Arrietty was only shown in one branch of the Odeon, and two branches of Vue. Predictably, none of these were Kettering, Northamptonshire. So what was I to do? Pay £30 to get to London, to see a film which seemed, yes, very interesting and clearly beautiful, but hardly a grand and luxurious experience. Or I could open my laptop, and see what the world of piracy had to offer.
I live in an area where world culture is rarely embraced beyond the realm of a take-away, and our only independent cinema also fell foul to the promise of high profit offered by Hollywood’s vast collection of Summer sequels and reboots. They gave one viewing of Arrietty, mid-August, at 10am.
If I had the opportunity to pay to see Arrietty, I would have. I don’t like admitting that I essentially conned Studio Ghibli out of money, but it seems the ones who have conned them the most are the ones who decided to give this film only to the select few.
And it’s not the first time I’ve done it. For the spectacle films, I am able to show restraint, because of course mainstream cinemas live and breathe for the spectacles. I could, if I so wished, see Deathly Hallows, Captain America and Planet of the Apes in one day, because the showings are so frequent and insistent.
Casually skipping over the fact that the majority of blockbusters birthed by Hollywood these days are quite dire (with the exception of those mentioned) then you are faced with the reality that the smaller films, the less marketed films, the ones that are foreign, or even thoroughly British, are being starved of their chance to reach an audience. And the audience is being flat-out denied examples of quality cinema, for not living in the diverse capital city.
A few films I would love to see, but cannot (without breaking a few laws) are:
- Kill List
- Beautiful Lies
- Jane Eyre
- The Devil’s Double
- The Help
Many of these films are being hugely marketed, but it’s all talk and no action, as we’re being given trailers without a film.
Less blame needs to be put on the shoulders of those who run into the reliable arms of piracy; instead the distribution needs to step-up a notch! If a cinema has eight screens, then show more than two films at a time! I understand it’s a case of supply and demand. But there is demand in this society for more than the same three films every Summer! We deserve variety.
Or maybe mainstream cinemas are only good for one thing; building the Billion Dollar Club out of established franchises or Johnny Depp vehicles. So if you refuse to show these 'other' films in big cinemas (and not enough independent cinemas are) then give them another outlet. Maybe the solution to the problem is the problem itself. If people are being forced online to watch an interesting film, then give it to them for a price, in clear, high-definition. For the fraction of the price of a cinema ticket, they could be given an honest, enjoyable, and genuine viewing experience, as opposed to the seedy and scrappy ones they are given now. It will pose no threat to cinema, because cinema is an experience in itself. But it will instead bring the otherwise-invisible films into the view of those who might love them.
Until then, I cannot be blamed for watching films illegally. I love them too much not to.
(Oh, and in case you’re wondering; Arrietty is perfect)