MOVIEGOER: Who’s afraid of the cinema?

Published December 9, 2021, 6:41 AM

by Nestor Cuartero

FDCP Chair Liza Dino-Seguerra

The good news is, says FDCP Chair Liza Dino-Seguerra, in the latest study released, there had been zero cases of Covid-19 transmission in cinemas.

‘’So, yes…it’s safe, as long as everyone participates in the process,’’ writes Liza in a Facebook post.

Chair Liza reported that a recent screening of Joachim Trier’s Cannes Film Festival film, “The Worst Person in the World,” gathered a full-house audience at Gateway.

Full-house these days, according to Liza, refers to a half-filled cinema, 50 per cent seating capacity only, which is now considered full in the new normal.

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While Covid-19 cases continue to plummet in Metro Manila approximating herd immunity levels, there remains anxiety in the hearts of many about going out, watching movies in actual cinemas. The lure of a big screen experience remains hanging in the balance as audiences weigh in on the safety of being physically present inside a movie house in the company of strangers for a good two or three hours.

For instance, the latest James Bond movie, “No Time to Die,” the final installment for Daniel Craig, runs for 2 hours and 43 minutes. Its screening is being hoisted as enough come-on for people to flock back to theaters.

Elsewhere, around the world, in the United States and in Europe, people already do. How dangerous is it, exactly, when we watch movies at the cinema?

The Guardian reported in an article, How Safe is the Cinema: “Assuming that someone infected with Covid is sitting in the auditorium, there are, broadly, two routes to them spreading the virus: through short-range interactions such as sneezing on someone or talking, and through the long-range movement of tiny virus-carrying aerosols that can rapidly accumulate in poorly ventilated spaces.’’

Daniel Craig in ‘No Time To Die’

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In the Philippines, majority remain undecided about watching movies again in theaters. Aside from the basic fear of the unseen disease, people now have too many choices that can keep them entertained.

There are Netflix, YouTube, the vlogs, and so many other platforms easily available to them on social media. Watching films and videos on these channels for close to two years nonstop has forged a strong habit among consumers that can be hard to break at this point.

Such is the challenge facing the Metro Manila Film Festival when it opens in physical theaters on Christmas Day. Will people be bold enough to watch movies again in cinemas after they have found comfort in watching them from their own gadgets?

Well, for one, they seem bold enough to crowd around malls these days, despite warnings not to bring children as young as one year-old to those places.

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By the way, I have a little finding to share.

Yesterday, while doing my morning walk, I caught up with my doctor-friend, Paul, who was walking his 2-year-old grandson. What Paul said startled me.

‘’Did you know that children now consider their home as some kind of prison?’’ he asked.

After a 30-minute walk, he narrated that the little boy would refuse to enter the house again. The two of them have to park themselves around the yard before he could be convinced to reenter the house.

It’s the same case with the 10-year-old other boy, Paul said.

‘’We may not be aware of it, but that’s the effect of this lockdown on children,’’ he said.

 
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