by Anisha Dwarka
Oblivious. This word had very little connection to me until I had come to watch Turning Red in the Castro Theatre on April 27th, 2022. For two years, I had been watching movies in my living room. It was an interesting experience as I look back on it. The movies that I had gotten to watch at home were beautiful pieces of art, but not until recently did I realize that watching a movie in your house is completely different from watching a movie in a theatre. Now you might be thinking how can they be different? It’s just the setting, but that’s just it. It’s like listening to music. All songs are unique. You’ve got happy, sad, relaxed, tense, and the list goes on. Yet, when you place those different songs in the appropriate setting, you can feel more emotion and connection. What do I mean by appropriate setting? I mean the place that means something to you. It’s the place that helps make the song special to you. When those associations occur it becomes a memory you can remember vividly and that is exactly how it felt to return to the Castro Theatre. Once I sat in the red theatre seats, this sort of longing inside of me was gone. Everything felt complete after the movie ended. As someone who makes films, listening to people react the same way as yourself was reviving. When you come to watch a movie at a theatre you usually come with someone who has something in common with you. They share the same desire as you, yet you also sit with strangers of varying ages and backgrounds sharing this desire. You sit on this emotional rollercoaster, with someone so alike yet so different from you, and at the end of that rollercoaster, there is a memory waiting at the exit. I think this is the beauty of watching a film in a theatre. Whilst this pandemic brought new lots of adaptation, I think something that changed my life was innovation and creativity. When watching movies at home, I had to create the ambiance. I had to dim the lights. I had to pop the popcorn. I had to organize the couch I sat on. This process was something I will never forget and will become more and more special as time passes by. We come into movie theaters ready to experience, but there is a process behind that experience. Over my quarantine pandemic days, I learned how to replicate a feeling I couldn’t access at the time. It might not have been perfect looking back, yet it was perfect at the moment.