Friday, 11 December 2009

Film: How to Enhance the Filmic Experience (without resorting to 3D)

Hypothetical Situation #1: I've won the Euro Lottery and built a specialist cinema.

Hypothetical Situation #2: You are in my specialist cinema.


You're in my cinema and the film ends - the credits have arrived. But do not stand up; that's sacrilege. Instead, stay with the film. You're in my cinema and you must abide by my rules because I have a special surprise install for you, one that will enhance your overall viewing experience. So stay seated, calm and follow the instructions...

What happens next depends on what the film was. But one way or another, whether you are ushered through an alternative door or given a cryptic puzzle to solve, the filmic experience will transcend the silver screen and seep into your reality.

My reason for this is: I believe the filmic experience should not end as soon as the credits arrive; at this point the viewer is in a meditative, mildly hypnotic state. It takes a little while to adjust to reality after a film. How many times have you left the cinema and a felt little bit disorientated? Took a left turn instead of a right turn after leaving the cinema? Or been struck by the brightness of the outside world?

I want to exploit that state of mind by extending and externalising the filmic experience. For example, imagine the end of a screening of Don’t Look Now (1973), if it was compulsory to exit through another door that leads down a series of mock Venetian alleyways while a midget in a red raincoat darts hither and thither? Or imagine after a Saw movie the doors are shut, then Jigsaw comes up on the cinema screen and gives the audience a conundrum they have to solve before they can retrieve the key that will lead to their escape.

The closest I've heard anything coming close to this idea is theatre company Rumdrunk's It Felt Like a Kiss, where, the audience watches a 54 minute, hard hitting Adam Curtis documentary about the collapse of the American dream and terror spreading throughout the planet; after wich they are ushered through a series of eerie rooms and claustrophobic passageways.

If this can be done theatrically there is no reason why it can't be cinematically, too. With this is mind I'm off to Ladbrookes.

Oh, and Hypotheical Situation #3: Your mobile phone goes off in my specialist cinema.

Consequence: You will not see the phone in one piece again!

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