When I was a kid growing up in Casablanca, one of the highlights of my life was going to a movie theater called “Le Cinema L’Arc,” not far from where we lived. My father would take my older brother and I to watch mostly cowboy and gladiator movies from America.
It didn’t really matter which movie we watched. The experience of being in this huge dark space with a giant screen was both overwhelming and exhilarating, especially for two kids who had never seen a television. When a film would end, I remember asking my father, “Can we please stay and watch it again?”
I had a similar feeling last night in Westlake Village. After eight months of a lockdown-induced movie-theater starvation diet, a friend offered to reacquaint me with my movie addiction.
After eight months of a lockdown-induced movie-theater starvation diet, a friend offered to reacquaint me with my movie addiction.
It turns out some movie theaters are starting to reopen. This one is called Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas at The Promenade at Westlake Village, and it’s been open for about three weeks. Of course, pandemic precautions were everywhere. All employees and customers wore masks, seats were distanced, safety signs were everywhere, etc.
Although the theater was hardly packed, I found a certain excitement in the air among the employees. When we asked the manager a question, she was exceedingly helpful and polite. I could even see her smile through the mask.
I had no idea which movie we would watch. But just like in Casablanca, the exciting thing was just being there. I don’t know about you, but as much as I enjoy watching movies at home, there’s simply no substitute for the big screen experience. Save for the occasional popcorn muncher, there are zero distractions. My undivided attention is devoted to the vision of a filmmaker.
As much as I enjoy watching movies at home, there’s simply no substitute for the big screen experience.
I also love getting out of the house, a rare experience in these long months of quarantine. I like seeing other moviegoers. I like the whole idea of an outing to see something that took years to make. It’s a ritual that honors an art form I’ve long loved.
We saw “Let Him Go” with Diane Lane and Kevin Costner. I loved it, but I confess, I was totally biased. They could have shown one of those cowboy movies I watched in Casablanca and I probably would have loved it, too.
I was in a movie theater again. On this chilly night in the San Fernando Valley, that was enough for me.