbed by anything, so that I can understand what the author wanted to communicate. Sometimes I like to compare a film screening to a prayer or meditation, both mine and the artist’s. We meet together in a neutral field and try to connect with the sacred thanks to the mechanism of turning the dead into the living. I would also use a more mundane comparison here. For me, a film is a conversation – I don’t like it when outsiders speak during it, because the person I’m listening to – the film – hasn’t stopped talking yet.

There is a saying that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. This principle translates into the movie experience. If you want it to work, to be clean, you have to create the right conditions for it. Popcorn rustling, people smacking, telephone conversations and other lively reactions – no, these were never conditions worthy of a screening for me. And yes, part of that is also related to my prejudice against cinemas. This is also where I build the view that despite individual upheavals (mainly under the auspices of new Marvel productions), these institutions will fare much worse in the coming years. Because the screenings, due to the progressive development of streaming media, have simply moved to the home.

But apart from the completely incontrovertible fact that if you want to understand something, you simply can’t do it in the noise and distractions. In my opinion, the ability to watch movies alone or a conscious preference for such a screening is also associated with the ability to stay in silence, developed mindfulness skills (immersing in the moment) or simply in the world – self-acceptance. So it’s not that sitting alone in front of the TV, I consciously expose myself to some kind of loneliness, because I never felt lonely in my life and I still don’t. I happen to have company during the show. I am then with my only and best friend – myself. Possibly with my wife, my life partner, the only person I know well enough that she is not able to prevent me from focusing on the film.

However, I don’t want it to come out that I’m some kind of recluse, a hermit type who opposes the idea of society as such, seeing in it only evil and chaos (although somewhat … okay, let’s leave it at that). I have had group sessions more than once in my life and I will say more, I was able to enjoy them. I shaped my film aesthetics by attending the local movie club, which was an extremely uplifting experience for me. Over the years, I became less and less interested in what other people think about movies, because I have gained confidence in my own view of the world, and that is what I mainly rely on. I also regularly meet my good friend at the screening of some novelty, what to sit down together, discuss in an atmosphere drenched with cold vodka. There is no problem here, but to be honest, it is simply impossible to write a review of such screenings – if you know what I mean.

It is fashionable today to talk about your preferences. So if you ask me how it is with these film screenings, I answer – I prefer it myself.

Jakub Piwoński

Jakub Piwoński

Cultural expert, passionate about popular culture, in particular films, series, computer games and comics. He likes to fly away to unknown, fantastic regions, thanks to his fascination with science fiction. Professionally, however, he looks back more often, thanks to his work as a museum promotion specialist, investigating the mysteries of the beginnings of cinematography. His favorite film is "The Matrix", because it combines two areas close to his heart - religion and martial arts.

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