It's been a gruelling year for movie fans, but there are many established figures within the film industry who offer cause for hope. One of them is the illustrious Steven Spielberg – the E.T. and Schindler's List director is confident that cinemas will throw open their doors again in the not-too-distant future.
Writing for Empire Magazine, Spielberg says that the communal experience of watching a movie together in a darkened theatre will once again become a reality. “In the current health crisis," he explains, "where movie theatres are shuttered or attendance is drastically limited because of the global pandemic, I still have hope bordering on certainty that when it’s safe, audiences will go back to the movies. I’ve always devoted myself to our movie-going community — movie-going, as in leaving our homes to go to a theatre, and community, meaning a feeling of fellowship with others who have left their homes and are seated with us.
"In a movie theatre, you watch movies with the significant others in your life, but also in the company of strangers. That’s the magic we experience when we go out to see a movie or a play or a concert or a comedy act. We don’t know who all these people are sitting around us, but when the experience makes us laugh or cry or cheer or contemplate, and then when the lights come up and we leave our seats, the people with whom we head out into the real world don’t feel like complete strangers anymore. We’ve become a community, alike in heart and spirit, or at any rate alike in having shared for a couple of hours a powerful experience."
Spielberg continues: "That brief interval in a theatre doesn’t erase the many things that divide us: race or class or belief or gender or politics. But our country and our world feel less divided, less fractured, after a congregation of strangers have laughed, cried, jumped out their seats together, all at the same time. Art asks us to be aware of the particular and the universal, both at once. And that’s why, of all the things that have the potential to unite us, none is more powerful than the communal experience of the arts.”
Clearly, this is a case of absence that makes the heart grow fonder. Bolstering Spielberg's viewpoint is the news from Paramount that Top Gun: Maverick will stick to its July 2021 release date. If you want to personally support UK cinemas during this tough time, click here to Keep the Magic Alive.