The best films I’ve seen in my personal movie theater of my laptop, alone, presumably at night, but not too late, but at the gates of the night, say around nine or ten, as an appetizer of wakefulness, as food for the vigil and hallucination. Do not watch a movie before going to bed because the film is still, sequence, trick, the very same powerful attributes of sleep, and that would be an unfair competition.
Nothing competes with the seduction of dreams, no movie or book gets close to the dark mastery that lives in the inexpressible trenches of the mind. In fact, the best films I’ve seen seem like films never shot, never acted, never staged, but remains of a treasure fragile hooks have drawn from remote and cold waters. I am thinking of Werckmeister Harmonies, for example, which is a movie I discovered about three or four months ago and left me in one piece, fuming from the ears, unable to articulate a decent movement.
However, as any student of journalism worth his salt, I also attend theaters in December. The Festival of Havana is, I suppose like all festivals, an outside festival. One comes to think that the real tenderness occurs on the street, at the entrance, at the exit, on the way, but never inside. People prefer to live the periphery of art. Something, deep within, no criticism here, because the art centers are usually true mine fields, and it is preferable to walk around them, not through them.
There is collective salvation in movie theaters. We must be very strong to forget that all those people are there and any laughter the movie gets from you or any punch it throws at you will inevitably be conditioned by the tacit agreements that viewers sign among them.
My idea of cinema is, no doubt, misguided, though. I am not a moviegoer, nor do I go, due to laziness and ignorance, to major cycles. I digested in the Riviera and Yara more bad than good movies; I’m terrible at risking, so I never took from any shelf, to see what I find, a book at random. All Tarkovsky and Bergman I’ve seen, I’ve seen it with my many embarrassments, my hilarious stumbles and my constant comings and goings. I dislike of cinemas that when a scene seems set for you does not have to be ready for the other, and then the projectionist does not have to repeat it.
If I were a cinema projectionist or a private-or public cinema, just the same-, viewers would have to adapt to the rhythm of my film, witness the same deaths three or four times death, listen ten times to the same music, repeat until the end of times the same dialog. I have seen also for a simple reason, very few truly transcendent films. I spent years to finish one and start with another. In fact, now that I think about it, I never quite finished a film I used to start an intimate relationship with long duels postponed.
Some I have lost, some have returned, some I fetched. At a time I was obsessive, happily that time is in the past, everything I enjoyed was in text and twenty minutes of screen time was enough, not even in front of the noble and Cretaceous opaque screen of my laptop. Let’s not talk, then, of theaters, because there is something fake with it. The truth about the movies lies in these stalls, but mainly the spectral environment, repeated in every room of this world, was really designed for other functions.
The best movie I can see is the unseen, that one you watch only in pieces, intermittently, while taking the hand of the girl who has accompanied you and has accepted, miraculously, to go into that nook along with you. If the girl has decided to go into in that den, you appreciate the gesture and put it into perspective. You may hesitate, you can hold her hand, you can whisper a thousand unspeakable atrocities, you can get drunk with darkness and despair for those morons who now design a seat separate from another and not let you get close either.
You are authorized to do nothing, any sin of third category theater, but you gather all your courage and grab, at least a kiss, since some people-you think, you think and your chest seem to explode from such a cowardly existence- have made love lying in the back row. That girl has gone there, it is impossible to leave without a kiss. If you go without a kiss you’re lost, the bunch of corny will be the corny bunch not of a winner but of a loser, and nothing is more pathetic in life. To your audience- poor devil you are- it is going to happen exactly what’s wrong with those movies that exasperate you. Rhythm promising, expectations to the limit. But hilarious, absurd, inexplicable ending.
Anyway, you can always come back, give it another shot if, as you know, it wasn’t your fault. Those infamous people have got to the credits just when you were about to take your chance!