Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Movie Hangout

Of the pastimes you can count me out, it is to watch a movie alone. Not because I don't see its entertainment value, or the virtues exhorted in films. But because of sheer laziness and the refusal to be seen in places where group activity takes place. What I can get online and watch at home - in the comforts of my secluded corner - I will never think twice of downloading through torrent applications. Not only can it save me cash for other spending, I can always rape the playback button for scenes I would love to watch over again.

This practical and third-world approach once lead me to the dingy alleys of Quiapo, at a time when bootleg DVDs sell like hotcakes. For P50 pesos, a moviephile can get a clear-copy movie with a fancy disc cover. Older movies in VCD format are even sold at bargain prices. Pirated movies are so commonplace that some stalls even cater to niche markets. There were so many films and TV series to see that the challenge for a collector is to find time to watch his acquisitions before new films appear on display.

This weasel habit was overturned when I met a significant other who enjoys watching movies. He loves films so much that going to the theaters became our bonding activity. Because of him, I've learned to consult critics like the late Roger Ebert. The reviews he wrote served as guide when watching Hollywood flicks.

It was also because of the Other that my eyes learned to love independent films. Together with a common friend, we never missed an attendance at the yearly Cinemalaya Film Festival. For the first time, I was able to indulge myself on films whose stories and characters left me spellbound, if not gasping for the choice of resolutions once the film credits rolled.

I remember.

For when the significant other and I walked our separate ways, I stopped going to theaters to watch movies. The old habit returned, but since the Quiapo underground no longer operates like it used to during its golden age, I stopped watching films altogether. There were exceptions, of course, like when I returned to the movie house to see the re-run of MNL143, or when I invited the Weatherman to see The Hobbit with me.

But in all the days after the Other, never will I feel that kind of rush; or see that sparkle in my eye, or that faint smile on my face when I see a trailer on YouTube. I used to let good films pass, so why would the present be different? Besides, there are better ways to spend my rest days; and only few appreciates the movies I would like to see.

But I said 'Yes' to his invitation

I would later confess to my movie buddy how Oz: The Great and Powerful touched me in ways no words can perfectly capture. It must be the dystopian feel of Emerald City, or the desolate landscape of Oz. It might be the sublime dissonance of the characters and their failure to endear the viewers. Perhaps, it was the hollow narrative that struck a chord, thus my heart sinks every time I look back and contemplate the story ending.

Or maybe, after scratching the surface, the emptiness springs not from the film itself, but from dormant memories of forgotten days. I would draw sadness from the bittersweet feelings of having to see a movie and be reminded of how things were, when I always looked forward to going to a movie theater with the Other.

It was how he became part of my story.

Yet, as the past continues to resurface, I would still look back and remember watching Oz, not for the story or characters, but because the hours spent watching it with Another afforded a preview: a taste of how it is to be with someone and enjoy a moment of peace.

It doesn't matter if the companion finds out, but the movie hang out with him would always be remembered not because of the event itself, but because of all the people who came so far, I saw a glimpse of home when I sat by his side.


1 comment:

Phioxee said...

why not you find someone new who also love coming to movie house and enjoy watching good movies? big screen with a great date is much better than infront of a computer watching downloaded torrents.